As a huge fan of the Feminine Pursuits series – Waite’s sapphic historical fiction series – I was so excited for The Hellion’s Waltz. A talented pianist meets a weaver engaged in a heist?? I was invested before I even began. And while it’s definitely my least favorite of the series, I still enjoyed the story. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Hellion’s Waltz combines a talented pianist still struggling to recover from humiliation with a weaver interested in revenge. As characters, I appreciated how Sophie struggles to find her music and voice again. To realize that being silent and retreating to the background won’t heal the wrongs of the past. That it won’t make the pain and betrayal leave. At the same time, I adored Maddie’s feisty spirit, the way she has found family with the weavers, and how she’s trying to fight against a system of exploitation.
I will always support conwomen. Especially those who have been wronged and are just trying to enact a form of justice. But whereas I could not stop reading the other two Feminine Pursuit novels – The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows – it took me longer to get through The Hellion’s Waltz. I think part of this was that of the characters in the series, the ones from The Hellion’s Waltz felt the youngest and their romance was the most instantaneous – in terms of attraction and chemistry.
I appreciated their chemistry, but I, as a romance reader, am drawn more towards slower paced romances. At the same time, I able to appreciate, and enjoy, sizzling chemistry so this wasn’t an entire deal breaker. Additionally, with the conwoman plot and Sophie’s family’s music business, the ending 2/3 of the book felt a bit rushed with a lot of different threads coming together. I almost felt like I wished that this portion had a bit more space to allow them to come together. As a whole, I still greatly enjoyed The Hellion’s Waltz. I think a lot of the reasons it took me a while is that the vibes were definitely different than the other two which just utterly swept me away.
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