Review, Interview, & Giveaway: YOU’RE THE EARL THAT I WANT by Kelly Bowen

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I discovered this author less than a year ago and I fell in love with her work after reading the first book. You’re the Earl That I Want is the third book in Kelly Bowen’s Lords of Worth series and I have yet to read a book by her that I haven’t loved. But today, you’re going to get more than a review – I did a fun Q&A with the author too! Read on to get to the good stuff!

YOU'RE THE EARL THAT I WANT cover

Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Lords of Worth, Book 3
Publisher: Forever Romance (Hachette)
Source & Format: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley; digital
 
Official Summary
THE EARL DOTH PROTEST . . .
 
For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it’s always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.
 
. . . BUT THE LADY KNOWS BEST
 
In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she’s always been able to count on. That doesn’t mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases—and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It’s put Heath in peril once, and Joss won’t let that happen again. She’ll do what she must to ensure the earl’s safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.
 
 

Liz‘s Review

For a historical romance, Joss was extremely progressive. She defied convention at every turn, knew a little bit about everything, and she was genuinely smart. The thing I liked the most about Joss was that she was so smart and brave but she never threw that in anyone’s face. Sure, she gave the hero a hefty dose of good-natured teasing at first (and all throughout their youth), but she never came off as rude or unreachable. She was still sweet and kind and, in some ways, a normal woman of the time.

Heath was really great too. He had to match wits with Joss all the time and she was whip-smart! I thought he might be a little out of his depth with her, but he was a total pro at giving back everything that Joss served up to him. I liked that Heath thought he knew what he wanted—a boring but sweet and intelligent wife to do all the wifely things and to be a companion he could hold a conversation with—but once he got a taste of a more extraordinary life during his adventures with Joss, he was hooked.

I loved the relationship between Joss and Heath! They’ve known each other since childhood, when Joss would hang around and be the mildly irritating little sister to her brother and Heath. It was neat to see them rekindle their friendship as grown-ups. I don’t normally like friends-to-lovers stories, but this was a little different because it had been such a long time since they had seen each other. It felt very natural, and I loved Joss and Heath together because they were so funny and silly. I loved how they teased each other!

As fun as the romance was, the mystery, conspiracy theory stuff, and adventure was even better! I was on the edge of my seat for over half of the book, but I’m not giving away ANY spoilers! I found myself laughing out loud at Joss and Heath’s banter while they were incognito on their adventures.

Even though this is Book 3 in the series, I definitely feel that this could be read as a stand-alone story. This was like a great mix of romance and Dan Brown-esque mystery!

Bottom Line

You’re the Earl That I Want was an amazing book! There’s TONS of action, lots of mystery, and a centuries-old conspiracy theory to solve and deal with. Readers who don’t know if they would like historicals may like Joss and the very progressive Worth family, so I would recommend trying this book. For mystery-loving historical romance fans, this is a must-read.

Rating: A

Wine/Beverage Pairing: Moose Milk – rum, kahlua, ice cream. A Canadian mixed drink for Canadian author Kelly Bowen!

Buy Print:  Amazon  |  B&N

Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
 
 
 
 
 

Interview with Kelly Bowen

Liz from K&W: Hi, Kelly. Thanks for being on Kindles & Wine today! I really loved You’re the Earl That I Want! I think most, if not all, of the female characters in your Lords of Worth series are progressive and seriously fun and is probably why I love your books so much!

Kelly Bowen: Thank you so much for having me! And thanks so much for the compliments on my characters. I absolutely adore a strong, progressive female character in any story, and it definitely shows up in my writing! And a woman who is not afraid to laugh at herself from time to time can have a lot of fun…

Liz: I TOTALLY agree with that! I find I laugh at myself constantly! LOL!

Speaking of laughing, I loved Joss! She was one of the most unconventional historical heroines I’ve read. What inspired you to write her as such a progressive character during a time period when that wasn’t necessarily looked at as a positive thing?

