Berkley Author Julie Garwood Passes Away at 78


Julie Garwood, photo credit Charles Bush

Bestselling romance novelist Julia Elizabeth Garwood—best known as Julie Garwood—passed away on Thursday, June 8 in her home in Leawood, KS. She was 78.

Thirty-eight years ago, Garwood launched a writing career that made her one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved romance novelists of her generation. A #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Garwood wrote more than 30 novels and more than 40 million copies of her books are in print in 32 languages. Garwood began her career writing historical romance novels and since 2000 she enjoyed writing contemporary romantic suspense novels. Regardless of subgenre, Garwood’s novels focused on family relationships, whether family of blood or choice, love, and honor.

During her career Garwood received numerous awards including three RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America, three Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards. Over the years her novels have also been featured in countless “best of romance” lists.

A number of outlets have posted obituaries, memorials and tributes to Julie including The New York TimesWashington PostShelf AwarenessAll About RomanceSmart Bitches, and bestselling author Sarah MacLean.

Born Julia Elizabeth Murphy, the author grew up in Kansas City, MO as the sixth of seven children to parents Felicita “Flip” Murphy, née Kennedy, and Thomas Murphy. Like her sisters, Julie attended St. Teresa’s Academy. In college, Garwood studied history and nursing and landed on writing as a distraction from the world. Garwood’s grandchildren were the light of her life and she was close with many extended family members, often referring to her family as “My Big Fat Irish Family.”

Garwood’s interest in writing and her enthusiasm for history led her to write a young adult book, A Girl Named Summer, and her first historical novel, Gentle Warrior (1985). She quickly made a name for herself as a historical romance writer and her novel For the Roses (1995) was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Rose Hill (1997), which starred Jennifer Garner, Vera Farmiga, and Justin Chambers. In 2000, Garwood turned to writing contemporary romantic suspense novels, beginning with Heartbreaker.

Garwood’s romance publications include: GENTLE WARRIOR (1985), REBELLIOUS DESIRE (1986), HONOR’S SPLENDOUR (1987), THE LION’S LADY (1988), THE BRIDE (1989), GUARDIAN ANGEL (1990), THE GIFT (1991), THE PRIZE (1991), THE SECRET (1992), CASTLES (1993), SAVING GRACE (1993), PRINCE CHARMING (1994), FOR THE ROSES (1995), THE WEDDING (1996), THE CLAYBORNE BRIDES (1997), COME THE SPRING (1997), RANSOM (1999), HEARTBREAKER (2000), MERCY (2001), KILLJOY (2002), MURDER LIST (2004), SLOW BURN (2005), SHADOW DANCE (2006), SHADOW MUSIC (2007), FIRE AND ICE (2008), SIZZLE (2009), THE IDEAL MAN (2011), SWEET TALK (2012), HOTSHOT (2013), FAST TRACK (2014), WIRED (2017), and GRACE UNDER FIRE (2022). Garwood also wrote two young adult novels: A GIRL NAMED SUMMER (1986) and WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO? (1985) writing as Emily Chase as part of the Girls of Canby Hall series.

Garwood is survived by her sisters Kathleen McGuire and Mary “Cookie” Benson as well as her three children Elizabeth Ashley, Bryan Michael, and Gerald Raymond. She’s also survived by Gerald’s wife, Kendra, and their three daughters, Macy Elyse Garwood, Kennedy Paige Garwood, and Marlow Raye Garwood.

Posted: June 27, 2023