Book 2 of The Rake's Handbook
A witty Regency Romance series with a unique take on the infamous London marriage mart from debut author Sally Orr.
He's racing to win back his reputation
Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.
She's curious about the science of love
Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She's only slightly dismayed-the rake seems to respect her work-but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.
As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling...
Celebrate the 80th birthday of Regency Romance with great books from Sourcebooks Casablanca!
The Rake's Handbook Series:
The Rake's Handbook (Book 1)
When a Rake Falls (Book 2)
To Catch a Rake (Book 3)
Praise for When a Rake Falls:
"Orr returns with another romance full of love and laughter. The madcap adventures combined with a sweet love story will charm readers." -RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"When a Rake Falls displays excellent mastery of the craft... [E]xcellent pace, good characters, and prose the likes of which you don't often see in historical romances." -Fresh Fiction, Fresh Pick
About the Author
Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it's not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many books and not enough old English cars.
Read an Excerpt
Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he'd be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. "My candle burns bright-"
"Goes without saying you learned to sing by reading a book," said George Drexel, one of Boyce's oldest friends. "Right now I could be in bed with the lovely Widow Donhurst. Instead, I'm standing here amongst the rabble of London, far too early for any sane man, following another one of your bacon-brained schemes."
Boyce ignored him and kept his gaze fixed on the balcony of Stainthorpe House. Yesterday, the Earl of Stainthorpe had placed an advertisement in all of the newspapers inviting London's finest bachelors to gather in Royston Square. Although the details in the advertisement were few, it hinted fame and five thousand pounds might be gained by winning one of several "challenges." As the son of a wealthy marquess, Boyce had no need for the money, but he longed for a chance to impress his father. "It's not my bacon-brained scheme; it's the earl's. Cheer up. You will be the friend of the victorious Lord Boyce Parker."
Drexel turned to glare at the pressing horde of eager young gentlemen behind them. "You don't even know what the old man's challenges are. They could all be a hum, like a scavenger hunt to find his great-uncle's tricorne hat or his aunt's lost poodle." Drexel dressed in somber colors without fancy cravats or fobs, so his words had the gravity of a humorless man no one would willfully cross. This morning, his rumpled clothes, dark whiskers, and obvious lack of sleep-no doubt due to a long night of amorous adventure-made him appear grumpier than normal. "I hardly think the earl's tomfool challenges will make you famous."
"You don't sound cheerful." Boyce grinned at his old school friend. "I'm confident the earl's challenges will be significant and my assured victory will pave the way to restoring my father's esteem."
Drexel spat on the ground. "Chasing your brother's fame? Richard is a glorious war hero. I'm sure winning some silly challenge won't compete with his elevated consequence."
"You're wrong. When my name is printed in the newspapers, my father will have to speak of me with the same admiration he gives Richard."
"I don't think winning a challenge will change the marquess's opinion of you-"
"Look." Boyce pointed upward.
The Earl of Stainthorpe stepped to the edge of his balcony overlooking Royston Square. "My friends, I understand there are no great men left in England." Silver wisps of hair escaped the earl's old-fashioned queue and blew over his forehead, but he ignored them as he squarely confronted the men below.
The audience surged forward and yelled retorts to the earl's audacious remark.
Boyce had arrived an hour early so he would be close enough to hear his lordship's every word. But if this hubbub continued, he might not catch what the earl had to say. He turned to the man yelling behind him. "I'll give you a pound, my good fellow, if you can shout louder."
The man smiled and shouted.
"Definitely not louder, unfortunate loss indeed," Boyce said. "Now I suggest you hush and let his lordship speak."
Standing two steps behind his master, the earl's butler vigorously rang a handbell to gain the attention of the boisterous crowd.
"The earldom of Stainthorpe owns numerous and diverse holdings," the earl bellowed. "Therefore, upon my death, my daughter will be the richest woman in England."
The crowd cheered.
The earl waited for them to settle down. "What I'm trying to say is, Lady Sarah Stainthorpe needs a husband. But so far, none of the Eligibles paraded before her will do. She refuses to marry and claims all the gentlemen in London are rogues, dandies, or worse. The point is, she's a bluestocking and might fall in love with some bloody...a poet. I tell you, my friends, that Byron fellow has a lot to answer for."
