The Hellion’s Waltz
Author: Olivia Waite
Series: Feminine Pursuits, book 3
Publisher: Avon Impulse (June 15, 2021)
Paperback, 272 pages
Romance, Historical Romance (Regency), LGBTQIA+
Sophie Roseingrave hates nothing more than a swindler. After her family lost their piano shop to a con man in London, they’re trying to start fresh in a new town. Her father is convinced Carrisford is an upright and honest place, but Sophie is not so sure. She has grave suspicions about silk-weaver Madeline Crewe, whose stunning beauty doesn’t hide the fact that she’s up to something.
All Maddie Crewe needs is one big score, one grand heist to properly fund the weavers’ union forever. She has found her mark in Mr. Giles, a greedy draper, and the entire association of weavers and tailors and clothing merchants has agreed to help her. The very last thing she needs is a small but determined piano-teacher and composer sticking her nose in other people’s business. If Sophie won’t be put off, the only thing to do is to seduce her to the cause.
Will Sophie’s scruples force her to confess the plot before Maddie gets her money? Or will Maddie lose her nerve along with her heart?
It’s so funny, this series has been so hit or miss for me. I ADORED the first book, The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, and didn’t much care for the second book, The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows. This one fell somewhere in the middle for me. It felt like it slanted a bit more YA/New Adult as well, possibly because both leads are fairly young, with one of them still living at home with her family.
I really love that the romance in this was sort of the easy part… A lot of the conflict/plot has to do with Maddie’s scheme, and a little bit with Sophie learning to come out of her shell and trust again. The relationship between Maddie and Sophie has a bit of an insta-love vibe (which maybe is also why it feels sort of YA/NA to me) but I really love them together. I also don’t normally like romances with a strong suspense element, but this one I really enjoyed and was interested in how they’d pull it off.
Like the other books in this series, there is a focus on the ills of society, misogyny, classism… There are also GORGEOUS descriptions of the interests of the lead characters, which I’ve really come to expect and love from Olivia Waite’s historical romances. I know nothing about pianos, music, or weaving, and WOW. The descriptions are so lovely and instill a sense of wonderment, I could just read about Maddie weaving ribbon or Sophie composing music or tuning pianos for the entirety of a book all itself.
This is the third book in the Feminine Pursuits series, but can be read as a stand alone. There are no spoilers for the first two books, and I don’t think any of the main characters show up again in this one either.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.