Book Review

The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros

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Title: The Devil Wears Plaid
Author: Teresa Medeiros
Publication Info: Simon & Schuster 2010
ISBN: 9781439157886
Genre: Historical: European

Book CoverSome of the earliest romances I read were by Teresa Medeiros. I remember staying up all night reading Charming the Prince. Medeiros is one of those authors who is abidingly constant in her writing. Sometimes it knocks me over and I have to lie there for awhile savoring the feeling, and sometimes I read it with a smile and a quick-moving eye, eager for more. While I didn’t read the vampire books she wrote, as they came at a time when I was Vamptired, I was very curious about The Devil Wears Plaid. Medeiros writes great dialogue, and has a way with plots where there’s very little stagnant time. She’s continually solid in her writing, and I love that her career spans so long with such strength.

When I saw this book, I was unsure whether to read it. I’m not normally a fan of Scottish romance. I love romances set in Ireland and Scotland, but I get very tired very quickly of the brogue, ye ken, lassie? Ach. It makes me irritable, it does. Really, if you want to transcribe brogue, try, like, a Proclaimers interview or something, and bring it and bring it ACH ALL THE WAY LASSIE. Scottish accents are some fine hotness, and the written version never really measures up.

So while I always remember Medeiros’ books favorably, I was hesitant to read this because of the ach and the wee and the language possibly driving me barmy. Ultimately, though I came away pleased that Medeiros is still writing solid and entertaining books, and not at all annoyed by the very light hand she employs with the transliterated (I think that would be the right word, or transcribed, perhaps) brogue. In fact, one of the funnier jokes in the book is based on the hero’s accent, and it’s worth the inclusion right there.

Emmaline Marlowe is at the altar, about to marry a decrepit older man to save her family’s financial stability and position in society, when Jamie Sinclair comes busting into the church on horseback, interrupts the wedding, and gets all The Graduate on the festivities (except he doesn’t know her personally), kidnapping Emma and riding away before anyone can do much of anything to stop him (he’s huge, and he’s on a horse after all).

Sinclair rides away with Emma, whom he does not know and doesn’t much care about, into the mountains of the highlands, where he plans to hold her for ransom until his lifelong enemy, the old goat fiancee, better known as the Earl of Hepburn, coughs up what Sinclair wants. Sinclair is surprised that Emma is rather brave, strong, and not cowed much by his treatment of her; he was expecting wailing and shrieking and fear (she is, ye ken, English and shit). Emma is not terribly surprised that Sinclair is a much more attractive man in her eyes but she’s horrified by how much she’s attracted to him, as she knows that the future of her sisters and her parents is solely on her shoulders, and those shoulders, along with the rest of her, need to marry the Earl of Oldness back down the mountain.

There’s layers of problems to be addressed and solved in this book – why is Emma’s family destitute? Why is she responsible for the solution and not her parents? Why is Sinclair so ready to ruin Hepburn’s wedding and possibly Emma as well? – and Emma and Sinclair are both entertaining characters to read about. This is a very friendly story for the reader: it’s easy to enter, easy to get carried away with Emma, easy and fun to read as an adventure story with a snowswept romance at its core. It’s not deeply and painfully emotional and it focuses very firmly on Emma and Sinclair.

The more I thought about the book after I finished it, though, the more I had questions as to how the happy ending came to be. The question of whether Emma’s ruined as soon as she’s out the door of the church and away from the eyesight of any reputable chaperone isn’t addressed really, and I kept picturing Emma like a new car driven off the lot – already worth 20% less the minute the tires leave the curb. Emma is already strong and brave, resourceful and resilient, and I liked her a lot – but she didn’t have far to go in terms of character development. She learns to be more vocal about her desires and in defense of herself,  but in the end, everyone around her changes and adjusts to what should happen for her to have her happy ever after. I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve it; she does indeed. But she doesn’t have a long way to go in terms of growth and development, whereas many of the surrounding characters need to grow up, grow a pair, get over themselves, or all three.

Sinclair, on the other hand, is all hate and simmer, but when he meets Emma, he has to make room for the opposite of those emotions. He’s never hateful to Emma, but he carries a long, firm, solid… grudge (you thought I was going somewhere else with that, didn’t you?) and doesn’t place her above the revenge he has to settle against Hepburn. Ultimately, I thought the villainy and the revenge were a little too easily dealt with, and the emotional turmoil that Sinclair might have felt was resolved simply and painlessly, belying its narrative significance.