As the youngest son of a marquess, Boyce was considered an Eligible. Only, Lady Sarah had rejected him, and all the other Eligibles, seconds after they had presented themselves at Royston House-an unfortunate circumstance, since he believed Lady Sarah would make an excellent wife and a very pretty one too. After a moment of reflection, he realized every lady of his acquaintance would make a pretty wife. One or two may have a feature some might call "unfortunate." Nevertheless, he always found something pretty in every female countenance.
"Are all the gentlemen I see before me rogues or dandies?" the earl shouted. "Of course not. One or two maybe, and several of you are shockingly loose in the haft." His lordship pointed to a young man wearing a violet greatcoat, hanging by one arm on a streetlight. "Especially you, sir."
With his free hand, the man doffed his top hat.
"Yes, I mean you," the earl said. "My condolences to your poor father."
All of the Parker men possessed a fine figure, so he knew even a poorly tailored coat hung well upon his shoulders. The many compliments he received had gained him a reputation as an expert in masculine fashion. Therefore, Boyce felt his lordship should show more sympathy to a man wearing a lamentable violet greatcoat, since the earl wore an old square coat and baggy breeches.
"Where was I?" The earl paused to scan the crowd. "Besides an obvious bone-breaker or two, you gentlemen are the embodiment of the character traits that make Englishmen the greatest people on earth. So I am challenging you-the finest Englishmen alive-to a race. A race to Paris!"
The crowd cheered.
"This is not a race where the winner arrives first," the earl said. "No, it is a test to discover the gentlemen who possess England's greatest traits."
"Gin drinking, gov?" someone shouted.
The crowd laughed and called out a few additional "traits."
The earl ignored their comments. "And I mean English character traits-not British. That country was some tomfoolery created by meddlesome politicians. This is a race for Englishmen only. Now, my race will have five challenges and five winners. Each winner will win a prize of a gold cup and five thousand pounds."
The mob erupted in huzzahs; top hats flew into the air.
Under his sky-blue waistcoat, Boyce's heartbeat escalated. This race presented him with his best opportunity to distinguish himself. He would win at least two of the earl's challenges and earn a reputation as a prime example of English manhood. "Huzzah!" He too threw his beaver hat in the air.
The butler rang the handbell for a full minute before the crowd settled down.
The earl held up his hands. "Here are the details of the five-count them-five challenges. You have one month to reach Stainthorpe House in Paris. Each gentleman will write about his journey and provide the name of a witness. The man whose travels provide the best example of an English trait wins a challenge. Once the winners promise to spend the remainder of the summer in our company, they will be rewarded with a gold cup and five thousand pounds. With such excellent examples of true English manhood escorting Lady Sarah around Paris, she must certainly fall in love with one of you unlicked cubs."
The assembled men danced in circles. Each one of them was probably dreaming about how he would spend his winnings.
Eager to hear the details, Boyce frowned at the clamorous riffraff behind him. The earl was right; they all appeared to be a lot of rag-mannered coves, so he gained complete confidence that he could best any of their English traits-whatever those traits may be. Once he reached Paris, Lady Sarah would discover he was the finest of fellows and they would fall in love. Women seemed naturally to favor him over other gentlemen-wonderful creatures, women.
The earl's voice boomed across the square. "What are the character traits that make Englishmen so great, you ask?"
The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.
"No." The earl waved his hand. "Not physical features. Traits like courage and intelligence. So the challenges are thus: The first gold cup will be given to the gentleman who represents English courage. We are the country of Nelson, so bravery and courage course through every one of our veins."
Someone shouted the nature of what was coursing through his veins.
The earl continued without hesitation. "The second gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey represents classic English sportsmanship. Any Englishman alive can out hunt, out fish, and out ride all other races of men. So to win the second cup, some outstanding feat of sportsmanship will rule the day. Extra consideration will be given to the best example of a journey completed under difficult circumstances."
Boyce huffed. "Well, his lordship is wrong. The true nature of English sportsmanship is not victory over adversity, but our support for the dark horse and sense of fair play. We are, by nature, a generous people."
Drexel slapped him on the back. "For once I agree with you. But considering your history in the field, I suggest you don't try for the sportsmanship cup."
