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Review of "Ransom" by Julie Garwood

Ransom was a very middle of the road book for me.  There were portions that I really liked and then there were other parts that I just couldn't get through, especially that wedding scene, which was just awful--I don't know how Gillian could ever forgive Brodick for that.

For the most part, this book takes place in Scotland, on the Sinclair lands, which are run by Ramsey, the hero's best friend.  I really wish there had been more descriptions of the lands because I imagine 13th century Scotland was beautiful.  Anyway, Gillian, our heroine, has traveled to Scotland to find her older sister, Cristen, who fled England 14 years earlier after the evil Baron Alford killed their father and seized his estate in the name of King John, claiming that their father killed the king's mistress and stole her treasured box.  At the time, Gillian and Cristen were children--Gillian 5 and Cristen 8--and were secreted away by their father's soldiers.  Unfortunately, the girls were separated; Cristen was sent to Scotland and Gillian ended up living in the English version of the Boondocks with her ladies' maid/nurse and her uncle, who raised her as his own.  When the book opens, Gillian has been summoned back to her father's home by Alford because he wants her to find her sister and the box, so he can collect King John's finders' fee.  As an incentive to do his bidding, Alford kidnapped Gillian's uncle and threatened to kill him if Gillian didn't return to England with both her sister and the box by the Fall Festival, which apparently doesn't give her much time.  For some reason, Alford also attempted to kidnap Ramsey Sinclair's younger brother, Michael, but accidentally took the wrong kid--Alec Maitland, the son of Iain Maitland, another powerful Scottish Laird, and the hero of the first book in this series.  I am not quite sure what the purpose of this is--there is no way that Alford could know that Ramsey was in charge of the MacPherson clan (which is where he believes Cristen was taken) as well as of his own, as that had only happened a mere page before Alford calls Gillian to his home.  This is so obviously a plot point--a way for Gillian to meet Brodick, who is Alec's champion.

After having the shit beat out of her (as if we needed another reason to hate Alford and his merry men), Gillian and Alec escape and head to Scotland with the aid of a couple of her father's former tenants, who also hate Alford.  Not a single bit of their journey is depicted for us--as a matter of fact, one minute they're escaping Alford and the next they're waiting for Brodick, for whom Gillian has sent, claiming to be his wife, figuring that he would be curious as to who she could be.  Acting just as she expected, Brodick shows up, and then we get a description of his appearance:
He was a towering figure with long, flaxen hair and deeply tanned skin...the sheer size of him blocked out most of the sun, though streaks of light shone all around him, making him appear almost ethereal" (Garwood, 124).

This dude sounds like an angelic Fabio.  I don't know if that was how he was meant to look, but that is definitely how I pictured him in my head.  It was a bit distracting, actually.  (And, no, Fabio is not on the cover of the book--I'm not sure if that is disappointing or not.)

Anyway, it doesn't take Gillian long to convince Brodick to help her--since she had Alec with her that makes sense, although even if the kid wasn't there I am sure he would have helped her as he is immediately in lust with her--as are all of his soldiers.  There isn't much of a description of Gillian, although judging on everyone's reactions to her I kept picturing something like this.  She's gorgeous.  We get it.  (She's not even the only woman to get this slack jawed response, either--Brigid KirkConnel also makes men lose their heads and offer for her.)

Relationships in this book are very fast.  Gillian and Brodick meet on page 124 and are married on page 306.  I don't think they've known each other more than two or three days at that point.  You would think they were in Vegas for all the red tape they didn't have to go through--Gillian didn't even know that they were married!  (Brodick tricked her and the priest.)  Then, there's Gillian and Brigid, who are described as friends a page or two after they meet!  Don't you wish you can make friends that easily?  I know I do.

My biggest complaint about Ransom was the sheer amount of head hopping that happens.  There was even on scene in which POV jumped from Ramsey to Brodick to Gillian all within the span of a few paragraphs.  It was very tiring--not to mention confusing.  I can take a certain amount of head hopping--Nora Roberts has never annoyed me--, but this was a little much.

All of this aside, I did like this book.  I loved how Brodick and his men were devoted to Gillian from almost the very beginning.  The Buchanan Clan was supposed to be fearsome warriors, but when it came to Gillian they were all a bunch of teddy bears.  I also liked Gillian.  For the time she was supposed to live in, she wasn't dependent on anyone else and she didn't stand for any of Brodick's macho crap.  Brigid was also a fun character--I loved that she called Ramsey stupid right to his face and that he never even noticed it.

What I liked the most was the historical tidbits dropped here and there throughout the narrative, especially the parts about the Interdict that Pope Innocent III placed on England because King John wouldn't allow the Pope's choice for Archbishop of Canterbury to do his job.  In retaliation, the Pope decided to prohibit any and all religious ceremonies in the entire country, showing just how much of a child he could be--I mean really, you don't like what a king does, so you take it out on the entire country?  (I'm sure that Pope Francis would love to be able to do this still--we wouldn't have any religious ceremonies happening here, since Obama gave his stamp of approval on Gay Marriage and we all know how the Pope feels about that.  You have no idea how happy I am that I don't go in for that Papist crap any more.  If more people were Atheists, things would be much simpler.)

In the end, I can only give 2.5 stars to this book.  It was good, but it didn't give me that "Good Book Feeling."

2.5 Stars.

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