Cassandra Bainbridge has all her heart could desire. After broken promises, she is again betrothed to the man who sends her heart racing in the newly minted earl, Lord Geoffrey Whittaker, the younger son no one ever thought would hold a noble title. Following the death of his elder brother, the job was left to Whittaker to fill those shoes and after a brief estrangement from his love, he and Cassandra are only a week away from their wedding. With unrest in the looms his family owns – business’ that is all that stands between his family home and financial ruin, Cassandra is injured in one of the riots, leaving her legs severely burned and scared. Now, again Cassandra has broken their betrothal and has instead thrown herself into the science of ballooning, one of her most passionate hobbies. What Cassandra doesn’t realize is that for all her unaffected behavior and dismissal of Whittaker’s continuous confessions of love, is that in her heart, she still wants to say “yes” to his proposal… but she also knows that with her hand comes a dowry that though not substantial would help Whittaker’s finances. Her own heart won’t allow for a life of anything less than true love and that is what she cannot have.
Novels set in the regency era or anything related to horse-drawn carriages and pretty ballrooms usually have the ability to make me giddy – not to mention sigh with pleasure over the romantic nature of them. This novel was not so fortunate. I was constantly on defense with it, being more critical than I otherwise might have been. It starts out rough with too often misplaced, misused dialogue and though it evens out several chapters in, by then I was a bit disillusioned with… everything. There was too much left wanting in the integrity and “heart” of the story to ever repair the opening chapters though it improves if the reader is able to stick with it. Even if the writing isn’t to my liking, normally, I can overlook it with the characters but even the characters didn’t inspire me. They were duller than they deserved though Cassandra was a lady ahead of her time, I grew weary of her back-and-forth, wishy-washy emotions. In all likelihood, I’ve forgiven that in prior stories but here, I couldn’t get past that hindrance.
It isn’t easy for me to be critical about books because most of them aren’t “bad,” they just vary in their degrees of strengths and flaws. For me, this one is on the low end of the “flaw” scale and it never seemed to right itself, barely evening out. I can admit that Cassandra’s interest in ballooning was cute and actually surprisingly, a clever quirk which didn’t redeem the scope of the story and in fat sometimes comes across as “obsessive.” Anyone who is fond of Jane Austen-esque novels or Eakes prior titles – or the BBC adapted North & South, then ‘Flight’ is likely your cup of tea.
In Summary: Cute romantics that end the novel don’t save the fizzled out beginning that never really captures any magic in the prose.
Synopsis: Cassandra Bainbridge may be a bit of a bluestocking, but when Geoffrey Giles is near, love seems a fine alternative to passion for Greek and the physics of flight. With his dashing good looks and undying devotion to her, the Earl of Whittaker sets Cassandra’s heart racing with his very presence. It seems his only flaw is his distaste for ballooning, the obsession that consumes so much of her thoughts.
When a terrible accident compels her to end her betrothal, Cassandra heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. With time on her hands and good friends to help her, she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when Lord Whittaker slips back into her life, she finds her heart torn between her love for flight and her abiding love for the man she fears will no longer want her once he knows of her hidden scars.
With thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.