"Sportsmanship can be demonstrated by means other than fishing or shooting every magnificent creature-for example, by boxing or gaming. I practice my pugilistic skills at Jackson's twice a week now. You cannot tell me his place is not full of sportsmen. Or how about when a fellow loses a fortune gaming at White's and faces his loss with the grace and good humor of a gentleman? That's sportsmanship under pressure, if you ask me."
"Yes, but the earl believes boxing is for professionals and only women play cards."
Boyce widened his eyes. "In my opinion, his lordship's definition of sportsmanship is rather limited."
The handbell sounded again before the earl continued his speech. "The third gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey best exhibits loyalty to the king or service to a lady."
One man yelled, "I'd be delighted to service all the ladies on my way to Paris."
Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.
"If you do so, sir," the earl replied, "you will be shown the door. Loyalty means old-fashioned manners, being polite, and keeping your distance from your betters. Of all the challenges, I believe service to the Crown is the greatest honor any man could desire. And considering the manners I've witnessed here today, I'd say the challenge of this cup will remain unmet."
Jeers filled the air.
Boyce wondered how a fellow could show loyalty to the king in a race. He supposed a gentleman might salute the king's profile on a sovereign with every step of his journey, but dismissed it as an absurd notion. No, he'd be better off trying to provide a service to some lady.
His lordship nodded, and the handbell rang again. "Now quiet down. The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then."
Boyce elbowed his friend. "Yes, yes, that's the cup for me. Bet I'll win too. What do you say, fifty?"
"Agreed," Drexel said. "I will also wager by the end of this whole flummery, Lady Sarah will reject all the winners out of spite. I would, if I were her."
Boyce refused to believe Lady Sarah would object to any of the winners, once she knew them well. The lady wanted to be married, didn't she? "No, no, young women are full of tender affection. I have never met one who did not want to fall in love and make her family happy."
Drexel rolled his eyes. "I suspect that is because there are so many unmarried ladies dangling after you, you cannot imagine one refusing. And from the stories I heard yesterday, I'll wager that if I throw a pebble into the crowd at the next assembly, it will hit a widow who has, or wants to be, in your bed. And believe me, those ladies are not expecting marriage."
"You're being vulgar in public," Boyce said. "All of the widows I have ever...met were delightful. Deep in their hearts, they want to be married again, I'm sure."
"So why haven't you married one of these delightful ladies?"
"Never understood how fellows choose one to fall in love with."
"If I know the marquess, the best way to impress him is to give him grandchildren. My father becomes unhinged with even the thought of grandchildren."
"Grandchildren? Grandchildren are far in the future. A great public achievement is my best and only chance to regain my father's respect. You'll see. When I am crowned the victor of more than one challenge, my achievements will be the toast of London. Then all of England will think of me differently. I will no longer be just one of the seven anonymous brothers of the war hero Richard. Worse yet, if people do recognize me, they remember I'm the Parker son who published a scandalous book and then received the cut direct from his father-his own father. After my victory in the challenges, everyone will have to refer to me as the intelligent, courageous Lord Boyce. Don't you understand?"
Drexel winked at his friend. "Tell me, which of the great English traits do you represent best? Sounds like only Service to a Lady, and believe me, your service is the wrong type as far as the earl is concerned."
"Ah, that's my secret. But you will be a witness to my victory, won't you?"
After pulling off his hat, Drexel took a full minute to smooth the beaver nap on the brim. "I'll consider it." A wide smirk broke across his dark, handsome face. "You've persuaded me to join the race too."
The handbell clanged, and everyone faced the balcony again. "Gentlemen, there is one last challenge, the fifth cup. Since this was my daughter's idea, perhaps in jest, you never know with females, let us call it the Lady's Favorite."
Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.
The earl leaned forward over the mob. "Perhaps there are no gentlemen in England, and my daughter is right?" His lordship waited until the crowd quieted. "Lady Sarah has a funny notion that the greatest achievements of the English race are their sense of humor, wit, and eccentricities. I mean, now really, she is fond of Sheridan's plays." The earl held up his right hand to quiet the laughing crowd. "For this cup, Lady Sarah will be the final judge."
The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.