The Devil Wears Plaid is the romance novel equivalent of a pasttime. It’s not an obsession or a fixation when you read it, like some books are that you can’t put down or even take a deep breath while you’re reading. This book is pleasurable, enjoyable, and fun and friendly. Reading it means that you’ll likely smile and be taken along on the adventure with Sinclair and Emma for an escape and mental vacation that leaves you with a sigh and a grin at the end. It won’t rip your heart out, so if highly emotional historicals are your thing, this probably won’t blow your kilt up. If you are looking for a read that’s adventurous and entertaining, this is one you’ll enjoy, especially if you’re a Medeiros fan.

Guess what? I got me 10 copies to give away, lads and lassies. So – leave a comment with your favorite Scottish dialectical word or phrase – or food name! – and I’ll pick winners at random. Comments close at midnight Saturday 25 September. International entries welcome, and standard disclaimers apply. I’m not being compensated for this giveaway. I don’t own any plaid though I’m told I am of Scots descent. Your mileage may vary. Shake well. Refrigerate after opening. It is unlawful to whistle while chewing gum on Sundays.


The Devil Wears Plaid is available at Amazon, and for the Kindle, Book Despository, Powell’s, and for the Nook at BN.com.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sofia says:

    Haggis, baby!

  2. 2
    Sasha says:

    I love Scottish romances, and I’m so glad that Teresa Medeiros keeps on writing. She’s one of my favorites [even though I’m all for the Angsty McAngst historicals]—love love love her fairy tale variations. Anyhoo, my entry:

    My boyfriend tells me that when I have, erm, imbibed, I tend to shout, “OCH, YE PUIR WEE LASSIE!” And that I go around, after a lame joke, saying, “YE KEN? YE KEN YE BONNY BAIRN?” Apparently, I cannot do a Scottish accent unless drunk, and it will almost always sound angry. [Why am I confessing all this?]

    Just to clarify: This isn’t part of a series, no?

  3. 3
    Babs says:

    Oh, but how to choose one? Can’t do it but do like:

    Bawbag – A useless person

    Mad rocket – A person who is crazy

    Stooshie – A little bit of trouble

    Tadger – A penis

  4. 4
    Sori says:

    I like the burr of a scottish accent, but most historicals take me out of the story when they overuse a few choice words. 
    I like Lassie as an endearment…

  5. 5
    Julie says:

    I hope that faux Scottish will suffice.

    “Harriet. Harriet. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis.”

    In the meantime, kilt.

  6. 6
    Megan B says:

    I love kilts! Especially as rumor has it they don’t wear anything underneath…:]

  7. 7
    Jessica says:

    Ooh, there are so many good words. 

    Kilt – because they are hot and sexy and awesome

    Irn Bru – which I think is a kind of soda which I always think must be nasty like Moxie (which certain members of my family love) but it is never really explained, just that they drink it a lot.

  8. 8
    Cat says:

    It’s “ye ken?,” ye ken?

  9. 9
    Philippa says:

    Dinnae fash yerself

    Glasgae Kiss [definitely NOT romantic!!]

    Alright, hen?

    Cloutie dumplings

    Haggis and ‘neeps

    Slice of bannock

    Single malt [mmmmm :-)]

    A wee dram

  10. 10
    R.J. says:

    I have no Idea the name of the book, but my favorite Scottish romance is one where the heroine is from modrern times and she gets transproted back to way-far-along-time-ago Scotland.  I also remember devouring Amanda Quick Scottish romances in high school. 

    I refuse to travel to scotland with my uncle because I know he is going to trick me into eating haggis. (If it wasn’t for the rudimentary French I learned in elementary school, I would have ended up eating dog at a Cambodian restaurant in Vancouver.)  Just thinking about it makes me slightly queasy.  I adhear to the “I don’t want to know what is in this” school of thought when dealing with most foods.

  11. 11
    daffiney says:

    What always gets me about Scottish romances are the names. Like in Outlander, it always baffled me how Jamie could be remotely interested in someone named Laoghaire. (Definitely not rival-sounding material, right? Claire had nothing to worry about.) But when you find out that it’s pronounced something like “Lierry,” it’s actually a verra verra bonnie name.

