Saving Grace

Saving Grace

4.4 270
by Julie Garwood

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In this splendid New York Times bestseller, Julie Garwood brilliantly crafts the majestic story of a young Englishwoman determined to fight for her freedom...a woman whose life would be transformed by the rare, unexpected gift of love.

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she…  See more details below


In this splendid New York Times bestseller, Julie Garwood brilliantly crafts the majestic story of a young Englishwoman determined to fight for her freedom...a woman whose life would be transformed by the rare, unexpected gift of love.

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry -- and selected a bridegroom for her -- it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side -- and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in 13th-century England and Scotland, this rollicking adventure is among Garwood's ( The Bride ) most enjoyable. The news that her despicable husband is dead has left beautiful 16-year-old Lady Johanna both wealthy and available. Wicked King John wants to marry her to one of his henchmen, but her beloved foster brother convinces the powerful highland laird Gabriel MacBain to put aside his natural repugnance for all things English and wed the girl. Emotionally scarred by her first marriage, Johanna is intimidated both by her strange surroundings and by the outsized, gruff laird; but with the help of an eccentric old soldier and MacBain's illegitimate son, Johanna learns to hold her own with the soldiers, their wives and her new husband. Then an unwelcome surprise tests her newfound courage. Garwood endows the novel with a first-rate setting, a splendid supporting cast and witty dialogue that more than offsets the rote predictability of Johanna's great beauty and MacBain's forceful charisma. (Aug.)
Library Journal
When Lady Johanna is widowed at the age of 16, she is determined never to marry again and become the victim of abuse at the hands of a husband. King John of England, suspecting that Johanna knows a secret that could destroy him, has chosen another brutal baron for her next husband. Johanna's foster brother finds her a suitable hero in the form of Scottish laird Gabriel McBain, who weds Johanna in order to control the land she brings as a dowry. Johanna must not only adjust to life in the Highlands, but she must also win the respect of McBain and his recently unified clan. He is an arrogant hero who seems to be always arguing and shouting, habits that begin to wear on the reader if not the heroine. Johanna is a woman with a 20th-century sense of independence and self-worth that plays surprisingly well in the 13th-century setting. Romance fans will be demanding this first hardcover from the best-selling paperback author of The Gift (Pocket, 1991).-- Kimberly Martin, Washington Univ. Law Lib., St. Louis
Ray Olson
When word reaches her that her husband, Baron Raulf, is dead, plucky 16-year-old Lady Johanna first thanks God, then has to worry about England's King John (yep, Robin Hood's foe) marrying her off to whomever he pleases. But her foster brother wangles a better match for her, to a rough (but handsome, natch) Highland laird, Gabriel MacBain. This is the first hardcover romance for Garwood, best-selling author of mass-market paperbacks. Most of it is occupied with Lady J's winning Gabriel's heart's (and, needless to say, his loins') castle, and then, toward the end, it turns out Raulf ain't dead, after all. This is, perhaps, adequate romance fare, but someone should have told Garwood--at least for starters--that King John didn't have all that much sway in early-thirteenth-century Scotland, which was securely enough ruled by its own King William I; that the plaid (the garment), which she has several characters slinging around, didn't make its free-standing debut in the Scottish haberdashery until the seventeenth century; and that plaids (the woven designs more accurately called tartans) as clan designators weren't adopted until the eighteenth century. Garwood may call her setting Scotland, but it's really cloud-cuckoo-land.
From the Publisher
Rendezvous A wonderfully romantic and memorable story.

Library Journal Romance fans will be demanding Saving Grace.

USA Today Julie Garwood attracts readers like beautiful heroines attract dashing heroes....

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Penguin Publishing Group
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From Chapter Three

MacBain had grown weary of waiting for his bride to come to him. He started down the steps just as she nudged her mount forward. He still hadn't gotten a proper look at her, as she was completely covered by a black cape and hood. Her smallness, however, surprised him. He'd exp

Her appearance wasn't important to him. The marriage was a practical arrangement, nothing more. He assumed however, that because she was Nicholas's sister, she would have the same dark coloring and auburn-colored hair.

He was mistaken. Nicholas dismounted first. He tossed the reins to one of the soldiers and went over to Johanna's side to assist her to the ground.