Kelly: Good question! I don’t think that the Regency has the corner on viewing progressive women with mistrust and negativity. All throughout history, women have pushed boundaries. They’ve done so with a great deal of courage and perseverance, and are no different than the women who still do it today. There is so much inspiration to be found from all of these real-life heroines. I really wanted to write a heroine not cowed by convention, but one who was confident in herself and her abilities. And I really, really wanted to give her a hero who loved her because of it.

Liz: Well, she was amazing and was confident in a way that was very relatable. On the other hand, there was Heath. In a way, I felt bad for Heath because he needed to be accepted by the ton. What was it that made him desire the acceptance of the peerage?

Kelly: Heath is a character who, for the bulk of his life, has assumed responsibility for the well-being of his family and always put their needs before his own. Now, with the inheritance of a title he never expected, the happiness of his family is directly tied to their acceptance into the ton. He’s had to spend a great deal of effort to help facilitate that acceptance, not only because of his inexperience with society, but also because I’ve continually thrown all sorts of horribly scandalous situations at him!

Liz: Oh, but it was so much fun watching him deal with all that! :)

I cannot get enough of your characters! What’s coming up next for you? More Lords of Worth or something different?

Kelly: Happy that you asked! I’ve got a brand new Regency series coming up in 2016 called Season for Scandal (think Olivia Pope meets Jane Austen). Book 1 in the series is called Duke of My Heart and will be available in January, 2016. I’ve included the blurb for it here:

DUKE OF MY HEART coverScandal can be handled…
Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he’s returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl – quite inconveniently deceased – tied to his missing sister’s bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he’s at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.
Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected – yet absolutely true.
 
 

Liz: Oh my goodness, I cannot wait! It’s going to be amazing!

Were you a fan of historical romances before you started writing them? If yes, what do you like most about the genre? What are some of your favorite authors to read?

Kelly: I have loved history since I was a little girl. My bookshelves are filled with history books – anything from early civilizations, to military accounts, to the sordid politics of kings and queens throughout the ages. So naturally, I was drawn to romances set against a historical backdrop way before I ever considered writing one of my own! I love how an author can take a factual, black and white piece of history and make it come vibrantly alive with a story of the characters who lived through it. To that end, I am particularly fond of historical novels that are full of adventure and action.

Some of my favorite authors in the historical romance genre are Elizabeth Hoyt, Sarah MacLean, and Joanna Bourne. I am also a voracious consumer of historical fiction and adore the tales by Bernard Cornwell, Jeff Shaara, and Robin Maxwell, just to name a few.

Liz: Oooh, Elizabeth Hoyt is the author who got me back into reading books again; her Legend of the Four Soldiers series was excellent!

Do you ever see yourself writing something totally different than historical romance?

Kelly: As much as I love history, I could certainly see myself writing in a different genre one day. I think I would always write romance, because, to quote Julia Quinn, “Happy endings are all I can do.” But I read contemporary, paranormal, suspense, mystery – you name it – because a well-written story is a fabulous story no matter what genre it is. And as an author, in each of those genres you find something that stands out that makes you say ‘now THAT would be fun to write!’

Liz: So true! I’m finding new genres that I like all the time!

Now, let’s switch gears for a bit because on your website, you talk about how you used to be a research scientist in the agriculture industry. That sounds incredibly interesting! How did you get into that field and what are some things you studied?

Kelly: I had the coolest job ever (before I became an author, of course! :) ) I grew up working on farms and ranches, and if you read my ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ essays from my childhood school days, my aspirations were, in alternating years, either a vet, a farmer, or a zookeeper. So when I went to university, I chose Animal Science, and loved every minute of it.

The course content was heavy on anatomy, biochemistry, physiology (this is where my husband-the-engineer eyes glaze over) and so totally up my alley. When I finished my undergrad degree, I went on to do a MSc., specifically in swine reproduction/endocrinology (this is generally when everyone else’s eyes glaze over). I worked for a large Canadian company, evaluating different genetic lines, nutritional programs, and production requirements for international and domestic markets. Amusingly enough, I ended up being a sort of mix between a vet and a farmer.

It wasn’t until I had two boys that I became a zookeeper.

pig pic

The olden days before I became an author!
 
