Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Saving Grace is one of the first Garwood books I read. I was sucked in from the first page. Johanna’s struggle to find strength in herself, and freedom in a marriage to a wild highlander captivated me.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!
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There’s a lot to love in this book. Humor, depth, romance, action and adventure. Saving Grace has it all.
Johanna was in an abusive marriage before her brother convinced her to marry Gabriel McBain. As a widow, the king would have been able to force her to marry whom he wanted and her brother was trying to save her from another terrible marriage. Gabriel was large and gruff, and Johanna started out very frightened of him. Even so, she had a deep well of inner-strength, and right from the beginning, she challenged him.
“I will try to love you, M’lord, and I’ll certainly honor you because you’ll be my husband, but I don’t believe I’ll obey you much. I’ve found that total submissiveness doesn’t agree with me.”
“Will you try to obey?” He sounded exasperated. She was so astonished by his attitude she smiled. She wasn’t such a weakling, after all, she thought to herself. She had just stood up to the laird and forced him to negotiate. She wasn’t certain she’d won much, but she definitely hadn’t lost anything. “Yes, I will try,” she promised. “Upon occasion,” she hastily added.
Gabriel’s reaction to her isn’t what she expects. From the beginning, he worries for her health and well-being, though she doesn’t realize it at first.
She was trying to be submissive, Gabriel decided. He thought it was probably killing her.
Johanna constantly tries to impart wisdom to her husband’s followers, but they never understand what she means. Every single time it happened, I laughed out loud.
“I was just thinking about your laird,” she answered. “He’s a complicated man.”
“Aye, he is,” Keith agreed.
“I would like to understand how his mind works.”
She lifted her shoulders in a shrug. “Direct questions don’t work,” she remarked. “Still, there’s more than one way into a castle.”
Keith misunderstood. “Aye, there are two entrances, three if you count the pathway through the cellar.”
“I wasn’t referring to this holding,” she explained. “I meant that there is always more than one way to get what you want. Do you see?”
“But there are still just two entrances to the keep, M’lady,” Keith stubbornly insisted.
She let out a sigh. “Never mind, Keith.”
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Have you read this book? Do you love it as much as we do? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!
About the Author
It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”
Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated into dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.
Whether the setting is medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as the poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterward to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”
Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.