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The Secret

The Secret

4.5 442
by Julie Garwood, Linda Marrow (Editor)

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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


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!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ever since they met as children at the annual summer festival on the border of their two countries, Judith Hampton of England has been fast friends with Frances Catherine Kirkaldy of Scotland. Despite the enmity between the two lands in this period (the late 12th century), Judith is determined to attend the birth of Frances Catherine'sstet both names first child and find her father, a Scottish laird she has never seen (when they finally meet, it is not in the fashion she had anticipated). En route to her friend's Highland home, Judith charms her escort, Frances Catherine's brother-in-law Iain Maitland. So she is baffled when Iain withdraws into his role of clan laird. Equally confusing is Frances Catherine's claim that after years with the Maitlands, she is still an outsider. But Judith determinedly forges friendships and reexerts her charms over Iain, leading to a lively, unconventional wedding. Woven into Judith's story is an intriguing, almost heretical message for a romance novel: a woman needs more than the right man to have a full, happy life. That Garwood (Guardian Angel) can argue this point and still deliver a delightful tale is an accomplishment.
School Library Journal
Vivacious Judith, a Brit, visits her friend in the untamed Scottish highlands of 1200. Little does she suspect that she will fall in love, marry, bring women's lib to her new village, and find her previously unknown father. The simple plot offers a pleasant blend of historical fiction and uncomplicated mystery. With well-developed, amusing characters, this entertaining novel pulls readers back in time to an unusual era, and is difficult to put down.

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Pocket Books
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6.76(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

Iain Maitland was a mean son of a bitch when he was riled.

He was riled now. The black mood came over him the minute his brother Patrick told him about the promise he'd given his sweet wife, Frances Catherine.

If Patrick had wanted to surprise his brother, he'd certainly accomplished that goal. His explanation had rendered Iain speechless.

The condition didn't last long. Anger quickly took over. In truth, the ridiculous promise his brother had given his wife wasn't nearly as infuriating to Iain as the fact that Patrick had called the council together to render their official opinion on the matter. Iain would have stopped his brother from involving the elders in what he considered to be a private, family matter, but he'd been away from the holding at the time, hunting down the Maclean bastards who'd waylaid three unseasoned Maitland warriors, and when he'd returned home, weary but victorious, the deed had already been done.

Leave it to Patrick to take a simple issue and complicate the hell out of it. It was apparent he hadn't consider any of the ramifications of his rash behavior. Iain, as the newly appointed laird over the clan, would now be expected to put his duties to his immediate family aside, his loyalty, too, and act solely as the council's advisor.

He wasn't about to meet those expectations, of course. He would stand beside his brother no matter how much opposition came from the elders. He wouldn't allow Patrick to be punished, either. And if need be, he was fully prepared to fight.

Iain didn't share his decision with his brother for the simple reason that he wanted Patrick to suffer the uncertainty awhile longer. If the ordeal proved painful enough, perhaps Patrick would finally learn to use a little restraint.

The council of five had already gathered in the great hall to hear Patrick's petition when Iain finished his duties and made his way up the hill. Patrick was waiting in the center of the courtyard. He looked ready to go into battle. His legs were braced apart, his hands were in fists at his sides, and the scowl on his face was as fierce as the thunderstorm brewing overhead.

Iain wasn't at all impressed with his brother's bluster. He shoved Patrick out of his path when he tried to block his way, and continued on toward the steps to the keep.

"Iain," Patrick called out. "I ask you now, for I would know your position before we go inside. Do you stand beside me on this issue or against me?"

Iain stopped, then slowly turned around to look at his brother. The expression on his face showed his anger. His voice was deceptively mild, however, when he spoke. "And I would know, Patrick, if you deliberately try to provoke me by asking such a question?"

Patrick immediately relaxed his stance. "I meant no insult, but you're new as laird and still to be tested in such a personal way by our council. I hadn't realized until just now the awkward position I've put you in."

"Are you having second thoughts?"

"No," Patrick answered with a grin. He walked over to his brother. "I know you didn't want me to involve the council, especially now when you're battling to get them interested in forming an alliance with the Dunbars against the Macleans, but Frances Catherine was determined to gain their blessing. She wants her friend to be welcomed here."

Iain didn't remark on that explanation.

Patrick pressed on. "I also realize you don't understand my reasons for giving my wife such a promise, but someday, when you've met the right woman, all of this will make perfectly good sense to you."

Iain shook his head in exasperation. "Honest to God, Patrick, I'll never understand. There isn't any such thing as the right woman. One's just as good as another."