 

Liz: Ha haaaaa!! That’s awesome! You also mention on your website that you live in Canada. What is something that people assume about Canada that is totally not true? And what is something that people assume about Canada that IS totally true? :)

Kelly: Ha! This is a fun one!

Canadian myth, Exhibit A: Canadians live in a perpetual state of winter.

While traveling one summer, a woman asked me where I was from. I replied that I was from Canada, to which she replied with great surprise: But you’re TANNED. How can you be tanned if you’re from Canada? You must use tanning beds. Wait. Do you have tanning beds in Canada?

True story.

So I explained that, while the bulk of Canadians endure admittedly cold winters, we also have spectacular summers. Currently, as I write this, it is 32°C outside. (Though I will remember this post fondly when it is – 40°C…)

Canada winter

Chilling in winter.
 
 

Canadian Myth, Exhibit B. Canadians are polite.

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit and I have to confess, when compared to other parts of the world, I find this to be true. For the most part, I think we’re a pretty happy bunch, and it shows in the way we treat others and go about our daily lives. I feel very privileged to live in this amazing country.

Liz: Wait, wait… I had to look up Celsius to Fahrenheit conversions (32°C = 89.6°F). I’ll admit, I never think of Canadian summers! So, what is your favorite month/season, and why?

Kelly: Refer to Exhibit A above. While I am a self-professed hockey nut, enjoy cross-country and downhill skiing, and still find tobogganing a great deal of fun, I count down the days until summer when it’s WARM. We have some of the most incredible lakes in the world that surround us – whether it’s Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, the Whiteshell, or Lake of the Woods. Every year I can’t wait to get out and go back country traveling – fishing, canoeing, boating, swimming, I could go on. I love every day of summer! And did I mention that it was warm?

Canadian Shield Lake

A Canadian Shield lake on one of our
annual backcountry canoe trips.
 
 

Liz: Gah! That sounds AWESOME!! Okay, now for the BIG ones…

Everyone interviewed on Kindles & Wine has to answer these last two questions: If you had to choose: Kindle/eBook or print? (Don’t worry, we don’t discriminate on the basis of preferred book format. 😉 )

Kelly: Print. Call me a dinosaur, but I love the feel of a real book in my hand. And I love the smell of new pages. Now you can call me weird and a dinosaur.

Liz: What a weird dinosaur! LOL! (Just kidding! 😉 )

And finally, what’s your favorite kind of wine? Or, if you’re not a wine drinker, what’s your beverage of choice?

Kelly: Bahaha! If it wasn’t for wine, I don’t think any of the naughty bits in any of my books would ever get written. I admit to not being anywhere close to a wine expert, but I am rather partial to a moscato or a lovely rosé.

This was so much fun! Thanks again for having me, and for such a fabulous interview! I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed Joss and Heath’s story!

 
 
 

The Lords of Worth Series Reading Order

I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm (Book 1)I'VE GOT MY DUKE TO KEEP ME WARM mini cover

Liz’s Review  |  Goodreads
 
Buy:  Amazon  Kindle  B&N  Nook
 
 

 

A GOOD ROGUE IS HARD TO FIND mini coverA Good Rogue Is Hard to Find (Book 2)

Liz’s Review  |  Goodreads
 
Buy:  Amazon  Kindle  B&N  Nook
 
 

 

A LADY'S GUIDE TO SKIRTING SCANDAL mini coverA Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal (Book 2.5)

Goodreads
 
Buy:  Kindle  Nook
 
 
 

 

The Lords of Worth Giveaway

The lovely ladies at Forever Romance have generously offered to give away a print copy of the first three books in The Lords of Worth seriesI’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me WarmA Good Rogue Is Hard to Find, AND You’re the Earl That I Wantto ONE lucky Kindles & Wine reader (U.S. and Canadian residents only).

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click HERE to subscribe), AND…
  2. Hit the comments and tell me about a common misconception about where you live and lay some truth on us! :) 

Please note: All entrants must review and adhere to our official giveaway policy. This contest will close on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 11:59 PM (CDT) and the winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, September 1.

 
Kelly BowenABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
 
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.
 
You can learn more about Kelly on her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.