She was a little bit of a thing. The top of her head only reached her brother's shoulders. Nicholas had his hands on her arms and was smiling down at her. It was obvious he cared a great deal about his sister. MacBain thought his brotherly devotion a little overdone.

While Johanna untied the cord holding her cloak together, the soldiers began to line up behind their leader.

The Maclaurin men clumped themselves together behind their laird and to the left of the wide steps while the MacBain warriors lined up behind their leader and on the right side. The six steps were filled with curious men in a matter of seconds. They all wanted to see the laird's bride.

MacBain heard the low grunts of obvious approval a scant second after Johanna removed her cloak and handed it to her brother. MacBain didn't think he made a sound, but he wasn't certain. The sight of her took his breath away.

Nicholas hadn't said a word about her appearance, and MacBain hadn't been interested enough to ask. He now looked at the baron and saw the laughter in his eyes. He knows I'm rattled, he thought to himself. MacBain masked his astonishment and turned his full attention back to the beautiful woman walking toward him.

Lord, she was a bonny lass. Her waist-length blond curls swayed with each step she took. The woman didn't seem to have any flaws. There was a light sprinkle of freckles across the bridge of her nose. He liked that. Her eyes were a vivid shade of blue, her complexion was pure, and her mouth, dear God, her mouth could drive a saint to lustful thoughts. He liked that, too.

Some of the Maclaurin soldiers weren't as disciplined in their reactions as the MacBain was. The two men standing directly behind their laird let out long, low whistles of appreciation. MacBain took exception to their rude behavior, however. He half-turned, lifted each man by his neck, and sent them both flying like cabers over the side of the steps. The other soldiers had to duck to get out of the way.

Johanna came to a quick stop, looked at the soldiers sprawled out on the ground, then looked back at their leader. The laird didn't even seem winded.

"A gentle man?" she whispered to Nicholas. "That was a lie, wasn't it?"

"Give him a chance, Johanna. You owe him and me that much."

She gave her brother a disgruntled look before turning back to the laird.

MacBain took a step forward. His wolfhound came with him and once again leaned against his master's side.

Johanna started praying for enough courage to keep walking. When she was just a foot or two away from the warrior, she stopped and then executed a perfect curtsy.

Her knees were shaking so hard that she was pleased she didn't fall over on her face.

She heard a loud snort and several grunts while her head was bowed. She didn't know if the noises were sounds of approval or censure.

The laird was wearing his plaid. He had extremely muscular legs. She tried not to stare at them.

"Good day, Laird MacBain."

Her voice trembled. She was afraid of him. MacBain wasn't surprised. The sight of him had sent more than one young woman running back to the safety of her father. He'd never considered trying to change their reactions because he hadn't particularly cared.

He was caring now, however. He would never get the woman to marry him if he didn't do something to ease her fear. She kept giving worried glances down at his dog. MacBain assumed the hound also frightened her.

Nicholas wasn't being much help. He just stood there grinning like a simpleton.

MacBain demanded his assistance by glaring at him. He decided he shouldn't have done that when Johanna took a quick step back.

"Does she speak Gaelic?"

MacBain addressed his question to Nicholas. Johanna answered. "I have been studying your language."

She didn't speak in Gaelic when she answered. Her hands were folded together in front of her. The knuckles were white from her hard grip.

Mundane conversation might put her at ease, MacBain decided. "And how long have you been studying our language?"

Her mind went blank. It was his fault, of course. His stare was so intense, unsettling, too, and she couldn't seem to form a thought. Dear God, she couldn't even remember what they were talking about.

He patiently asked her again. "Almost four weeks," she blurted out.

He didn't laugh. One of the soldiers snorted with amusement, but MacBain's glare stopped him.

Nicholas was frowning down at his sister, wondering why she hadn't told the laird the truth. It had been closer to four months since Father MacKechnie began instructing her. He caught the look of panic in his sister's eyes when she glanced up at him and he understood then. Johanna was simply too nervous to think straight.

MacBain decided he didn't want an audience during this important meeting.

"Nicholas, wait here. Your sister and I are going inside to talk."