    I wonder what other beautiful Scottish names I’ve butchered in my mind!?

  12. 12
    Brianne P says:

    Haggis. fun to say, awful to smell and eat.

  13. 13
    Sue K says:

    Ye ken I want the booook verra baadly?

  14. 14
    Jenn LeBlanc says:

    My favorite is leave (permission) because I hear my heros and heroines say I give you leave and get all squishy.

  15. 15
    Antonia Girmacea says:

    I haven’t read many Scottish Romances because of the brogue and my terrible pronunciation of those weird names. How does one pronounce “Laoghaire” anyway? :-o

    One of the words I actually like is “baffies”, which means slippers from what I’ve heard. Funny, the word makes me think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. :P

  16. 16
    Susan Laura says:

    The Scottish brogue definitely got overused in the romance genre for quite some time and I had to take a break from it myself. But some words that I always liked include:

    Bonnie – such a sweet way to say pretty!
    Wee – so much more fun to say than “small”
    Och – that’s more a sound than a word
    Bairn – according to Wikipedia, “a body afore the oncome o puberty”

    Och, what a bonnie wee bairn you have there!

  17. 17
    Eliza Evans says:

    daffiney: The funny thing about Laoghaire is that Gabaldon didn’t know how to pronounce it, either, until she heard the audiobook version of Outlander.  I find that hilarious.

    Um, on topic.  Most of the Scottish brogue I know comes from Trainspotting.  I will never forget Begbie shouting about a lassie getting glassed.

  18. 18
    Christina says:

    I do enjoy a good boonie lass.

  19. 19
    Brandie says:

    I love the word “puggled,” which apparently means exhausted but makes me think of being covered in those cute pug-beagle mixed breeds. As in, “Ach, I’m puggled by puggles!” Or something not so cheesy …

    R.J., I think I know what book you’re talking about! It’s also a Teresa Medeiros book—Touch of Enchantment?

  20. 20
    Margaret says:

    Ach, I love a wee Highland romance verra much. Mayhap as much as I find the prospect of my wee laddie dressed in nothing but his Insta-Kilt beach towel verra pleasin’ to the eye.

  21. 21
    Ell says:

    Bonnie, as in the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

  22. 22
    Katherine says:

    “Do ye ken?” Always my favourite. But not one of those I can work into real-life conversations. People think I”m strange enough as it is.

    I read all of Teresa’s stuff back in the day. Loved her writing, but haven’t read any recently. I have know added this to my TBR list!

  23. 23
    Heather says:

    I’ve always like scottish exclamations. Give me an Och! any day.

  24. 24
    Cris says:

    Antonia, it’s pronounced – get this – “Larry”.  I know, I was shocked, too.

    As for my favorite Scottish saying, I am of Clan MacKay myself and I say, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s CRAP!” 

    (originally spoken in brogue by a pre-Fat Bastard Mike Myers on SNL back in the day)

  25. 25
    Cathy says:

    This is a bit longer than just a word or phrase, but I have a weakness for the poetry of Rabbie Burns:

    O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
      That’s newly sprung in June;
    O my luve’s like the melodie
      That’s sweetly played in tune.

    As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
      So deep in luve am I;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
      And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
    O I will love thee still, my dear,
      While the sands o’ life shall run.

    And fare thee weel, my only luve,
      And fare thee weel awhile!
    And I will come again, my luve,
      Though it were ten thousand mile.

  26. 26
    Kristi Luchi says:

    Barin. I love how in schottish-ese this book refers to babies and children; but in englihs-ese the word barren means you can’t have kids. Talk about an oxy-moron. In meaning. What are those words that sound the same amdn have completely different meanings…?

    various96 – there’s a number of differnt combinations

  27. 27
    Renee says:

    Bairn & Laird

  28. 28
    cyclops8 says:

    Tipsy Laird- Trifle made with Drambuie or whiskey.

  29. 29
    Faye says:

    Oh Kathy, kudos for the Burns!
    I like “bide a wee wi’ me,” and I do love me a good haggis.
    For those of you interested in more Scots fun, I found this:
    http://www.scotsindependent.org/features/scots/idioms.htm

    passed82: I do believe that when I’ve passed 82 the brogue will still raise my blood pressure.

  30. 30
    Emma_I says:

    It’s hard to pick just one, but my favourite scottish word is bonnie.

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