The earl coughed several times but remained unmoving. "So there you have it. The five greatest English traits are courage, sportsmanship, intelligence, wit, and service to a lady. Now to business. I expect all who plan to take up the challenges to gather in our vestibule below. There, we will compile a list of the participants. You do not have to choose which cup you aspire to, and you may switch to another challenge at the end of your journey. Finally, you may win more than one challenge. Oh, and you must provide an acceptable witness. Anyone who observes your achievement and can testify on your behalf may be an official witness. The only exclusions are people who cannot be trusted, like paid companions or dear old mums."
Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.
The earl nodded in the direction of the man who clapped. "Good man. The race will officially start after I stop speaking and will end a month from now on the second of July. On that day, you will present your written story describing your journey to Stainthorpe House at Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin. There, I will choose the five best stories for each challenge, and those finalists will be asked to recite their adventures aloud. Indeed, everyone here today will be invited to attend this party and hear my pick of the winners. Lastly, the five thousand pounds and gold cups will be presented at the end of the evening. It goes without saying that the victors will be appropriately recognized in all of the newspapers."
Boyce elbowed Drexel. "Yes, yes, my father reads every paper."
The crowd's cheers erupted again after the mention of the winnings.
The earl held his arms out. "I tell you, my friends, I'm excited about this race. To help defray the cost of your journey, any man who takes up our challenges will receive a hundred pounds after reaching Paris."
Shouts and applause echoed around the square.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, Lady Sarah and I look forward to hearing the adventures of England's finest men. I am positive that once my daughter is acquainted with you fine fellows, she will fall in love. With such excellent examples of the greatness inherent in the English, how could she not? We also anticipate the pleasure of your company during our summer in Paris. The only other thing I can say is..." The earl lifted his quizzing glass to his eye and scanned the crowd. "Ready, steady, go!"
* * *
An unusually warm and cloudless sky greeted Boyce the next morning as he started his journey to Paris. It took some effort to hide his disappointment that Drexel had changed his mind and agreed to be his witness for only one day. During the night, his friend had run into trouble of the female kind and needed to return to London before the day's end.
The first man out of the stable yard was Drexel, and he pointed his dappled gray south.
Boyce whistled to get his attention. "We must head north."
Drexel reigned in his horse. "But Paris is to the east and south, not north."
"No, no." He patted his horse's neck. "I will win by heading north. Why that direction, you might ask. Follow me."
Boyce and Drexel traveled northward before taking a sharp turn to the east.
After ten minutes of silence, Boyce winked at his friend. "So tell me about the female trouble you ran into yesterday."
A scowl crossed Drexel's sharp features. "I will never forgive you for coercing me, and Ross, into writing The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide. Help you with your publishing career be damned. That handbook has been nothing but trouble for all of us. Now some chit is angered over the section of the book I wrote, The Field Guide. Claims the wrong initials were added under ‘Happy Goers.' But don't worry, I have a clever plan to deal with her." The tone of his voice, combined with his wicked smile, meant certain trouble for some unsuspecting female.
After a long gallop, followed by a conversation about troublesome women, they found themselves riding down Frog Lane, surrounded by open fields near the village of Islington. On one side, London's vegetable gardens stretched out into the distance, filling the air with the odor of manure. On the other side, several dozen people gathered around a large, wooden platform. A large balloon half-filled with the newly discovered inflammable air-created during the manufacture of illuminating gas-fixed everyone's attention. A silver-blue monster of over forty feet in diameter, the silk balloon swayed with every little puff of wind.
Drexel whistled softly. "You have more courage than I if you go up in that thing."
Brimming with confidence, Boyce straightened in the saddle. "Now you understand the brilliance of my plan. I'll win both the courage and intelligence challenge. Courage, because no other challenger will journey to Paris by balloon. Intelligence, because this balloon represents a new technology that will lead the way in transportation. My successful flight may one day prove that ordinary people can travel great distances by air."
"I'll give you courage, but not intelligence. It's too dangerous to travel far. Balloons are only used for paid ascensions or to observe troop movements."
"No, no, expand your imagination. The prince-I mean that sorry fellow who is now our king-has gone on hundreds of ascensions, so they're not dangerous at all. Think of the balloon's future on a grand scale, a way to cross deserts, find the source of the Amazon, or lift heavy cargo. Perhaps one day you will reach for your wings in the morning instead of your riding boots. Let's watch them prepare, shall we?"
