Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Secret by Julie Garwood

Book Description:
Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud and loyal. Her dear Scottish friend from 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, however, 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 spirited clash of 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!

This was another fun Julie Garwood medieval romance - I love them. Her heroes are alpha males that are huge and incredibly sexy - yet tender and considerate once they're "tamed." The heroines are quirky, sometimes clutzy, always beautiful and full of spirit, and endearingly naive when it comes to their Highland warriors and the ways of love.

This book was no exception. Judith was a fun heroine, on the outside she's English born and raised, but she's really the unwanted daughter of the Scottish laird Maclean. She meets Iain, the laird of the Maitland clan. From the first they're attracted to each other and neither one of them resists kissing the other. This is sort of refreshing, since most romances I read, it takes forever for them to stop fighting the attraction and get on with it. Iain is striking, powerful, tall and gorgeous. I loved imagining what he must really look like - yumm... Plus, there's nothing like a huge, masculine Highlander ready and willing to show his new wife the joys of the marriage bed! As usual, Julie Garwood's bedroom scenes are masterfully done.

Judith winds up becoming a mid-wife of all things in this book, and I learned a few things about medieval birthing. She was adorable with her little quirks about how she intially reacts to the idea of birthing babies and resists it at first, convinced she can't do it all the way up to the point when she reaches the front door of the expectant mother's cottage, when all of a sudden a calm comes over her and she efficiently gets down to business. Then afterwards she sobs her whole way home crying all over whatever hapless warrior is walking her home. I enjoyed the way Iain would wait for her, or walk her from cottage to cottage - not your typical laird of the castle! His fellow warriors were entertaining too - especially when they are escorting her from England to Scotland so she can be with her friend, Francis Catherine. I can't wait to read the next book Ransom that is about two of these warriors and how they find their brides.

No real big angst in this book (which is the way I like it), but the conflict between the Macleans and the Maitlands comes to a head when Judith is taken to Laird Maclean and meets her father for the first time (among other people.) I found it a little touching at parts. A few loose threads: what was the cause of all the bitterness between the two clans, and why did the Laird Maclean hate the Maitlands former laird, Graham, so much? Whatever happens to Judith's mother? Does she get the end she so deserves? I'd like to see the Laird Maclean get his revenge on her for keeping his daughter from him for over 20 years, and subjecting Judith to such an unhappy childhood.

This was a delicious book to read in two days - a fun, take me away Calgon romance!


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