Julie Garwood's books are so beloved by many readers, and your recommendation list was a big one! Some readers called her books “comfort reads” and others said that Garwood was their first introduction to the historical romance genre. And MANY readers said the discussion in that thread made people want to read Garwood right now – many a library request was made that day, I hear!
Here's the list of recommended titles from your recommendations.
Julie L, and many others, named this as their favorite Garwood (it's one of my faves, too). This is one book readers turn to for comfort rereading or for re-experiencing that familiar glee at the funny moments of the story.
Overquoted wrote, “Start with The Wedding. 'Now? You want to marry me now?' The heroine spends most of the book astonished at the speed of things, and probably at her own inability to delay them. And everyone around her is constantly interfering, making sure she doesn't wander off, making sure she doesn't annoy her new husband (who finds her amusing rather than annoying), etc. It's cute, funny and a very strong representation of much of Garwood's backlist. The last time I read it, my roommate had to ask me why I was snorting so much.”
Lily wrote that The Wedding “was my first romance novel. Though my mom was a voracious reader, I can't begin to imagine her picking up a romance. They weren't part of my book world and I believed the negative stereotypes about them. I'm not sure how I ended up with a copy of The Wedding, but I am so grateful that I did and never looked back. After reading hundreds upon hundreds of romances since, this one holds a special place in my heart for showing me that there is nothing wrong with loving book with a happy ending.”
Shell Bell, recommended the book (but not the movie) and Megan Buckley says she loves this book, too: “My online identity has in some way always been rosehill or Rose Hill, so I've got a soft spot in my heart for it.” This book starts with a memorable scene: four young boys living on the streets find a baby girl after she and the basket she's in are tossed from a passing carriage. They decide to raise the girl together – the story of it is one of my favorites, too.
Several readers recommended these books, especially Ransom. While Ransom worked as a standalone for some readers, Mary Beth suggested you read them in order, starting with The Secret. Jess Haines gives The Secret to anyone who hasn't tried Garwood's historicals. Readers who love The Secret reference the female friendship between two characters – Jennifer P wrote, “I'm not sure what I liked more about this book; the romance or the no-holds-barred friendship between Judith and Frances Catherine.” Personally, I have never read Ransom (GASP I know) but a long time ago, a friend was cleaning out her bookshelves to move across the country, and gave me her hardback copy. She told me that she never bought hardbacks, ever, except for this one book, because she loved it so much after reading the library's copy, she needed the most permanent version possible. It was such a beautiful hardcover, I was afraid to read it and spill something on it. So I kept it in case she ever wanted it back.
Red Headed Girl reviewed it in August 2011, and gave it an A-.JNiffer agrees, saying that this is one book she can read over and over again.
Michelle R. gives a lovely plot summary: “They had an arranged marriage when she was 4 and he was 14, and haven't seen each other in years. He keeps calling her “bride,” and she tells him to stop. He tells her he can't call her “wife” since the marriage has yet to be consummated. She allows that he can call her bride. She punishes him in a rather unique way for being unsympathetic to her cramps. There's lots more, but I don't want to spoil.”
Megan Buckley wrote, “I second The Gift! Whole freaking heartedly! It was the first romance I read that featured a heroine with brown hair and brown eyes. No raven locks or fiery tresses or jade eyes. Just brown and brown. She wasn't a great beauty. Just sweet and loving. AND IT'S A SHIPBOARD ROMANCE. It is the undisputed source of my love for all things set aboard ships. I recently re-read it and my 14 year old self didn't let me down. It was still as wonderful to me as always.”
Both books were also mentioned several times – Cynara wrote of The Prize that it is “such a romantic story and one that still makes me smile and sigh every time I read it. ” Tae added that she loves The Prize because she “liked that the hero wasn't so “hot” and he had his own hangups about his looks due the scar on his face.”
So, which do you think you'll try first?