Recently I read and reviewed Jillian Hunter’s A Bride Unveiled. It reminded me of my obsession with Julie Garwood’s historical romances. Julie stopped writing them years ago, concentrating on contemporary romances instead. However, I consider her historical novels to be the best in the genre. Featuring smart women, amazing friendships, and steamy romances, her books are undeniably good. So without further ado, I give you my top five historical romance novels written by Julie Garwood.
Ah, my first novel by Garwood. Technically this book features characters from one of her other novels, but they do not have to be read in sequence. I loved Gillian’s spunk and daring, as well as her friendship with Bridgid. Gillian’s romance with Brodick was wonderful, although I wished it had been introduced earlier in the story. Read the synopsis below:
In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers — only to be lost for more than a decade.
Now a beautiful young woman, Gillian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen, and with the friendship of a new ally, Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alford, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father’s reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warriors, Gillian and Bridgid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest…betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat…and the greatest risk of all is surrender — to the deep emotions of unexpected love.
I read the cover off this one. Johanna is such an incredible character. She is one of the more positive representations of stepmothers in literature. Her relationship with everyone in the novel, particularly Gabriel, is heart warming. The synopsis is below.
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!
Ian and Judith. Such an epic, fierce romance. I love the buildup of their romance. The secondary characters are just as rich as the two main characters, and the highland setting is a wonderful backdrop to it all. Check out the synopsis below.
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 book has more scope than her other novels. From the balls of the ton to the homesteads of the Wild West, Garwood does an amazing job capturing the strengths and differences of each landscape. I adored the relationships in this novel, particularly between Taylor, Lucas, and their adopted children. Read the synopsis below.
Only her beloved grandmother, Lady Esther, knew how devastated Taylor Stapleton had been when her fiance eloped with Taylor’s cousin. Now dear Esther — one of London’s richest and most formidable matriarchs — lies dying. But first she was going to help Taylor pull off the scam of the season.
To escape becoming a ward of her unscrupulous uncle, Taylor would wed Lucas Ross, a rugged American rancher. Lady Esther’s money would enable Ross to return home to Montana. Taylor had her own urgent reason to go to America…a precious legacy she hadn’t revealed to Ross, for they had agreed to part ways once they reached Boston. But as her handsome new husband spoke of life in Montana, Taylor began planning a new future. To Taylor, the wide-open spaces of Montana sounded like paradise…
One of my all time favorite books EVER. I usually pull this off the shelf when I’m going through a reading slump. Madelyn and Duncan’s relationship sizzles in all the right places. The secondary characters, plot, and setting along with their relationship combine to make a thrilling, intriguing tale of romance. Here’s the synopsis:
In the feuding English court, gentle Lady Madelyne suffered the cruel whims of her ruthless brother, Baron Louddon. Then, in vengeance for a bitter crime, Baron Duncan of Wexton—the Wolf—unleashed his warriors against Louddon. Exquisite Madelyne was the prize he catured…but when he gazed upon the proud beauty, he pledged to protect her with his life. In his rough-hewn castle, Duncan proved true to his honor. But when at last their noble passion conquered them both, she surrendered with all her soul. Now, for love, Madelyne would stand fast…as bravely as her Lord, the powerful Wolf who fought for…Honor’s Splendour.