Dina's Reviews > The Secret

The Secret by Julie Garwood
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Jul 02, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-romance, dik
Read in July, 2009

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 other... Well, everyone but Judith and Frances Catherine! Their friendship lasted through all the years, and now Frances Catherine was pregnant and wanted Judith by her side as promised years before, to help her with the birth of her child. Iain was the laird of the Maitland clan and Frances Catherine's brother-in-law, and the idea of having an Englishwoman as a guest in his lands didn't particularly sit well with him but he agreed to fulfill his sister-in-law's request - after all, he was an honorable man and he always put his family first, no matter what. So he set to England to fetch Judith and escort her to her friend's side, even though he expected her to dishonor her childhood promise and not go to Frances Catherine's. She was English, hence her word didn't mean anything, right? Well, Iain was more than surprised to find out his preconceived notions about Judith were wrong, not to mention a bit disturbed to see how she managed to enchant not only him but all of his men in no time. But she had a secret - yeah, the one the titles refers to - that could complicate a relationship between them, so she was determined to fight her attraction to him. Not that would make any difference, once Iain had his mind set on keeping her... ;)

Iain was just wonderful! Honorable, protective, caring and, oh yes, arrogant. He didn't ask, he demanded. His marriage proposal to Judith made me gasp, then laugh. It was so delicious and outrageous. "Judith, I'm keeping you." How could she argue with that? (LOL) And yet, he couldn't find a way to get her to understand the "chain of command" to be followed in his clan. But he was no fool when it came to Judith and didn't waste time trying to keep her at arm's lenght.

Judith was as great as Iain. Honorable, kind-hearted and smart. Stubborn too, because that was the only way she could meet Iain's arrogance. She wasn't afraid to stand her ground but she never acted like those stupid heroines who pick a fight with the hero just to show how "feisty" they are. She was above that. Seeing her argue her cases in her particular ilogical way of thinking was too funny. No wonder everyone always ended up agreeing with her.

Iain and Judith's love story was funny and sigh-worthy at the same time. I lost count of the times I laughed out loud - thankfully, there was no one else around or they would think I was crazy - or simply smiled in contentment. There were also a few angsty moments near the end of the book, but I never doubted that Iain would make everything right.

Now, I need to comment on the feeling of déjà vu that bugged me a little while I was reading it. In one particular sequence of events, I was reminded of A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught: when the little boy threw some stones at Judith, she protected him, settled the matter by herself and, in the process, gained the boy's mother's allegiance and respect. That had enough similarity with some events in McNaught's book to make me raise an eyebrow. Going further, Judith and the heroine in A Kingdom of Dreams also had some similar characteristics: both were somewhat mistreated by their own families, their fathers were their heroes' enemy and they only found their "place in the world" in their heroes' clans. Of course, there were several differences that kept the books apart, and The Secret was a very enjoyable read by its own merit. I already see myself rereading it over and over again in the future.
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Reading Progress

07/13 page 1
0.26% "My 1st book by Julie Garwood. I hope I chose the "right" one to start..."
07/14 page 66
17.41% "After the initial struggle when they met, Iain seems to be rather "friendly" with Judith and even winked at her. I don't get it..." 2 comments
07/14 page 221
58.31% ""Judith, I'm keeping you." Wow, what a marriage proposal! ;)" 4 comments
03/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-28)

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MelissaB This is my favorite Garwood book!

message 27: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Oh goodie! Now I'm sure I won't be disappointed. ;)

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I love this book! The wedding is fantastically hilarious. :)

message 25: by Rane (new)

Rane Great Review Dina! This sounds really cute!

Holly Yay!*Tosses confetti* I'm so glad you liked it!

message 23: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Rane! It is really cute but with some angsty moments to prevent it from being saccharine sweet.

LOL, Holly. I hope Ransom is as good as this one.

Corrine Ransom, IMO, is even better!

message 21: by MelissaB (last edited Jul 15, 2009 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MelissaB Ransom is really good too!

My other two top JG historicals are Honor's Splendor and Saving Grace.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) You always write such insightful reviews, Dina.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Melissab wrote: "Ransom is really good too!

My other two top JG historicals are Honor's Splendor and Saving Grace."

My favorites by JG are Saving Grace, this one, For the Roses, Prince Charming, The Prize, and Gentle Warrior.

message 18: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks for the thumbs-up on Ransom, Corrine and Melissa! I already asked the bookstore to reserve a copy for me and I'm going to pick it up today. I know I shouldn't but I can't help it. ;)

message 17: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Gatadelafuente (Danielle) wrote: "You always write such insightful reviews, Dina."

Thanks, Danielle! :)

message 16: by Auntee (new)

Auntee Great review Dina! I've had that general feeling of deja vu a time or two myself when I'm reading romances...but what you describe sounds really specific.

message 15: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Thanks, Auntee! As for the déjà vu feeling, the description and dialogues in both books were different but the overall scenario was similar enough to make me go, "Hmm, that rings a bell." Anyway, I don't mean to imply any plagiarism here, it's more like a matter of both authors using the same plot device.

message 14: by Auntee (new)

Auntee I guess there's only so many plots to go around (lol)!
Sort of like music in a way.:)

message 13: by MelissaB (last edited Jul 15, 2009 08:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MelissaB Dina - My favorite Julie Garwood books are my comfort reads. I know when I pick them up that I will read a sweet story without angst and a hero who is protective and honorable. The ones I reread over and over are The Secret, Ransom, Saving Grace and Honor's Splendor - they all leave me with a smile on my face and feeling happy.

Corrine Melissab wrote: "Ransom is really good too!

My other two top JG historicals are Honor's Splendor and Saving Grace."

Those are mine, too.

message 11: by abi (new) - rated it 5 stars

abi rafon i havent finished the book yet but i decided to sneak just a little review for it, then your first paragraph caught my attention.. i cant argue anymore, i completely agree with you. im on chapter 3 but really cant help but to love this book already. :)

message 10: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina I'm glad you're enjoying it, abi. I love this book!

Lynsey I love your review Dina! I get some very strange looks when I'm on the train and laughing at whatever I'm reading too.

This was my first JG and I loved it. I then went and bought a load more and she is always reliable for swoonworthy men in my opinion. Brodick from Ransom is definitely my number 1, although I have to say they are all pretty up there!

Dina Thanks, Lynsey! This was my first JG too. :)

KatLynne Thank you for a great review Dina. Julia Garwood is one of my favorite authors! I loved this one so much and your great review just makes me want to stop working on my TBR pile and re-read this one!

Amanda Dina,
Great Review!
I've finished this books a week ago, it just
My very first book of JG but i didn't expect
i loved it so much.

Dina Thanks, KatLynne & Amanda! JG writes has written the best medieval romances, IMHO. I wish she was still interested in writing them, but she's moved on and her muse has other genres in mind nowadasy. Me sad!

Romance and Fantasy for Cosmopolitan Girls I've just finished "the wedding" and I confess I'm a little disappointed. thanks to your review I'll give this book a chance :-)

Dina I luuurv JG's historical romances, and I'm glad to know you're going to give her another try. If you don't like this book, I will be disappointed... J/K, no pressure! :)

message 2: by Ipung (new)

Ipung Purwanti I've just finished the bride, the wedding and shadow music...but thanks to your review I might move on to the secret a s a p...

Dina Oh, Ipung, I hope you'll enjoy it! This is one of my all-time favorite reads. :)

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