The Secret
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The Secret (Highlands' Lairds #1)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  24,784 ratings  ·  712 reviews
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...more
ebook, 404 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Dutton Books (first published 1992)
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This book grabbed from the Prologue, filled with both endearing and funny moments. In a few pages, Ms. Garwood had me loving Judith, the heroine, and her friend Frances Catherine. By the end of Chapter 2, I was also in love with Iain, the hero, and smiling like a silly girl. What a nice way to start a book!

Judith and Frances Catherine met as children and formed an unlikely friendship. Judith was English and Frances Catherine was Scottish, and everyone knew that English and Scottish hated each ot...more
Kristen (Peddler of Smut)
Delightful 4 stars

The Secret was a delight to read. I was easily swept into Julie Garwood’s world of witty dialogue, enchanting characters, and feel good romance.

I did, however, find it difficult to feel the connection and chemistry between Iain's and Judith's characters during the first half of the book. In fact, at times I felt there was more chemistry between Judith and Brodick than between Judith and Iain. Fortunately, by the end of the story I was a firm believer in Judith's and Iain's rela...more
UniquelyMoi ... So I Can Shine...

5 bloody brilliant, hot Highland Laird stars!

Audio/Kindle/Paperback Review

Very rarely do I have the opportunity to read a book that isn't a review required read, but I needed something familiar, something comforting this past week, and so I chose to re-read/listen to this story.

I am so, so very glad I did!

I had read The Secret (paperback) years ago and never reviewed because I was on a Julie Garwood binge. Book after book, I didn't have time to stop and write down my thoughts because I couldn'...more
Mar 15, 2009 Eastofoz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers looking for a medieval with a strong hero & smart heroine
4.5 stars and it could’ve been 5 if there was just a smidge more “unglossed” steam, otherwise it’s beautifully written and the characters bounce off the pages. It’s the type of story you can lose yourself in and forget where you are –despite the annoying microscopic print!

Garwood does a fantastic job with the language in this book. She twists and turns simple things to make them all complicated and in the end it’s hilarious. There are so many parts left vague or unsaid and you keep on reading be...more

*Still dancing happy dance*

I am so grateful to my GR friends; otherwise I might have missed this gem! I don't know what to write. It was funny, heartwarming, charming, and romantic and amazing all wrapped in one. JG’s highland romances are quickly moving up on my favorite list.

Lady Judith Elizabeth is a wonderful (English) heroine and Iain is a clueless, arrogant Scottish lair who doesn't think he will fall in love – but of course he does *happy sigh* It might have been quite similar to The Bri...more
This is my first book by Julie Garwood and it may be my last.

Yes, I enjoyed this book but I found it too cutesy and simplistic. I think that if it had been either a funny book or a dark book I would have enjoyed it more, but this mix of funny banter with very dark topics didn’t do it for me.

On one hand, you have very serious topics: dangers and fear of pregnancy (which is the first time I have read in a historical so I give the author kudos for that), battles between clans in Scotland, the hatr...more
Repeating this one again! A feel-good favorite. Love these Highland Historicals. Garwood is a kick, a mix of humor, sizzle, and action. She can't be taken too seriously, since her heroes are over-the-top alpha and her plots are improbable.

As I read this — for the nth time— I smiled and chuckled, and then frowned at the hypocracy of the male-dominated church. Have read it oodles of times. Beautiful story. I just adore Iain Maitland and even his heroine, Judith.

Sweet romance between Iain's brothe...more
Sophie ♥
I won't be writing a review but I will write a few of my thoughts on this book. As much as a I liked the light-hearted tone of this book, I also felt that Julie Garwood essentially just glossed over any drama or angst. It was almost like she wanted to simplify everything for us. The plot wasn't very sophisticated, but I enjoyed her writing and wit enough for the plot to not really matter. I was slightly disappointed in the ending. The ending of a romance novel is usually the best part of the boo...more
Jane Stewart
Sort of ok, but not recommended.

I've read three Julie Garwood novels which were similar: The Secret, Saving Grace and Ransom. All three have an English heroine going to Scotland and falling in love with a Scottish laird. All three women were too saccharine for me. They bring some changes and knowledge to the Scottish people by telling them not to commit certain crimes, to be polite and to have better manners. For example one heroine says never steal horses, just borrow them and return them later...more
Review originally posted on Bitten Books and given 5 stars.

