The Hellion’s Waltz is fun, with a con story arguably at the heart of it, rather than the romance. Sophie and Maddie’s relationship is sweet, but it happens so fast, with more attention given to working out the con than their relationship.
It actually feels better balanced at first, but then Sophie’s so swiftly persuaded to help with the con that there’s no real work that needs to be done with the relationship — and without scenes of negotiation and getting closer, I feel like I don’t know Maddie very well as a character (I know Sophie a little better because it feels like we get a lot more of her inner thoughts and decision-making, and definitely see more of her family), and I definitely don’t know the relationship well.
It’s very sweet, don’t get me wrong — it just doesn’t quite feel substantial, and I don’t feel that Sophie and Maddie know each other well enough (on the evidence) to know for sure they have a stable foundation on which to build the triumphant happy ending. So that knocked this book down a star at least in my rating.
The con story is entertaining, though, and getting to see Mr Giles have his comeuppance is deeply satisfying. As someone determined to help other workers, and determined to carry on a parent’s legacy and take care of others, Maddie’s a great character. The other stuff just didn’t quite gel for me.