Up on the platform, three people worked diligently. The youngest was a lad of eight or nine who seemed to run wherever directed. Next, a young woman dressed in a tan wool overcoat, her brown hair neatly plaited, lifted birdcages into the balloon's basket. The third person, a slim gentleman, stood next to the balloon and shouted incoherent instructions to the boy.
In a chair, by one of the many barrels that must have contained the inflammable air, sat an older man with remarkable whiskers that arched along the top of his cheeks. Boyce had met the aeronaut, Mr. Thomas Mountfloy, on the previous evening when he had made arrangements for the balloon's hire. The flight had been planned to perform several atmospheric experiments, like testing the ability of birds to fly at high altitudes. So Mr. Mountfloy initially refused Boyce's proposal. He only agreed to his scheme after Boyce paid an outrageous sum and agreed to assist with the experiments.
Boyce studied the basket. Made of wicker, about eight feet in length and perhaps five feet tall, it was shaped somewhat like a dinghy with several birdcages piled on one side.
Drexel shook his head. "What a sight. I've never seen a balloon up close."
The slim man held a long tube attached to the bottom of the balloon. The shiny silk undulated in the light breeze and quickly inflated to about three-quarters of its size.
Last night, Boyce had read that balloons were never fully inflated before ascending, because they needed room for the gas to expand at high altitudes. So when the slim man pulled the tube away, he knew it was time for his ascent. He tied a sack, containing clothing for cold weather and a tin of biscuits, around his waist before swallowing a swift mouthful of brandy from his silver flask. This movement caught Drexel's attention, but he spoke first. "You are the official witness to my ascension, remember? Now watch me."
Drexel grabbed his arm. "No! Please reconsider. You might be killed."
"Nowadays people don't die in balloons. They are as safe as a gallop on Charity. Oh, and thank you for taking her back to the stables. Now keep your eye on me." He jumped up onto the platform and climbed into the basket. The girl had entered before him and seemed to be tying down the birdcages. He urged Mr. Mountfloy to come aboard with haste.
Mr. Mountfloy called out, "Are you ready, my lord?"
"Right ho," Boyce replied.
The girl looked at Mr. Mountfloy. "Father, please."
The slim man started to fiddle with the ropes, so Boyce wondered when Mr. Mountfloy would climb aboard. Then one side of the basket started to lift off the platform, so he shouted for the aeronaut to hurry.
After a nod in the direction of the slim man, Mr. Mountfloy waved his arm. "Good luck, your lordship. See you soon. Hang on!"
The balloon shot upward.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 stars – rounded The first I have read in this series or by this author, I was captivated by the cover and the idea of a balloon race. A fan of the film, Around the World in 80 Days, I loved the idea of ballooning, especially with a female pilot. Sally Orr has crafted a story that is very much a ‘mood read’, you have to be willing to go with the often ridiculous antics of Boyce, and have some patience with the less charming Eve. Successfully adding some funny moments, the story is not angst ridden or notably comic, and there are some quirks of characterization that border on overdone, but racing from England to France to win adulation and respect isn’t a realistic option either. Have fun with this romance, and enjoy it for what it is: a fun story that will entertain and amuse. Boyce is in the doghouse with his father after having published The Rake’s Handbook – a purported guide for men of a certain age who wish to build their credentials in a dubious way. As a character, Boyce is rather unique, prone to breaking into song at random unexpected times, he’s a touch impetuous and perhaps seen by many as flighty and shallow. As the youngest son, he’s constantly fussing for attention from his father, to no avail. The race to Paris provides him an opportunity he doesn’t feel he can pass up, so he arranges to hire a crew to pilot a balloon across the channel. Eve is obsessed with her own intellectual pursuits pertaining to weather, and ballooning allows her the opportunity to gather data and test theorems. The lack of interest in ferrying Boyce across the channel is only supplanted by her desire to continue experimenting. Stubborn, curious and a bit humorless in the whole, Eve is a direct contrast to Boyce’s rather overblown personality. But, she agrees to the challenge, and is determined to gather data and experiment along the way, no matter Boyce’s objections. These two have interactions that vary between rather stilted to flowing, with a solid basis for a friendship between them. Boyce shows himself to be more than just an inappropriately singing lord, and Eve is able to explain and share her curiosity. As the plot moves forward and the two move from friendship and regard to love, there were some moments that didn’t quite connect for me, but in keeping the story to the sweeter side served the characters well. Well plotted with details and descriptions that added to the ability to visualize, as well as solid historical details mixed in made this an enjoyable and fast paced read, perfect for a rainy afternoon when you just want to be entertained and happy in the end. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I received a ARC copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebook Casablanca I had high expectations of When A Rake Falls, but this is the first book I have had the opportunity to read from this author. I had seen some high ratings and reviews, so I was pretty excited to start this one. But I had the most difficult time getting into it. I don’t know if it was just me or I was in the mood for something more engaging. I would say that this is a story that had some quirky moments and a few scenes that were pretty fun to read. But as a whole, I wouldn’t say it was the type of story that I was necessarily in the mood for. I did enjoy the characters, and the plot was pretty steady and had many enjoyable qualities to it, but I just couldn’t see the romance in this one. I could see the friendship building the two, but the actual romantic relationship I just could never really connect with. For me it was like they went from being friends to loving each other and I didn’t see the transition at all. I wanted to, I really wanted to love this one, but it just didn’t happen. I found the story to have great humor, and some entertaining characters, and even though it wasn’t my favorite romance to read, I do plan on reading the first book and maybe I will enjoy it more.
This is book 2 in the Rake's Handbook series. Lord Boyce Parker will do just about anything to gain the respect of his father. So when he has the opportunity to to become famous for his courage and intelligence and gain a wife in the process, he doesn't let it pass him by. Thinking to put himself in the lead, he pays to ride in a hot air balloon and hopes to talk his way into getting them to take him to France. What he didn't count on was Miss Eve Mountfloy. Eve doesn't want this "Pink of the Ton" with her when she does her experiments, but when he doesn't demand to be let down after her quick ascent she resigns herself to the fact that she will have a partner in her scientific studies. She didn't count on feeling an attraction to her unwitting partner. Will his attraction to Eve convince Boyce to abandon his quest and take the love that is standing right before him? I didn't like this story as much as I did the first in the series. I did like Eve, but Boyce was rather annoying. Even after he felt his attraction toward Eve and started to have feelings for her, he still kept going on and on about getting to France and winning the race. His use of verse throughout the story also seemed a bit over the top. I liked the idea of the story, but it just didn't do much for me because I kept getting annoyed with the hero. Thanks go out to Sourcebooks via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
1 Star I found this book to be incredibly disappointing. I really wanted to love it. I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover. I know that my mother has always told me not to judge a book by the cover but let's be real here - I am not one that listens to helpful advice all that often. This book has such a lovely cover. Do you see her beautiful yellow dress? The way her dress is blowing romantically in the wind? Did you notice how the hot air balloon is perfectly coordinated to her lovely dress? The idea of a hot air balloon is just so romantic. The cover of this book promised me a delightfully romantic tale. It didn't take me long to realize that I had been tricked by the cover. This book didn't live up to any of my expectations. I actually thought about stopping about a third of the way through the book but I pushed forward hoping that it would improve but I just couldn't connect with the story at any point. I found myself constantly looking at how much I had left to read of this book because I just wanted to finish it so that I could move on to something else. This is never a good sign. Lord Boyce Parker hires a hot air balloon piloted by Miss Eve Mountfly to fly him to France. He is determined to win a race that will win him a lady's hand and restore some of his father's respect. Eve thought she was just taking him up and that they would go back down so she must be talked into continuing with his plan. When they do eventually land, they spend some time recovering with some very entertaining hosts. I didn't like any of the characters in this book. I think that the author was trying for quirky characters but they just seemed ridiculous. Boyce had a tendency to burst into spontaneous song. Yes, you read that correctly...one of the main characters thought he was staring in a musical or something. Eve wasn't any better. She was supposed to be a scientist who always reasoned through everything but her personality just seemed flat. This book tried really hard to be funny but I didn't think it was funny at all. I would actually read a passage and then realize that the same thing that had just made me roll my eyes was supposed to be funny. I think that everything that was supposed to be funny in this story just felt dumb to me. There were a few moments where I actually wished that the balloon had simply crashed because I didn't care about a single character in this story. I cannot recommend this book to anyone. I found no enjoyment in this story at all. This was the second book in the series and I have heard positive thing about the first book, The Rake's Handbook: Including Field Guide, but I don't think I am going to take a chance with that one anytime soon. I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
