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Ever since they met as children at the annual summer festival on the border of their two countries, Judith Hampton of England has been fast friends with Frances Catherine Kirkaldy of Scotland. Despite the enmity between the two lands in this period (the late 12th century), Judith is determined to attend the birth of Frances Catherine's first child and find her father, a Scottish laird she has never seen (when they finally meet, it is not in the fashion she had anticipated). En route to her friend's Highland home, Judith charms her escort, Frances Catherine's brother-in-law Iain Maitland. So she is baffled when Iain withdraws into his role of clan laird. Equally confusing is Frances Catherine's claim that after years with the Maitlands, she is still an outsider. But Judith determinedly forges friendships and reexerts her charms over Iain, leading to a lively, unconventional wedding. Woven into Judith's story is an intriguing, almost heretical message for a romance novel: a woman needs more than the right man to have a full, happy life. That Garwood ( Guardian Angel ) can argue this point and still deliver a delightful tale is an accomplishment.