Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 1, 1994
Genres: Historical Romance
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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!
Saving Grace is one of my top 5 favorite Julie Garwood books. I absolutely adore everything about it from the setting to the characters. I’d say it’s my favorite of all her novels, but I think that changes depending on which one I’m currently reading.
This book is just as much Johanna’s personal journey as it is a love story. The overall message – that women are just as important as men – could have become preachy, but it didn’t. Johanna dealt with a lot during her first marriage and I like that Garwood addressed her issues. She was a strong character who really came into her own throughout this book. My heart ached for her and all she endured.
Gabriel I loved right from the beginning. His honor and strength were immediately evident, but it was his caring and compassion with Joanna that won me over. Though he’s a hard man, he shows much insight and tenderness throughout the story. I expected him to be overbearing and he was. But he tempered that with real caring. When my teenager read this book she kept saying “Ugh, I hate Gabriel!! He’s so pushy!” and then five minutes later, “I love Gabriel!! He’s so wonderful!”. I think that sums it up pretty well.
The story of Gabriel and Johanna is told along while immersing the reader in their lives. The strife the joining of two clans creates, Johanna’s determination to save her husband’s soul by keeping him from stealing, the intrigues of the King of England, etc, really pulls the reader in. I was fully wrapped up in the story from page one.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a balanced mix of personal growth, humor and tenderness. I really wish there was a sequel.
5 out of 5