The Secret Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Ever since they met as children at the annual summer festival on the border of their two countries, Judith Hampton of England has been fast friends with Frances Catherine Kirkaldy of Scotland. Despite the enmity between the two lands in this period (the late 12th century), Judith is determined to attend the birth of Frances Catherine's first child and find her father, a Scottish laird she has never seen (when they finally meet, it is not in the fashion she had anticipated). En route to her friend's Highland home, Judith charms her escort, Frances Catherine's brother-in-law Iain Maitland. So she is baffled when Iain withdraws into his role of clan laird. Equally confusing is Frances Catherine's claim that after years with the Maitlands, she is still an outsider. But Judith determinedly forges friendships and reexerts her charms over Iain, leading to a lively, unconventional wedding. Woven into Judith's story is an intriguing, almost heretical message for a romance novel: a woman needs more than the right man to have a full, happy life. That Garwood ( Guardian Angel ) can argue this point and still deliver a delightful tale is an accomplishment.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Vivacious Judith, a Brit, visits her friend in the untamed Scottish highlands of 1200. Little does she suspect that she will fall in love, marry, bring women's lib to her new village, and find her previously unknown father. The simple plot offers a pleasant blend of historical fiction and uncomplicated mystery. With well-developed, amusing characters, this entertaining novel pulls readers back in time to an unusual era, and is difficult to put down.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
She's very talented and knows how to layer up her characters to the point where you can guess what they'll do next. Her eye for detail is one remarkable thing, and it puts you back in time.
When I started this book, I was hooked. Never put it down! Iain Maitland and Judith Hampton, along with the many others, were greatly brought to life, and their arguments are hilarious. So is the way Iain confuses the heck out of Judith.
All together: A remarkable, beautiful romance. I recommend it to all who like to read a good book. I'd also recommend a few others writers, starting with an all-time fave, Nora Roberts --who also writes under the pen name JD Robb for her "... in Death" series. Barbara Delinsky, Luanne Rice, Danielle Steel, Debbie Macomber, Judith McNaught, and Stephanie Laurens are awesome, too! Check them out whenever you can. You won't regret!
The character's personalities are really good. Iain is direct, forceful and protective, but as the book develops he really lets his guard down with Judith. Judith is sassy and bold and forward thinking, she tries to make things better for the women in Iain's clan, and Iain, being a nice guy in a bad boy's body backs her up and helps her get her way.
Overall I loved this book and reread it a lot. It's charming, funny and sentimental. The ending is great and leads me on to giving the sequel a mention. The sequel is called Ransom and is another one of my Five Star reviews and probably my favourite historical of them all. Reading The Secret really pays off because you can then find out about what happens to Brodick (sigh - surely the sexiest and strong yet kind hero ever written) and Ramsey (not half bad either!) as well as catching up on dear Judith and dishy Iain. In the next book two more heroines, the perceptive and smart Gillian and the naïve but lovable Brigid are introduced. So, what the hell are you waiting for? Read these books!
Years later, Judith travels to Mary Kathleen in order to be present for the birth of Mary Kathleen's first child. To fetch her, Mary Kathleen sends her brotherin-law and laird, Ian, who promptly belives that Judith will have to be taken by force to Scotland. However, when he arrives, she is packed and ready to go.
The love story between Judity and Ian is amazing. It's sweet and progresses with believable pacing. The side characters of Brodrick and Ramsey set up another classic of Garwood "Ransom." However, it is important to realize that one of the main grounding points of this book is the friendship between the two women. This is not a topic often discussed or talked about in a romance novel, and provides a nice change of pace.
I highly recommend this book.
Judith Hampton and Frances Catherine had been friends since childhood and neither were bothered by the fact that Judith was English and Frances Catherine, Scottish. Frances Catherine's mother had died in childbirth and she had the fear that the same fate awaited her. The two friends made a pact that whenever Frances Catherine was married and ready to have a baby; Judith would be with her. Neither girl anticipated the fact that the Scottish lairds hated all things English and did not warm to the idea of having Judith visit Scotland.
After a lot of debating, several Scotsman, including Laird Ian Maitland, go to England to bring Judith to her friend's assistance. Judith and Ian are immediately attracted to each other, but both fight the love and affection that seems inevitable. This is a good love story, but I also found the information about birthing and mid-wives to be interesting. The horror that women faced when dealing with childbirth in the dark ages was unbelievably barbaric and often tragic.
The story starts out charming and doesn't stop there. You're introduced to two little girls -- Judith and Frances Catherine, who should not be friends -- because one is English and one is Scottish. Of course, that never stopped anybody! They become best friends and maintain this bond through the years.
Fast forward a bit and Scottish Frances Catherine is expecting her first baby, and wants English Judith to be at her side. The laird, Iain Maitland, figures that Judith will say no to this request, and takes 3 of his men to go get her. To everyone's surprise, Judith is not only ready, but she's practically begging to be taken away from her abusive household.
Along the way, Iain and Judith fall in love, and the Secret of Judith's past threatens to tear them apart for all time. Of course, it won't because this is a romance novel, but there is still a lot of mystery and conflict surrounding the refreshingly innocent Judith.
There is a ton of humor in this book -- you will laugh over what the Scottish men say when they discuss Judith. You'll laugh over Judith's actions as she worries herself into a panic. I laughed my head off at the beginning of the book, with the strange friendship between Frances Catherine and Judith. It is obvious that Julie Garwood has a love for life and loves to laugh -- it is inherent through her books.
I cannot stress how much I love this book! Judith is very innocent and stubborn, and has had a hard life. You'll find yourself really cheering for her as the story goes by, and wanting everything to work out for her.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoy this author, however i really wish she would offer clean versions of her books.Published 8 days ago by Nikki
The Secret by Julie Garwood
Audiobook edition narrated by Susan Duerden
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This is a favourite story of mine. Read more
I loved the friendships that formed in this novelle but it did seem that there was too much going on at times. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Rosewood
Can't get enough of Julie Garwood. I've read everything she has published. Great escape from everyday woes.Published 17 months ago by Terri
Very good read:) I really enjoyed it! This is my first from this author and I'll definitely be reading more from her work!Published on Nov. 5 2013 by Amazon Customer
I DON'T know why a lot of readers love this book...maybe I'm weird or I have different taste...say whatever you want, But I REALLY think this book has no originality, has very weak... Read morePublished on March 13 2004 by Jem S.
This is a great book with superb characters and a great plot. Little did we know what would befall them in RANSOM, however. This book is similar to some other works by Ms. Read morePublished on March 12 2004
Julie Garwood is an absolute favorite. She's a beautiful writer and makes you fall in love with her characters and brings settings to life. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004