I haven’t read a historical by Garwood in ages & I was really surprised by “The Secret”! It made me realize just how far the historical romance genre has come in the last twenty-four years. We are spoilt for choice by new authors who expertly intertwine fact & fiction together & give us endless bounds of entertainment through their books. It made me so proud to think of Julie Garwood as a pioneering author for these newer authors in the historical romance genre.
Frances Catherine & Judith Hampton meet when they are young girls at the border games of Scotland. They remain best friends despite their lineage & Judith promises Frances that she will travel to Scotland to help birth her first child. When France’s time is near, she sends for Judith, with a lot of difficulty, as the Maitland clan are outraged by this request of an Englishwoman to be present in their midst. Laird Iain Maitland & three other warriors journey to England to escort Judith to Scotland, prepared for Judith’s refusal of the journey as all English cannot be trusted according to them. What awaits them is a proud, beautiful Englishwoman intent on fulfilling her childhood promise to her best friend who challenges their views & ideals of women & the English!
Judith & Iain are a cute couple but they needed to grow on me. Iain is cute when he is jealous & possessive of Judith & I liked that alpha side of him. Admittedly I did like this book a lot more for its feminism rather than the relationship between Judith & Iain. Judith challenges Iain & his clan & forces them to rethink clan rules, women’s station & olden ways. She is forward thinking & proves to be a great role model for her friend and other women in the clan.
The only problem with reading this book in 2016, is that it feels slightly dated (it was written 24 years ago!) with plenty of historical inaccuracies & modern language, but the story is sweet, the relationship tender & Judith a breath of fresh air. Julie Garwood does tender & sweet romances so well & this book is a great example. If your looking for a comfort read with low angst, funny moments & a sweet story then give this a go