Summary from Goodreads:
Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud, as purposeful as she was loyal. The dear Scottish friend of her childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean…Nothing prepared her for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land…Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.
In a clash of spirited wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain’s searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan…not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!
I’ve mentioned in a few blog posts that I’ve been stressing out a bit for the last 3-4 weeks. I’m a worrier, and I can pretty much always find something to stress about, but stuff has been intense lately. I don’t know about you, but when I’m extremely stressed, I turn to my comfort reads. I have quite a lot of comfort reads – those books that take your mind off your worries; books where you know everything is going to be alright in the end, and the conflict in the middle isn’t life or death. Anyway, a major comfort read for me is Julie Garwood. Or maybe I should say her books are major comfort reads. I read all of her historical romances way back when I was in college (gosh, I’m so old!), and I’ve turned back to them countless times because they just make me happy. Anyway, the whole point of this ridiculously long intro is to say that The Secret is one of my favorites by Garwood, and it was just as awesome re-reading it again. Oh, and it was the perfect comfort read.
As I mentioned above, The Secret is a historical romance set in the middle ages in Scotland(more specifically, the Highlands). I know, the middle ages doesn’t sound like it would be all that romantic, right? Well, not to fear, Garwood makes it sound quite nice, and skips over all the gross chamber pot stuff. Certainly not the most historically accurate, but dude, it’s a romance. We’re not reading these for the realism. Anyway, I just loved the setting of this book, and every time I read it, it makes me want to visit Scotland.
The main character of this book is Judith, who happens to be English, but has a best friend who is Scottish, Frances Catherin. They met when they were both little girls, and Judith had promised Frances Catherin that if she ever got married and pregnant, that she (Judith) would help her friend through the birth. Of course, that day comes around, and Judith’s friend has moved to the Highlands. That’s how Judith meets the hero of the story, Iain.
What I really love about Garwood’s characters, is that they are always really nice people. I’m not a fan of romances where the hero is a total jerk, and that is not the case at all with Iain. He’s incredibly honorable (most attractive trait ever), and protective. This is kind of an old-school romance, so of course Judith is gorgeous, but doesn’t realize how pretty she is. She’s sweet, smart and and all-around good person. But it’s completely understandable why Iain and Judith fall for each other. They make a good couple.
There’s quite a few secondary characters, and they all have their own personality, and they bring a lot of life to the story and setting. I was particularly fond of all the elders of the Maitland clan, especially Graham. He’s stuck in his ways, and it’s difficult for him to change, but he’s also a nice guy, and wants what’s best for his people. I also loved reading about such a close friendship between Judith and Frances Catherine.
For me, Julie Garwood’s books are perfect comfort reads because she throws in a lot of humor. It’s not really a laugh-out-loud humor, but it’s one that kept me smiling through pretty much the whole story.
It seems I can’t read Julie Garwood’s books too many times. I’ve read The Secret so many times I’ve long ago lost count. Even though I’ve read this one so many times, I never get tired of it. If you like romance novels, and you haven’t read Julie Garwood, then get on with it! And start with this one because it’s pretty much perfect.
**A quick note on the summary – I know it’s sounds ridiculously cheesy, but really The Secret isn’t. I love a good romance, but cheesy-ness I do not like at all.**