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THE HELLION'S WALTZ by Olivia Waite Kirkus Star


From the Feminine Pursuits series, volume 3

by Olivia Waite

Pub Date: June 15th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-293183-2
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Instantaneous attraction drives the latest romance from the author of The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (2020) and The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (2019).

Sophie Roseingrave and her family are forced to leave London when a dishonest business partner ruins her father’s piano shop and her dreams of becoming a concert pianist. In the mill city of Carrisford, Sophie encounters the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen. It’s immediately clear to Sophie that Maddie Crewe is up to no good, but she ultimately learns that Maddie is up to no good for a good cause. She and her fellow weavers have hatched an elaborate plan to get even with a local merchant who's been cheating them for years. This scheme is pure screwball comedy, and it sets the tone for a lighthearted story in which there are no barriers to love. Waite’s Regency England is placidly multicultural and liberal minded. The Roseingraves befriend a Black father and son. An Indian immigrant and a Jewish merchant seem to be close to an engagement by the end of the novel. Maddie shares a house with a polyamorous mélange. No one is the least bit perturbed by the idea of an affair between women. In fact, Sophie’s parents actively support her relationship with Maddie. Some romance fans may be dissatisfied by the speed and eagerness with which Sophie and Maddie become sexual partners, but others will likely be willing to trade the pleasures of the slow burn for heroines who experience neither confusion nor shame nor hesitancy in their intense mutual desire. This book is a bit lighter than the first two installments in the Feminine Pursuits series, but there are some tender moments that are truly affecting, and Waite’s prose is often quite striking. Consider, for example, this arresting image: “It gave Sophie a queer feeling in the core of her, as though she were trying to remember tomorrow night’s dream.”

A disarmingly sweet Regency romp.