I decided to repost this after hearing about the death of our beloved author. While I never had the privilege of meeting Julie Garwood, her writing helped shape the person I am now, and I will forever be grateful to her for all the lessons she taught me.
Rest in Peace
Julia Elizabeth Garwood
DECEMBER 26, 1944 – JUNE 8, 2023
Julia Elizabeth Garwood
DECEMBER 26, 1944 – JUNE 8, 2023
originally published on July 5, 2017
With the release of Wired, Julie Garwood’s latest FBI/Buchanan novel, Rowena, Casee and I took the time to reflect on our first Garwood, our love for her and how her novels shaped our reading..and our lives, as silly as it may sound. We learned a lot about ourselves, the world and our reading preferences from those early Garwood novels.
What We Learned from Julie Garwood
Casee: The first book I read by JG was Honor’s Splendour. The first thing I really noticed was the selflessness of Madelyne. All she ever wanted was to escape her brother. Yet when she had the chance, she stayed to help his enemy. The second thing that really stuck with me was the humor. JG has a way of writing humor that remains with you long after you have finished one of her books. Honor’s Splendour is still one of my favorite books to this day.
Holly: My first Julie Garwood book was Killjoy, a contemporary romantic suspense novel. It was also my first foray into romance (outside of a few brief illicit Harlequin’s from my t(w)een years). I don’t remember a lot of the finer details now, but the happy ending was enough to convince me to pick up more books by her. My second read was The Gift. While it will never be my favorite, the historical setting and spunky heroine had me clamoring for more. It wasn’t long before I’d glommed her entire backlist. I fell into each new tale, fully immersed in the lives of these fictional historical characters.
Although these books aren’t perfect, I learned a lot from reading them. The heroines were all strong enough to know their own minds; to endure trials and tribulations without faltering. They were honest and kind, and often had to work around men (and women) who wanted to suppress them. But in the end they came out on top. The heroes were all strong, manly alpha-types who didn’t need nothing and no one..until a tiny slip of a woman strolled into their lives and flipped everything upside down.
I remember reading Honor’s Splendour and just melting when Duncan realized he loved Madelyne, long before she realized she loved him in return. Judith and Frances-Catherine, from The Secret, taught me that best friends really are forever, and can endure anything. Even backgrounds as far apart as English and Highland Scots.
When Nicholaa defeated Royce in The Prize with nothing more than a sling and a rock, I cheered. And when he realized he hated the woman he’d forced her to become by trying to mold her into what he thought a woman should be, I realized it was better to be yourself than change to fit someone else’s mold.
Even now, more years than I care to admit later, I can pick up a Garwood novel and be transported.
Rowena: For me, Julie Garwood will always be the author that taught me what true friendship looks like. From Judith Elizabeth and Frances Catherine to Ramsey and Brodick and Connor, Quinlan and Crispin, there are plenty of friendships that look a lot like family. Friendships that are solid and true. Sure, they don’t always get along and they fight sometimes but at the end of the day, they have your back and you have theirs.
I’m fortunate to have found friendships just like those with a little help from Julie Garwood herself. I met Holly and Casee on the JGBB and we came together through our shared love of Garwood’s books. We’re not perfect by any means but I still love them and know that they love me. Like Judith and Frances Catherine, there isn’t a thing that I wouldn’t do for them.
It doesn’t matter how many times I read these books, the thing that always sticks out to me are the friendships. I adored how Judith traveled to freaking Scotland to be there for her best friend and how there wasn’t a thing that Quinlan and Crispin wouldn’t do for Connor. The knowledge that no matter where they were or what was waiting for them at the end of the tunnel, they would walk through fire for each other and I loved that. The loyalty, the camaraderie, the friendships…those are my favorite things and Julie Garwood captures them so effortlessly. It’s why she’s one of my favorite authors.
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 in 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 be 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 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 afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”
Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.