After giving his command, MacBain moved forward to take hold of Johanna's arm. The hound came with him. She instinctively backed up, realized what she was doing and how that cowardly retreat must have looked to the laird, and quickly moved forward again.

The huge beast growled at her. MacBain snapped an order in Gaelic. The hound immediately quit the low, menacing sound.

Johanna was looking ready to faint again. Nicholas knew she needed a bit of time to get her courage back. He took a step forward. "Why didn't you allow my men and Father MacKechnie past Rush Creek?" he asked.

"Your sister and I must come to terms before the priest is allowed here. Your men won't ever be allowed on our land, Nicholas. Have you forgotten my terms? We went over the details when you were last here."

Nicholas agreed with a nod. He couldn't think of anything further to ask.

"Father MacKechnie was very upset over your command to wait below," Johanna said.

MacBain didn't appear to be overly concerned about alienating a man of God. He shrugged. Her eyes widened in reaction. During the three years of her marriage to Raulf, she'd learned to fear priests; the ones she had known were powerful and unforgiving men. Yet MacKechnie wasn't like the others. He was a kind-hearted man who had risked his life to come to England so that he could plead for the Maclaurins.

She wouldn't have him insulted now. "Father MacKechnie is weary from the long journey, m'lord, and would surely appreciate food and drink. Please show him your hospitality."

MacBain nodded. He turned to Calum. "See to it," he commanded.

He thought his agreement over her request would ease her fears about him. He had just proven he could be an accommodating man, after all. Yet she still appeared ready to bolt. Damn but she was a timid thing. His pet wasn't helping matters much. She kept worriedly glancing down at the dog, and every time she stared at him, the hound growled at her.

MacBain considered grabbing hold of her, tossing her over his shoulder, and carrying her inside, then changed his mind. The thought amused him, but he didn't smile. He held his patience, put his hand out to her, and simply waited to see what she would do.

From the look in his eyes, she knew he had guessed she was afraid of him and that he was finding her timidity amusing, too. She forced herself to take a deep breath, then put her hand in his.

Copyright © 1993 by Julie Garwood

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Rendezvous A wonderfully romantic and memorable story.

Library Journal Romance fans will be demanding Saving Grace.

USA Today Julie Garwood attracts readers like beautiful heroines attract dashing heroes....