I couldn't have even begun to imagine a more heartwarming and amusing story than Judith and Iain's. Everything about this book was absolutely perfect. I loved all of the characters and loved to hate the villains. I'm amazed at how quickly each character stole my heart. Many of the minor characters, who only had their say for a few characters, manged to carve a place for themselves too.

The relationships were really what made this book. My...more
Re-read this old favorite again this week and I'm happy to say it's still one of my all time favorites. I love this simple, funny, charming romance:)!
Opening line: They became friends before they were old enough to understand they were supposed to hate each other.

That's got to be one of loveliest opening lines ever, and everything that came afterwards was as delightful as that. A true keeper that only gets better every time I reread it.
Sha Mslvoe ♥♥♥
All historicals from Julie Garwood are not to be miss. She's a master romance writer and "The Secret" is one of her best. I must admit that every one of Ms. Garwood's books are wonderful, splendid, amazing love story.

The story was touching, funny and romantic. Definitely a KEEPER.
I knew Julie Garwood would not let me down!
This story was sweet and funny, I found myself laughing and smiling throughout much of the book! I loved Iain and the way he would just sit back and watch Judith and all the thoughts that went through his head. I also loved the way he was always raising one eyebrow at her, I could just imagine it!! Judith was also a great character, so sweet and passionate about everything!

Iain has got to be one of my favorite Heroes! I just love him!!

If you didn't like "The Bride" I think you will like this story. Judith is just sweet, you can't help but like her. Some very funny situation and some series times too. I will definitely read "Ransom".
This is the first book in the Medieval series, and it takes place in the 1200's in Scotland. Ever since reading one of Garwood's HR series books, I've had a little bit of an obsession with Scottish lairds. This book definitely fulfilled my current need to read more.

In this book Judith is waiting for someone to get her so she can go visit her friend in Scotland. Judith knows her friend is pregnant and wants to be there for her to help her through the birth. Iain is laird of his clan and wants not...more
Duchess Nicole
This was a solid read from Julie Garwood, if not exactly what I expected. Judith has been raised in England, tossed around by her mother between relatives, and believing her father to be dead. In fact, he is a Scottish laird. Judith's best friend from childhood, Frances Catherine, summons her to Scotland to be with her when she gives birth. She gladly takes the trip, as her mother is never around, and her uncle is a mean drunk. The man sent to escort her is the laird from Francis Catherine's cla...more
3.5 stars it is ...
It feels so good to be back in highlands , the beautiful locations ,the great warriors & the striking romance ...

This books grabs you from page one , the childhood friends , Frances Catherine & Judith Elizabeth gives you a glimpse of how their friendship began ...

Than comes our main attraction , the laird of the clain : Iian ... devastatingly handsome , loves to order & has a habit of getting his things the way he wants ... well thats about to change ...

Judith Eliz...more
Susan (susayq ~)
4.5 stars! This is exactly what I needed...a romance that was sweet with enough funny parts that I went to bed with a smile on my face :)

I don't think I've ever read a funnier wedding scene than in this! If you read it for nothing other than laughing through that, do it!

I loved that Judith was willing to look like a fool to make her point with not only her husband, Laird Iain, but the elders of the clan as well. But Judith didn't just play the fool in here; she also stepped up and did what was...more
Sabrina Van Goethem
This first book in the "Highlands Lairds" trilogy is a truly delightful historical romance book. Julie Garwood is actually the author who first introduced me to the historical romance genre, and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her books, her heroines and heroes.
In this book, Judith, an English "lass", travels to Scotland to assist her friend since childhood with her pregnancy and childbirth. Iain is the laird of the clan and he's the one who picks her up. There is tension between...more
Judith and Frances Catherine were too young to realize they should be enemies when they met during an annual festival and instantly became friends. Despite the animosity between the Scots and English both girls remained friends through the years and looked forward to the three weeks they would spend together every year. Frances eventually married a Scot and moved to his land ending the girls’ yearly tradition but Judith made a promise that when the time came to the birthing of Frances’ first bor...more
This book was a treat! I loved many aspects of it - one of my favorite themes is one of friendship. The heroine, Judith, is English and her BFF is Scottish, Frances Catherine. They meet at border festivals during early childhood and remain friends despite hatred among their respective countries. They tell each other funny things that only kids would think of - like you get pregnant from drinking from a man's goblet of wine that he spat in. LOL. Judith has had a pretty bad upbringing - her mother...more
It feels so good to be back in the Highlands. I don't know what it is.....the stark beauty, the remote locations, the castles and keeps, the lairds and their warriors. All of the above, I believe. This time, the year is 1200 and I'm on Maitland land, with the MacLeans and the Dunbars close by, always ready to ignite a feud with the lifting of a sword. But what has me very excited is the devastatingly striking Laird of the Maitland clan, Iain, a rugged warrior whose muscular body and piercing gra...more

