To win a race to Paris, dashing Lord Boyce Parker hires a balloon. He expects to be crowned the victor and become famous for his courage and intelligence. Only then can he regain his father’s respect from the scandal of publishing the naughty book The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide.
Bluestocking Miss Eve Mountfloy makes a bargain with the handsome Pink of the Ton. She’ll fly the balloon during the dangerous crossing to France, if he lets her finish her scientific experiments to predict violent storms and thereby save lives.
Eve proceeds with her studies, but the results are not what she expected. Chafing to keep warm creates unusual sensations everywhere. Then when Lord Parker asks if she is curious about the heat generated by a kiss, well, she is curious. It seems Lord Parker is performing experiments of his own that will forever change Eve’s perception of the word “results.”
When I write a negative review, I try to find something positive to say, even though I didn’t enjoy the book as a whole. I have to admit, I struggled to do that with When a Rake Falls, and the best I can come up with is to say that it made a change to read about a hero who isn’t traumatised by a tragic past, and the best way I can think of to sum up the book is to say that it’s… Mostly Harmless.
Our hero, Lord Boyce Parker is the youngest of the eight sons of the Marquess of Sutcliffe. When Boyce edited and published a rather racy book written by a friend, his father disapproved to such an extent that he cut him in public – leaving his son almost pathetically desperate to regain his approbation. Boyce decides that the way to do this is to enter a contest which requires him to travel to Paris and along the way perform at least one outstanding feat that proves him among the flower of British manhood along the way.
Lord Boyce’s brilliant idea whereby he will impress Dad is that he will travel by balloon, which will enable him to prove himself not only courageous, but intelligent and desirous of paving the way for new technology. He has arranged to travel with Mr Mountfloy, a scientist who is conducting experiments into weather conditions, and his daughter, Eve, but when he is hustled aboard with only Eve for company he is suspicious and soon learns that Moutnfloy had no intention of flying to Paris, and had instead instructed Eve to make take off so unpleasant as to make Boyce want to land as soon as possible. Undeterred, he persuades Eve to continue the journey and persuades her to allow him to help with her experiments.
Eve Mountfloy has worked alongside her father since the deaths of her mother and elder brother, a naval hero. She knows her father only turned to her for help in his work because she there was no alternative, and he believes that as a woman, she cannot possibly have the strength of mind and intelligence necessary for scientific study. In fact, towards the end of the book, he belittles her so badly and so often that I could happily have done him serious harm.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.