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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Kilts and Catnip by Zoe Tasia is the first book in The Shrouded Isle series. After her husband's death, Becca decides on a fresh start for her and her two daughters by taking them on a dream vacation to Scotland. Their ideal vacation takes a strange turn when her younger daughter Tate disappears in the middle of the night after being lured into the forest. A mysterious man, Greg Gillie, saves her and guides them out of the forest. According to her eldest daughter, a creature has attached to Tate, but Becca hasn't seen anything, only Tate is acting strange. Wherever they go, they seem to encounter wolves yet no one seems bothered by the wolves' presence. Everyone tells her to stay away from the forest but no one will tell her the full reason why. As Becca slowly uncovers the secrets of her neighbors, a hidden magical world slowly wakes up and her connection to Greg continues to grow.
Zoe Tasia brings magic to a tale of romance, family, and heart. Becca starts a new life for her and her daughters in Scotland, and stumbles upon legends come to life. Becca's journey consists of moving on after her husband's death to a potential new home and romance, and her role as a mother and protector of her family. Her husband is never met but his death is consistently felt throughout the story as it influences Becca and her daughters. While she's ready for a new start, she's struggling with making a new life without her husband. Her daughters have their own struggles as Tate seems to stumble into one magical creature after another and the oldest, Jessie, struggles with growing up and seeing her mom moving on with life.
The friction between the two sisters is typical as with any bickering siblings, but Becca also has plenty of friction with her daughters as the three adjust to a new life which has a clear absence. While honoring their loss, Tasia also maintains a great deal of heart and love. At first the magical touches are ominous and mysterious as Tasia slowly builds up clues until she gets to the magical reveal. The blooming romance between Becca and Greg is sweet and slow building, which makes it feel genuine because it works in her not quite being ready to date though finding a strong connection with him. Several legends are explored with plenty of mischievous fairy creatures to meet and shape shifting fun to be had from wolves to mysterious cats, with magical mischief and more delights in Kilts and Catnip.