In Ransom, New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood returns to her beloved Highlands and the dark days of the despotic rule of King John to reacquaint readers with Scottish chieftain Brodick Buchanan, first introduced in The Secret. Brodick finds himself playing protector to Gillian, an exquisite English beauty, who is desperate to find her long-lost sister and a treasure of incalculable worth--one for which many already have died, including Gillian's own father. Coerced by the fiendish Baron Alford, who murdered her father before her eyes and usurped her birthright 14 years earlier, Gillian must return to England with Arianna's Box, a bejeweled golden box commissioned by King John, or her beloved Uncle Morgan will be tortured to death. In spite of Gillian's fragile looks and her loathsome English bloodlines, Brodick encounters a woman of immeasurable courage and determination, one not at all intimidated by his legendary temper or imposing size. And as he realizes that he has met his match in Gillian--whose sense of honor and duty equals his own--their passion for each other grows ever stronger in this thrilling historical.
This was a re-read while I was in bed this week, sick to my toes. I remembered loving Ransom when I had first read it and was curious to see if my reading tastes had changed since then -- and if so, in what manner.
I was drawn to Garwood's characterization of Gillian -- a kind and wholly compassionate English woman. But beyond that, she proved to be a very talkative - and naive!- young woman who was so innocent, she didn't have the sense to keep any of her thoughts to herself, which was exasperating as it was humorous.
Brodick proved to be a fine hero - the stuff that strong Highlanders are made of - equal parts brute force, arrogance, stunningly good looks, and the strength to be a laird.
Garwood's dialogue is a bit over-the-top, with conversations that went on for pages and pages, none of which were too stunningly witty or magical, but in all, gave depth to the characters. The suspense is a not-really-a-suspense and won't have you searching deep in your minds in eager anticipation of trying to discover the holder of Arianna's box. It will, however, keep with you in duration of the book and comes as a relative (but not great) surprise in the end.
Overall, lengthy and a little exasperating in parts, but still satisfying.