I read this a couple weeks ago so things have slipped out of my mind, but I will try my best. I will start by saying this, The Secret captured my attention from the beginning. At first, I was only going to peek but the temptation was too strong... and I might have accidentally finished it without my BR buddies. Sowy. :(

Our hero Iain is a big, hunky monkey. Enough said. Okay no I'm not done with him just yet. I liked that he was understanding with Judith and that he treated her with fairness. But


I need to say first how just lovely was the prologue, showing how the friendship between Judith and Frances Catherine begun. Just so endearing and just heartwarming,really.

Judith and Frances Catherine become friends before knowing that they should be enemies. But at the age they understood the differences between them (Judith is English while Frances is Scottish) it didn't matter anymore, they were the best friend that they could have.

Now several years later, Frances is almost giving birth, so s...more
Mar 07, 2013 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Outlander fans, historical romance fans
Recommended to Erica by: Dana Browne
Ahhh...I LOVED this book. When I set out on my quest to find other Highlander romances after devouring the Outlander series, I knew I would never find anyone as romantic as Jamie Fraser and didn't expect to. Iain Maitland comes DAMN CLOSE. This is a story of adventure, of love, and of a girl who doesn't quite fit in England finding her place in Scotland amongst the Highlander clans. Of course, what's the big secret? (view spoiler)...more
I loved this book and it is now part of my favorites and best written by Ms. Garwood imho. The story grabbed me from the start with the background of a friendship which springs between 2 little girls and never dies down through the years to come.

Both h/h were great and I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished. The chemistry the dialogue, everything was very good.

One thing that I have never read in a historical before and really enjoyed in this book is having the main heroine help seve...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved this! I think Dina's review says it all. The "proposal" full of words of love cracked me up: "Judith, I'm keeping you." LOL.
Lover of Romance
The Secret takes us back into time to the Scottish Highlands, medieval time period. Where we have Judith Hampton who is English, but never knew her father, except for his ring, and her mother not caring one whit about her welfare. Having gone from different relatives homes, and now a grown up woman, has studies childbirth for her closest and best friend Frances Catherine, who is married to the brother of Laird Maclean. So when the Iain's goes to retrieve Judith on behalf of his brother and his w...more
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  • Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3)
  • Born in Sin (Brotherhood/MacAllister, #3)
  • Laird of the Mist (MacGregors, #1)
  • The Blood of Roses (Highlands, #2)
  • The Hawk (Highland Guard, #2)
  • The Warlord (Montagues, #1)
  • Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2)
  • Highland Velvet
  • The Warrior (Return of the Highlanders, #3)
  • Tender Rebel (Malory-Anderson Family, #2)
  • To Wed A Highlander (McTiernay Brothers, #2)
  • Dreaming of You (Gamblers, #2)
Julie Murphy was born in 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri to a large Irish family. At the age of six, Julie had her tonsils removed and complications from the surgery resulted in a long period of recuperation. She fell hopelessly behind in school and never caught up. "I was a slow, slow reader," Julie says. "I hated it." At the age of 11, her mother discovered her daughter's secret and promptly enrol...more
More about Julie Garwood...
The Bride (Lairds' Fiancées, #1) Honor's Splendour Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2) The Prize The Wedding (Lairds' Fiancées, #2)

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“He shrugged. "I was...thinking."
"About what?"
"The fires of purgatory."
She had to sit down. He wasn't making any sense now. "What does that mean?" she asked.
"Patrick told me he would walk through the fires of purgatory if he had to in order to please his wife."
She went over to the bed and sat down on the side. "And?" she prodded when he didn't continue.
He stripped out of his clothing and walked over to her. He pulled her to her feet and stared down to her.
"And I have only just realized I would do the same for you.”
“I'll stay away from you and you'll stay away from me. I'm already over this insignificant, puny, inconsequential attraction. I don't even remember kissing you."
They had reached the cluster of trees in front of the courtyard leading to Frances Catherine's cottage when she told him that outrageous lie.
"The hell you have forgotten," he muttered. He grabbed hold of her shoulders and forced her to turn around. Then he took hold of her chin and pushed her face up.
"What do you think you're doing?" she demanded.
"Reminding you.”
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