So funny thing about me is that I’m Scottish, kinda. I’m like, the right amount of kinda Scottish to vibe with the way in which this book is kinda Scottish. It’s set in Ottawa. I live in London.
Moira Murray (a name so Scottish my parents are wishing I’d changed mine to something similar instead of making it so that my Scottishness is no longer the first thing that anyone immediately knows about me) and Kenzie Andrianakis (closer to my current level of Scot) are two generational talents in their respective rival Highland Dance schools. They grew up together in the way that you grow up with your local rival that you trade wins with at all the local and regional and even national competitions. They spent all their formative years sparring with each other and being raised to beat each other. And now they’re back, for one last dance, with a scholarship that they want, that they need, on the line.
The thing is, as part of the competition for the scholarship, they also have to spend time together, volunteering together and getting to know each other outside of the competition hall. And so begins a really beautiful little romance, of two women at a crossroads in their life trying to figure out what their adulthood will look like, finding each other and helping each other move into their life. Moira finds herself in a place of expectations from those around her, but realises that she doesn’t actually want the life she’s told she could have if she tried, and Kenzie is trying to make things work from a troubled home, with an ill mother that she has to take care of and no willingness to let anyone in and help.
The building sense of trust between these two, along with their struggles to open up (along with their discovery that they really like it when they are mean to me) made this a delight to read. Romance and getting to trust someone isn’t always a linear journey, and there can be mistakes along the way, but Katia Rose’s characterisation never had me mad at the characters, always empathetic to their struggles. It was the kind of dream to read that I now have two different tabs of me trying to figure out which local booksellers have any of Rose’s other books in stock so I can follow up (Catch and Cradle or Stop and Stare seem like good next steps).