This novel was at times thought provoking, more often than not awe inspiring, and always comical. Orr draws us into her world with a flair rarely seen in historical romances & keeps readers engaged throughout. This is a fun & light-hearted novel. It’s not full of erotic elements, nor is there palpable chemistry throughout, but the romance is still present nonetheless. Orr’s writing easily brings this world and characters to life, making it easy for readers to picture themselves in it. Her tone sets the stage for this light hearted romance. The main characters in this novel are a very unlikely pair yet at the same time the perfect match. His need to prove himself coupled with her love of science created some intensely enjoyable moments. Eve’s very scholastic outlook on life is also tempered by Boyce’s ‘all or nothing’ approach. All in all, these two were a joy to read about. I can’t picture one without the other (even if at the beginning I couldn’t quite picture one with the other). This was a fun, enjoyable read that was definitely different that most novels in the genre. Although part of a series, it can very easily be read as a standalone. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
#2 in the popular "The Rake's Handbook", but can be read as a stand alone. Fast paced passionate tale of the Rake: Lord Boyce Parker, a balloon race, the Bluestocking: Miss Eve Mountfloy and of course, love. Boyce and Eve are a pair to be sure. Written with wit, a bit of humor, two unlikely characters, a blossoming romance, searching for respect and tension between characters. The H/H are definitely flawed, have struggles and challenges, just like the rest of the universal. The issue: can they overcome their issues to make their HEA. Once again, Ms. Orr has written a tale that is interesting, entertaining, and a bit sad at times, but an overall enjoyable read. It has a bit of a Steampunk Romance fell to the story, to me. I enjoyed the first book in this series, a bit better than this one, but will continue to read this series. The concept is delectable. But, if you are looking for a sensual read, this can't it readers! It does have a fine mixture of romance, with a bit of suspense and the lure of passion. Overall, and enjoyable and satisfying read! *Received for an honest review from the publisher and Net Galley* **Cross-posted on My Book Addiction and More dot com** Rating: 4 Heat rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
This was a good read. It is set in England 1825. Lord Parker is about to join in a challenge to marry an Earl's daughter. He has a strong character and yet a protective personality. Sally has come up with an impressive story line. Parker finds a hot air balloon and pays to be flown to France. Here he meets Eve and they do experiments on flying. When they try to land-Crash! Spoilers. They are taken in to recuperate and Parker finds a friend, female, who is the cause of a great many spoilers. Parker is the youngest and thinks his father has no use for him. He tries so hard. Eve wants nothing more than to write and give a speech at the Royal Institute. Parker gets to and Spoilers here. I liked this story. I learned some things I never heard of before. Think Sun. I hope you choose to read this book. It's worth your time. Enjoy your reading! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
*I received this ARC via Netgallery* Oh those Aristocrats and their flying machines! Whimsical second book in her Rake's Handbook Series, Sally Orr delivers a playful, witty follow-up to The Rake's Handbook. At times there were slow moving sections to this work but as a whole it flowed nicely. Chocked full of interesting historical facts as well as phrases and terminology unique to Georgian England make the reader's experience that much more enjoyable with this book!
Eve Mountfloy is a great heroine. She is incredibly smart, and loves to learn more about a variety of things. Her expertise is aeronautics and balloon flight experiments. You could practically see her light up every time she got a chance to talk about it. Lord Boyce Parker was a bit whiny. He was so obsessed with trying to win a contest to prove to his father that he was "something" and it he wouldn't stop talking about it. I'm all for sensitive guys and I love one that isn't afraid to talk about his emotions. Unfortunately, Boyce came across as more childlike than being a sensitive adult male. I really don't know how Eve put up with it. Their adventure was quite amusing though. Through several accidents during their balloon flight, to interfering relatives and friends, they manage to stick together. I enjoyed see more of the intellectual side of the population and overall enjoyed the story - just didn't particularly care for Boyce. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*