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Saving Grace 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 270 reviews.
Lori6 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever found yourself reading a certain book over and over again. Not because you didn't understand it, but because it was just that good? That is how I feel about Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. This book has it all. When I first bought it, I read it straight through, never putting it down, except for the occasional potty break. After looking over the elegant cover, with its simplistic style and inviting colors, I opened the book and traveled back to 13th-century England and Scotland. A timid Lady Johanna is relieved to learn that her abusive husband is dead. I found myself wanting to congradulate her. Unfortunately, her freedom is short lived, when the wicked King John wants to marry her to another abusive lord. Her brother makes a decision to save his sister and convinces the powerful highland laird Gabriel MacBain to put aside his natural disgust for all things English and wed her. Of course, he needs to agree sight unseen, and is given an incentive. He gets land that once belong to Scotland. The laird agrees and is of the mind, that he will sacrifice for the good of his people. The only problem is that the beloved brother has to convince Johanna to marry Gabriel. Johanna's first impression of Gabriel, he is a barabarian. Gabriel's first impression of Johanna, OH YES!, She will be mine. LOL, you just know he was mentally on his hands and knees thanking God, that she wasn't a walking hairy zit. The dialog between Johanna and Gabriel was fun and exciting. Getting married proved to be a challenge in itself. Gabriel being the alpha male, is used to things being his way. Johanna, the suppressed female, is tired of being disrespected and mistreated. The bickering back and forth was well written and gave credablitly to the story. There are also moments, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I was like Awwwwwww. But under all the fun and fuzzy, there were some real serious and thought provoking issues. For so long, Johanna lived in fear. Fear from her first husband and fear from the church, who's confessor taught that women were last in God's love. Now she finds herself, afraid and uncertain as to the ways of life with the clan. Johanna has difficulty adjusting to life within a clan and being the new wife of the laird. The clan women make fun of Johanna behind her back, she has a hard time trusting her new husband, always expecting the shoe to drop or should I say the hand to start flying. She also has to learn to accept that not all men of the church are as sadistic as her previous confessor. But with the friendship of an old man obsessed with golf, a little boy, and a dog, Johanna begins to step out of her shell and grow strong. Her relationship with her new husband grows into love. Unfortunately, her new strength is tested when she rescues a battered woman and all the painful memories come flooding back. Not to mention, her brother returns to reveal news so shocking, that it could very well destroy all that she has come to love. What I appreciate about this story is the fact that there are real issues that could pertain to this day and age. There is physical and psychological abuse, political intrigue, corruption within the church, and so much more. When I say this book has it all, it does. The story is not only enjoyable, but believable and with a ending that leaves you both satisfied and wanting more. If you have never read a Garwood book, you are missing out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so wonderfully romantic. I cried and I laughed hysterically at some parts. I was definitely upset when the book was over, I wanted it to last longer. I would really love to see a movie made out of this book exactly. I recommend this book highly. You won't be able to put it down, I couldn't.
CACal72 More than 1 year ago
My all time favorite Julie Garwood novel.. I fell in love with Gabriel and loved Johanna.  Beautifully written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read several Julie Garwood books and this one is my favorite so far! I loved the charaters and the fast paced story line. This book had me laughing and crying - very well done. A must read!
Reid20 More than 1 year ago
This book was a delightful story. I was happy to see Johanna blossom into a stronger woman. Her husband was incredibly cute in a gruff sort of way. I always like those grumbling, rough men with soft hearts. That is Gabriel, her husband.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. A must read.
MelMc323 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book....
PeniA 4 months ago
Julie Garwood is at the top of my must read authors. I have read most of her stories multiple times. I have been reading her work for many years and she just gets better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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loverofromance More than 1 year ago
Plot and Story Line  I am in the process of re listening to all of Julie Garwood’s books, and I had such a fun time with Saving Grace. It has been way too long since I have had a chance to reconnect with this story, and I am still amazed in how much I truly loved this one. Saving Grace is an enriching romance that just had me listening as much as possible. The narrator is quite talented, and I loved her inflections. She handles the accents and various voices quite well. If you have yet to read Saving Grace or even listened to an audiobook from Julie Garwood…you are definitely missing out on something wonderful. Nothings brings me more joy than listening to one of her historical’s and we see such a charming and sweet romance. There are so many moments to love…I love how our heroine of the story fights for the clan in ways you don’t see coming. I love the scene where she teaches the men manners…and the throwing of dishes….spectacular. She is willful at times and a fighter, I love how this small timid woman stands up to these Scottish warriors. You gain respect for her pretty quickly. I also adored the little boy Alec….who is so in need of some good mothering. I love how he reacts to Johanna and they bond to each other pretty quickly. The story has a deep plot at times, with some intensity especially toward the end, that really grabs at you, and a twist I wasn’t expecting, but knowing Garwood I should have expected it. Saving Grace is a story of redeeming love, and carving a new life out of unexpected circumstances. The Cover  I really like all the covers for this story. But I really adored the audio version, I love how you see the difference in the colors of the plaid, adds dimension and you see how that connects to the story. Overall View  Saving Grace is a truly magnificent story that pulls at you, a tale of sacrifice, riveting emotion and a deep and abiding love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another excellent novel by garland. I never have read a bad one. Very enjoyable and funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Saving Grace is one of my favorite books. I was glad when it was finally released as a nook book. The humor and romance in this book bring me to read it time and time again. The characters are so real and when I read this book I feel like I am part of the story. Julie Garwood is an exceptional author. I love her her book  "The Secret" very much, too.  It is nice to find a book that is so tastefully written. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a book that is a love story filled with so much humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorites by Garwood. My paperback copy was falling apart from so many readings! Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many of Julie Garwood's books and this is by far my favorite. In fact it is my favorite book period. I loved all of the characters and found myself laughing out loud a couple times. I can't say enough about this book. I have read it at least a dozen times.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of her best books!
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TXmomma More than 1 year ago
Ok after being an avid reader for more than 30 years I can tell you this book is still one of my all time favorites. If I want a book to bring me to tears and laughter and warm fuzzy feelings, this is my go to book. I am so glad it is now available as an e book.
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