Patrick laughed. "I used to believe that, too, until I met Frances Catherine."

"You're talking like a woman," Iain said.

Patrick wasn't insulted by his brother's comment. He knew Iain couldn't understand the love he felt for his wife, but God willing, one day he would find someone to give his heart to. When that day arrived, he was going to thoroughly enjoy reminding Iain of this callous attitude.

"Duncan indicated they might want to question my wife," Patrick said then, turning the topic back to his main concern. "Do you think the elder was jesting with me?"

Iain didn't turn around when he gave his answer. "None of the council members ever jest, Patrick. You know that as well as I."

"Damn it, I'm responsible for this."

"Aye, you are."

Patrick ignored his brother's quick agreement. "I won't let the council intimidate Frances Catherine."

Iain let out a sigh. "I won't, either," he promised.

Patrick was so startled by that agreement, he lost his frown. "They think they'll be able to get me to change my mind," he said. "You'd better understand that nothing any of them do will make a difference. I've given Frances Catherine my word, and I mean to keep it. God's truth, Iain, I'd walk through the fires of Hell for my wife."

Iain turned and smiled at his brother. "A simple walk into the great hall will suffice for now," he drawled out. "Let's get it done."

Patrick nodded, then hurried ahead of his brother to open one of the double doors.

"A word of advice, Patrick," Iain said. "Leave your anger outside these doors. If they see how rattled you are, they'll go for your throat. Simply state your reasons in a calm voice. Let logic guide your thoughts, not emotion."

"And then?"

"I'll do the rest."

The door closed on that promise.

Copyright © 1992 by Julie Garwood

Meet the Author

Julie Garwood is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Fire and Ice, Shadow Music, Shadow Dance, Murder List, Killjoy, Mercy, Heartbreaker, Ransom, and Come the Spring. There are more than thirty-six million copies of her books in print.

