Release Date: March 22nd, 2022
CW: depression, overdose of a secondary character, mentions of substance abuse
Moira and Kenzie are convinced the only place they’re a match is in hell.
Raised as the shining prodigies of warring highland dance schools, the two grew up with blaring bagpipes as the backing track for a feud that took them all the way to the world championships.
Moira could never keep Kenzie’s icy glares from getting under her skin, and Kenzie could never hold back an eye-roll as she watched the crowds fawn over her rival’s happy-go-lucky charm.
Starting college has forced both women to hang up their kilts, but when their local highland dance association announces a scholarship for a life-changing amount of money, they find themselves back onstage for one last season.
The stakes are higher than ever, but between shooting daggers at each other’s backs and insults at each other’s faces, their eyes start lingering, their hearts start pounding, and the sparks begin to build into a fire neither of them can control.
Hell could freeze before either woman would admit their attraction, but that won’t stop them from using it to play dirty—and getting caught in the crossfire of their feelings along the way.
After all, sometimes the devil wears tartan.
I am seriously loving Katia Rose’s small town sapphic romances and I hope there’s more. Because after the wonderful softness of This Used to Be Easier, reading this frenemies/rivals to lovers book was such a treat. And if that’s not enough, a book set in the world of highland dance competitions? Like…I didn’t even know this was a thing. And my god, so much tartan. It was amazing!
Moira and Kenzie (standing ovation for these names!) have been doing highland dance for as long as they can remember and for most of that time, they’ve competed against each other. Moira comes from a family that is covered in tartan and her mother runs a dance school while Kenzie’s home life is a little more complicated, but when she discovered dance, it was all she wanted. And every step of the way, Moira has bested Kenzie, driving them both to keep competing against each other. Now in their early 20s and teaching highland dance to future Moiras and Kenzies, the two of them cross paths at a competition that adds a little more drama to their already strenuous relationship—a chance to win an amazing scholarship!
I was really fascinated by Moira and Kenzie’s history, relationship and just basically their entire rivalry, so I kept going because it gave me such great insight into who these two women were. I think it’s less of an enemies to lovers and more of a rivals to frenemies to lovers—because the conflict happens pretty early on and they have to work to fix it when they’re so angry with each other. But these two characters were so great. I loved Moira’s drive and her love for highland dancing, and how deeply rooted it is in her life. Her entire house and family are obsessed too and it’s very clear, but she’s able to remove herself from that world when she wants to. Kenzie, on the other hand, comes from a slightly broken home where every day is a bit of a struggle and highland dancing is her big escape from it all.
Their relationship is strained at first and I liked watching them go through the emotions of disliking each other to seeing a chance of maybe something more to becoming friends and just throwing caution to the wind. I admired both of them for putting their issues and differences aside to focus more on just being able to be friends before anything else. I also definitely appreciated the situations they were thrown into because of this scholarship competition—that entire interview process and scene was hilarious. I wish there was footage of them dancing to Nickelback’s Photograph, because I never thought of the song as something you could do anything but sing along to!
Yes, this is the story of Moira and Kenzie falling in love, but The Devil Wears Tartan is such a strong story about loving yourself, giving yourself a chance to really fight for things you want. Both women have been sacrificing themselves for other people most of their lives and through each other, the love share, they are able to really find the strength to go beyond. I related to how they saw themselves and saw each other, but also I loved the words that they gave each other to really see that they are more than the instances they find themselves in. They are more than the fears that hold them back and growing up, moving on and being concerned about yourself isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s a story of healing, in short. And Kenzie and Moira not only heal themselves, but each other, at the end of this story and that is powerful!
Thanks to Katia Rose for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.