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The Secret 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 442 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The tale of Ian and Judith is such a sweet, heart-warming story. I loved the way Judith's innocence and honesty touched and won Ian's heart so quickly and completely. When Ian goes to fetch Judith from her home to bring to her dearest friend, and before they even reach his home, Ian's completely head over heals in love with her but can't or won't admit that a man such as he could ever have such feelings for a woman. Ian's struggle to come to terms with his feelings is such a delight to read! Julie Garwood's descriptions of the act of love and neither vulgar or crude, but leave you breathless!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book is definitely a keeper! I have reread this more than 5 times and still get the same reaction. It is excitingly a page turner. This book brings about all sorts of emotions, from the beginning to the end, no boring scenes whatsoever! The friendship of Frances Catherine & Judith is impressively well designed. The adjustment of Judith to the Highland ways & how the people reacted to her was surely a roller coster, mixed emotions-which I find utterly heart quenching. Of course, not to forget the hero/heroine... The love story of Iain & Judith completely warms my heart, they are both different yet perfect for each other. Even the secondary characters, all uniquely described and well written. The friendships, trust & loyalty, the love and acceptance...all made this book a perfect 10. 5 stars rating is simply an understatement. J.G. have outdone herself this time! Sequel: RANSOM - Another perfect story. A must read after SECRET. Note: I would like to enumerate some scenes that makes this book a perfect 10 for me but it's not fair to mention only one or even two, as I find all situations/scenes, even the smallest of all.... interesting, hilarious, exciting, tear jerker & endearing in its own magical ways. This book is worth your time! READ IT.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much! I have read most of Julie Garwood's books and this is now one of my favourites written by her! Great characters. Excellent Story!
LCH47 More than 1 year ago
THIS IS A MUST HAVE! A Fun,Enchanting and Absolutely Captivating Highland Romance and Mystery. This romance has more than just the man-woman relationship theme, it also contains the story of two women friends looking out for each other. Too many romances portray women as enemies competing for the same man rather than being allies. This story was wonderful in all aspects. I loved how Judith and Iain rebelled against each other, but soon discovered who they could never live without. Judith and Iain will wrap themselves around your heart, with her spirit and intelligence and his sensitivity and intelligence. They have wonderful, fun personalities, sense of humor, lovability and so real. SECRET is one of the funniest books I've read by Julie Garwood. I laughed especially at the way Judith reacted each time she had to act as midwife throughout the entire book! This one touched me in every way and I fell in love with all the characters and the witty dialogue. Others I loved, book club or not, were EXPLOSION IN PARIS, PERFECT and WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julie Garwood's heroines are a spunky lot. They're independent thinkers, passionate (of course), humorous, etc., etc., etc. But Judith Hampton shows how loyal she can be by keeping a promise that she made to her friend when they were little girls. It was fun watching the new relations between Judith and the clansmen, as well as the obvious one between her and Iain. I have been enjoying Julie Garwood's work for years and will avidly read each new book that comes out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Out of all Garwood titles centered in the highlands of Scotland, the entire ensamble of The Secret have such explicit details and feelings created, so as to actually bring these friends into your own circle. They are funny, endearing and realistic. Outstanding is actually too mild a term for Julie. She continues to out-do her previous efforts, be they childrens books, FBI/contemporary thrillers or my fav, historical romance. Many thanks Ms. Garwood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read 3-4books a week, and this is one of the best. When I read reviews and people say, I laughed outloud, I say to myself - oh yea! But I really did laugh, get tears at times, couldn't read fast enough, because of the suspense - a real page turner! This is my first book by this author, I knew before chapter 1 was finished, I needed to ordered the follow-up book - Ransom. 10 STARS for sure, if I could! ljb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Couldn't put it down and have reread.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the most amazing romance novel I have ever read. I read the whole thing in one day because I could not put it down. The story of midevel Scotland and the wonderful tale of love was well written and attention grabbing. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is just an incredible book. Julie Garwood is my all time favorite author. I have read this book about 20 times already. Each time I read it I discover something new and I can't put the book down. She creates strong relationships and amazing plot schemes. I'm always surprised at the twists she adds to the plot. My favorite part though, is the battle of minds. The men that think woman are to be seen and not heard, and protected from EVERYTHING. Then the women turn around and show the men how intelligent, loyal and strong women are. If you love romance and intense dialogue... this is the book for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From Very young girls they became friends against all odds. From oppisit sides of countries consently at war, England and Scottland. Wouldn't we all like to have friendships that surpass time and distance with such trust between as these two young ladies. A big handsome laird and his followers come to England - against their own wishes - for the sake of one of their own. For a female no less - because of a promise made to her by her husband - due to fears she can not be free of. Thinking it a wasted trip the higlanders make the journey only to find the loyal friend ready to go. She is much more than they expected, though she is English. You will love this story and will be sorry to read the last page. Never fear though - read Ransom and see Judith and her laird again. These two stories are my absolute favoriets. Julie Garwood is an awsome writter!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been reading JG for at least 2 yrs now and I just love TS an had to let everyone know! It's a touching story of love and family and of course SECRETS!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Secret is the best romance novel I have ever read! From the first page, my interest was piqued and I had to keep turning the pages. The heroine could not have been made any better. The book combines the emotions of sadness and mounting passion. Julie Garwood has written a book that will not go out of print (hopefully). If you liked The Secret, I encourage you to read the second novel, Ransom, which continues with the lives of two characters introduced in The Secret.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great! Although I read this after I read RANSOM, I still didn't know what was going to happen. I hope she writes another one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never read any Garwood novels before, and was lured by the 50% off offer on Ransom. I saw that it was a sequel, so I purchased The Secret, so that I could read them in order! Wow! I generally don't read books twice, and I've already read The Secret twice. In fact, it's been years since I have done so. I read them both, and I have to say that I, personally, liked The Secret better than Ransom. Ransom was good too, but there is something about a strong powerful man who knows what he wants when he sees it, and then allows his chosen woman to spread her wings and find her place in the world! This man is a lot like my husband! I'm purchasing more Garwood novels, and I hope there are more like this one! I'm counting on it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I could not put it down and finished it in 2 days. Iain and Judith's love is portrayed excellently, and you really get to know the characters through Garwood's writing. I highly recomend this book. The humor in this book, as well as in other Garwood books is vastly enjoyable.If you do read this book I also hope you read it's sequel, Ransom, which is also thoroughly enjoyable.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This book is almost exactly like Ransom. Another in the series. Both books start with an English woman traveling with the giant Scots. Both books have the women fall in love in a day, being tricked into marrying and being outsiders. The love scenes were boring and barely there. And the whole time the men in the stories love the English woman but wait til the end to say so. I won't read either one again. Kinda bummed I bought both.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.
Anonymous 7 months ago
This book spoke to me. Beautiful, funny, sweet.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I have read all these highlander ones from her so many times.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Loved this book....5th time reading. I bought the book in paperback when it first came out and ive bought it again on my nook. Hope Julie Garwood starts writing historicals again!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books... I have read this multiple times and I never get tired of re-reading over the years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago