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Overflowing with all of the majesty and intrigue of medieval glory days, this magnificent New York Times bestseller is a page-turner of passion and loyalty, justice and honor. Beloved storyteller Julie Garwood steps back to the silver-shrouded Highlands of her classic tale The Secret--and hails the return of two unforgettable warriors: Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. In the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, lives and lands would fall into upheaval at the hands of a power-hungry British ruler and his violent minions. One victim of the scourge is innocent Gillian, who is a mere child when the cruel and ambitious Baron Alford slaughters her father and tears her family apart. Alford, determined to recover a jeweled box for the despotic King John, is furious when the precious treasure slips through his fingers--only to be lost for more than a decade.

Now a beautiful young woman, Gillian finds the key to resolving her past in handsome Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan. With the cunning and courage of the daring Scotsmen, and with the friendship of a new ally, Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian at last fights the unscrupulous Baron Alford, laying claim to her home, her family, and her father's reputation. But in the presence of the mighty warriors, Gillian and Bridgid discover that desire can be a weapon of conquest...betrayal can slay trust in a heartbeat...and the greatest risk of all is surrender--to the deep emotions of unexpected love.

546 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 1, 1999

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About the author

Julie Garwood

137 books11.6k followers
With more than 35 million books in print and 26 NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers, Julie Garwood has earned a position among America's favorite fiction writers.

Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Ms. Garwood attributes much of her success to growing up in a large family of Irish heritage. "The Irish are great storytellers who relish getting all of the details and nuances of every situation. Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life, I learned that self expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick," says Ms. Garwood.

She began her writing career when the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young-adult books, she turned her talents to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published by Pocket Books in 1985. Since then, she has branched into other genres including contemporary romantic suspense. Today, her name appears regularly on the bestseller lists of every major publication in the country, and her books are translated into dozens of languages around the world. Her bestselling novel FOR THE ROSES was adapted for the HALLMARK HALL OF FAME television movie ROSE HILL.

Ms. Garwood lives in Leawood, KS and is currently working on her next novel.

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5 stars
18,069 (52%)
4 stars
10,783 (31%)
3 stars
4,436 (12%)
2 stars
830 (2%)
1 star
252 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,586 reviews
March 17, 2017
I'm going to keep this short and sweet! I loved this book too. I have pretty much loved every Julie Garwood book I have read so far. This book was like two love stories in one. The main love story was Gillian and Brodick. The other love story was a small side story that I felt really should have been it's own book. That side love story was Ramsey and Bridgid. I loved Brodick from The Secret (Highlands' Lairds #1) by Julie Garwood and he was amazing in this book. He was so rough, hard, kick ass, and so damn prefect that I just love the hell outta him. Gillian was brave, sweet and outspoken. I love outspoken heroines that don't let men walk on them. Gillian didn't let Brodick walk all over her. I loved them as a couple and I loved every minute of their love story. I really wish they didn't have to share their pages with another couple. Then I could have had more time with them. Also Ramsey and Bridgid were so likable they should have gotten their own book. I wanted more time with them too. I loved the plot and I loved that the bad guys got theirs. This book was great!!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,839 reviews69.1k followers
November 19, 2015
Oh, crap. Did I really give this 5 stars the first time I read it?
Has this really been sitting on my favorites shelf?!


See? This is why it's dangerous to do rereads.
So, 5 years ago, I read this and thought it was A-MAZING.
Like, the bestest book evah! And I've been singing its praises ever since.


In fact, when I saw it was on sale a while back, I bought it!
Those of you who know me realize what a big deal that was. For those of you who don't? Let's just say...I'm cheap. Reallyreallyreally cheap!
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I guard my money like that shriveled-up hobbit thing from Lord of the Rings.


Anyway, I went into this expecting to feel...


And, instead, I felt more...


I'm not sure what happened here, but, this time around, I thought the dialogue was kinda clunky. Plus, there were several times I had to put it down, because it just wasn't holding my attention the way I had hoped.


And the romance was...WTF?
What the hell was I thinking when I read this originally?!
I sorta wanted to grab hold of my younger self, and ask her a few questions...


I don't mind when guys aren't perfect in romance novels. I like tough guys, snarky guys, even rude guys!
But you've gotta give me some reason to root for them.
This guy?


I'm not saying he was a villainous, horrible person!
Just...I didn't like him very much.
He was a cookie-cutter version of every emotionally retarded hero ever put on paper.
And I was not all that impressed.


I mean, it was still a decent book, and I was entertained enough to finish it, but I was pretty underwhelmed.
Thing is, I had such fond memories of this book! Ugh.
I think it's gonna take me a while to get over the disappointment.

Profile Image for Dina.
1,324 reviews1,182 followers
October 16, 2011
This was only my 2nd book by Julie Garwood, following The Secret, and I think I found a new (to me) author to glom. I just loved these books!

Brodick Buchanan was a secondary character in The Secret that had "hero" tattooed on his forehead, so I was more than happy when I found out that Ransom was "his" book. He was the typical alpha hero and we all know what happens when this kind fall in love. They fall hard and forever, but not always have the grace of acknowledging the fall, LOL. Brodick was just like that, and it was funny to see him trying to deal with it. When he told Gillian that she loved him, I giggled like a schoolgirl. And when he tricked her into marrying him, I laughed like a lunatic. That was one short-lived Big Misunderstanding I had no problem with. "On a horse? I was married on a horse?" Too funny! I doubt Brodick would get away with his antics in real life but he just turned out to be one of my favorite heroes in Romancelandia.

Gillian was perfect match for Brodick. She didn't need to be coddled, which was refreshing when it comes to heroines in Romancelandia. Not that she was harsh or anything like that, she was just strong and independent. And yet, once she fell in love with Brodick, she wasn't afraid to admit she needed him to make her happier and she enjoyed talking and sharing her feelings with him. If I have a minor quibble about her, it's her behavior near the end of the story, when she almost drove her uncle crazy with her crying over Brodick: it was a bit out of character but, all things considered, it didn't bother me much. It did make me smile imagining her uncle's "suffering". :)

As for the plot, I was a little confused in the beginning: there were so many players and so much going on that I felt kind of dizzy. Why hadn't Gillian been killed by the villainous Baron Alford? Was Gillian's sister truly alive? How did Gillian and Alec meet considering how prisoners are supposed to be kept isolated? So many questions... Thankfully, everything started making sense soon enough and there was no stopping after that. Great story!

There was a secondary love story involving Ramsey Sinclair, a friend of Brodick's who also appeared in The Secret, and Bridgid, a member of the Sinclair clan. It was nice, funny but underdeveloped. Ramsey and Bridgid were very interesting characters, their (few) interactions were funny and entertaining, and I think they deserved a book fully dedicated to telling their story. I didn't get to see the build-up of their relationship, especially on Ramsey's side, so it was kind of disappointing to see their HEA crammed into Brodick and Gillian's.

This was a long book (546 pages) but, frankly, it didn't feel like it. It was filled with romance (duh!), humor, action, intrigue, suspense, some angst, and wonderful characters that I couldn't help but love. A true keeper!
Profile Image for Kristen.
830 reviews4,714 followers
September 3, 2014
4 to 4 1/2 stars

Ransom is the follow-up book to The Secret and it definitely exceeded my expectations. Not only did it include the secondary characters I loved but also gave me a hero and heroine I could fall in love with and a romance over which I could swoon. Like The Secret, this book focuses on the overall plot rather than just romance. Fortunately, the love story and chemistry between Brodick and Gillian more than makes up for it.

Interestingly, it was a five year old "wanna be Highlander warrior" name Alec (the son of Iain and Judith from The Secret) who stole my heart and the story. He was endearing, inquisitive, and adorably obnoxious with his continual questions of "you know what?" You just had to love him!

Brodick and Gillian were strong and likable characters. They complemented each other perfectly and their chemistry radiated off the pages. I found myself eagerly looking forward to their heart-warming and witty interactions.

Brodick is a hero to swoon over. He was my favorite male character in The Secret. I had a feeling that once I read Ransom, he would become my all-time favorite Julie Garwood hero. And boy was I right! He's your true blue alpha hero, with all the strengths and weakness that encompass that aggressive but admirable personality. I was grateful that Julie Garwood kept Brodick, regardless of his feelings and love for Gillian, true to his character traits throughout the book.

I can't help but smile when I think of Gillian’s character. She's a fabulous and endearing heroine. I liked her spunk, confidence, determination, kindness, and heroism, even though she had a few of those “too stupid to live” moments.

In my opinion, Julie Garwood has a way of creating the most lovable and endearing heroines I’ve read. There isn’t a Julie Garwood book I’ve read where I didn’t completely fall in love with her wonderfully spunky and engaging heroines. True, they may be borderline Pollyanna, but that’s okay. They’re all written with such heart and soul you simply do not care. It’s a treat to spend a little time in one of their enchanting worlds.

The secondary character in Ransom were simply amazing. They were as captivating and richly developed as the two main protagonists. I couldn’t seem to get enough of the interactions between Gillian and Brodick’s gruff and intimidating Buchanan soldiers. The scenes between the soldiers and the heroine made for some of the funniest and endearing moments in the story. I also liked Ramsey’s and Bridget’s side story. However, I was a little disappointed with their HEA. It felt abrupt, rushed, and somewhat out of place. They really should have had their own story. It’s sad that didn’t happen for them.

Like most of Julie Garwood’s books, the ending was a bit over the top and eye roll worthy. But hey, that’s signature Julie Garwood and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Ransom is one of the better Julie Garwood books I’ve read. It’s longer than most of her books, with over 500 pages, but it’s full of wonderfully developed characters, action, suspense, humor, and “gasp,” a little angst.

I fully enjoyed reading this book and would say it’s a definite keeper.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,038 reviews13k followers
August 8, 2022
AHHHHHH this was so amazing and I loved everything about it. Domineering Scottish laird. Headstrong English heroine. She says that they're engaged because she's in trouble, so he shows up to see who this woman is. Then they go on this whole journey and I just loved it. There is so much humor in Julie Garwood's books and I was laughing and smiling the entire time I was reading this. While the book is long, I was hooked the entire story. There's so much romance and action and secrets and it was amazing. The hero was alpha, but the heroine had a backbone and didn't let the hero walk all over her. But she also wasn't stupid about defying the hero; her decisions were smart and never were the cause of her getting into trouble. I also really enjoyed the friendships and how all of the other highlanders became protective over the heroine. And the secondary romance was small but really cute too! I'm just obsessed with this book and so happy I finally read it!!
January 14, 2022
4.75 one of my all time fave stars!

This is my favorite Garwood historical H (he's one of my book bfs so back off!), and one of my favorite HRs in general. The story line is action-packed; the h is a tough cookie; there is overlap from the first book in this series which was nice bc I liked those characters and it was like getting an update on their lives; the suspense aspect was solid; and the steamy goodness was yummy. I have read, re-read, and will most definitely re-read this one again!

Brodick is the relatively new laird of Clan Buchanan, and he is a good match for them as he is a very large, serious, and dominating warrior. We are introduced to him in book 1 in this series when he is younger, and at the end of the book, he and Ramsey (another character from the first who is about the same age and also now a laird) go off to England to find brides as they were completely enamored with Iain's wife from book 1 who (the running joke was) "used to be English." Obviously, that adventure did not lead to Brodick (or Ramsey) finding their loves, but they are now both chieftains and powerful men in their own right. When Brodick receives a message that demands he come to his bride-to-be, he is both annoyed and intrigued. Who would ever claim to be his intended given his fearsome reputation? He decides he has to answer this summons if only to learn what woman would be so bold.

Lady Gillian is out of options. She has managed to escape from where she was being held captive by a powerful English baron, and she rescued the young boy he was also holding that he intended to ransom. During their escape, however, Gillian was injured and knows she cannot possibly make it all the way to the Scottish Highlands where the boy lives and where she promised him she would return him without help. But given the baron after them has allies throughout England, she cannot call upon anyone she knows there. When the boy tells her of his champion (what we would consider a godfather today), Gillian decides her best bet is to get him to come as he is described as fearless, large, and "old." She cannot reveal that she has the boy in case the information falls into the wrong hands, so she baits him by saying she is his bride.

But when Brodick arrives, he is anything but old, though he is certainly large and fearsome. Even when he demands she tell him why she claimed to be his intended, she refuses to answer him until he satisfies her request to view his men before revealing more. Brodick is offended, but he agrees as he has little choice. Apparently, Gillian saw the highlander she claims is responsible for the kidnapping of the child and will not allow him to be endangered. Once she is satisfied that they are safe, the boy comes out of hiding and Brodick is visibly shaken as many believed him to be dead. As his champion, he tells Gillian that he will ensure the child returns to his home, but that is not good enough for Gillian as she promised the boy she would get him all the way home safely.

Gillian has another motive for wanting to go to the Maitland holdings... they are neighbors of the clan where her sister is rumored to reside. The girls were separated as young children when their father was killed and blamed for the murder of the king's beloved mistress. In addition to the loss of his mistress, the king also lost a very valuable trinket she was in possession of at the time, and this is the item the baron that was keeping them hostage sought. Gillian believes that since she was a little older, her sister might know its whereabouts with which Gillian can prove her father's innocence and save her family from further persecution by this evil baron.

But what will happen when Brodick and Gillian, already intrigued by each other, are forced to stay in close quarters with one another on the journey? When they arrive at the Maitland holdings, will Brodick leave her as he would have accomplished his mission? Even if he doesn't, is there any future for Gillian if she cannot identify the highlander responsible for kidnapping the young boy she was held with before he makes the move to permanently silence her? And what will happen to her and her loved ones if Gillian is unsuccessful in discovering the location of the prized trinket?

What I liked:
--- The story line was strong and engaging
--- As I mentioned, the H is one of my all-time favorites - the best heroes are the ones that are the big, strong, silent, tough guys who melt for the right woman, and Brodick is all of those
--- There are several humorous moments, especially the ride from the Maitland holdings to Ramsey's home ("I was married on a HORSE?!")
--- The ancillary characters were interesting, and I didn't see the who done it coming which is unusual for me bc I usually sniff them out (of course I first read this book many moons ago, so maybe I have gotten sharper with age, but who knows?)
--- STEAMY GOODNESS - I love me some Brodick!

What I didn't like as much:
--- Some spots dragged a little (her looking for and then talking with her sister) and was a bit anticlimactic
--- Would have preferred Ramsey get his own story vs have it crammed into this one
--- The steamy goodness was delish but I really wanted more of it bc... Brodick. YUM.

Overall, this is one of my favorite historical romances with the perfect H, an interesting story line, fun secondary characters, steamy goodness, and (of course!) a satisfying HEA.

Plot --- 4.75/5
Main Characters --- 4.75/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.5/5
Steam Level* --- 3.5/5
Violence --- nothing overly graphic (there is some violence towards woman - the h gets beaten by the men who kidnapped her but it's not overly graphic; the h also gets injured; the H kills a few men but they were justified and not graphically described)
Language --- little if any
POV --- 3rd

*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild (nothing descriptive); 2/5 - 3rd base action/1 home run; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere (a couple of full-on steamy scenes); 4/5 - yes please! (erotica territory); 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
Profile Image for Eastofoz.
636 reviews339 followers
November 16, 2008
Excellent! A+! A suberb medieval epic!!! The book is one huge mother of a read but you barely feel it as the pages go whipping on by.

You get two top notch alphas Highlanders: Ramsey and Brodick both lairds of their clan. They get what they want when they want except maybe the women they really love so they have to resort to trickery --especially Brodick-- to seal the deal with their lady loves. The word play in one marriage scene is so well-done that the reader feels like the heroine and doesn't know which end is up or what just happened! Garwood has an amazing talent to write such a long book and never once do you feel bored or get that "read that" before feeling.

There's a great group of villains and some outright hilarious scenes. These men are all alpha but in different ways. Ramsey is polite and diplomatic (but don't get him mad) Brodick is frank and forthright and doesn't care who he offends. Do not even think of crossing them when their heroines are in danger. When you think of "alpha hero" these guys certainly come come to mind!

Lots of action, great steam, fantastic characters, well-paced ---a true historical romance in every sense!!
September 9, 2015
Another book I thought I had read. Boy was I glad that I didn't. Read this for the Julie Garwood group read, and it was delightful. Julie Garwood books are definitely comfort reads. She understands why we read romance, and one of the reasons is we want heroines who we can root for, that we fall in love with just as much as the heroes. Her heroines have this tangible sweetness that makes me want to hug them, root for them, and to fight with and for them. Gillian is no different. My heart hurt for her losses and I cheered her for her indefatigable will. To be honest, I did think she was a slightly too good for Brodick, although I did like him. Maybe that's a good thing, because the common dilemma for a romance fan is to like the hero more.

I have read the other two Highland Laird books and loved them. I don't know how this fell through the cracks! But it was perfect timing, because you need a pick-me-up sometimes when you've been reading for so long, and some of it's assigned reading. I am a die-hard romance lover, and while I enjoy other genres, I always come back to romance because it has the tried and true things that satisfy me as a reader. In this case, it's the great heroine and the story that completely immerses me and takes me away from my world--back to medieval Scotland. The romance is great, but there's so much more in addition to offer in this book.

One of the things that spoke to me strongly was the theme of family and loyalty. Gillian has lost more of her family, but she cleaves to that which is left. She lived with the hope of being reunited with her sister. Her uncle who raised her after the betrayal and death of her father has her unswerving loyalty. She faces great danger to keep him safe from her so-called guardian Baron Alford, who is essentially the Son of Satan. That doesn't mean she won't spare the time to protect a young Scottish boy who was kidnapped by Baron Alford's forces, even at the risk of her own life. She does it for because it's right, even if it's a great cost to her. Fortunately, her good deed leads her right where she needs to be, and into the sights and arms of Brodick, Laird of the Buchanans.

Brodick doesn't know what hits him (not unusual for a Garwood heroine). Before he knows it, he can't live without Gillian, even though he knows from the beginning that she's bound to return to England. He fights his love for her because he believes love makes him weak. Although he hypocritically demands Gillian's love as his due. Brodick takes her into his clan literally, and gives Gillian the family she's missing.

Brodick was a pretty good hero. Not good enough for Gillian, but I liked him. I didn't like that he tended to usurp Gillian's self-will, both because he believes he knows better, and also for her protection. He knew that she needed a protector, but the lie he told was a costly one, nearly losing the love of his life in the process.

This book has almost two romances for the price of one. The second romance between Ramsey and Brigid was fun, and it develops more slowly than the one between Gillian and Brodick. Most of the characteristic humor is evident in their interactions, since Gillian's situation is so serious, it doesn't leave as much time for humor.

Not only was the romance good, but it had genuine suspense. Gillian is in some very dangerous situations, and she makes it through between a combination of divine providence, will power, and intelligence. She hasn't had an easy life, but it's made her into the wonderful heroine she is. One who can't help but acquire the loyalty of those around her.

I was more than satisfied with this book. It took me a while to read, but that's sort of my life now. But every time I picked it up, I was deeply involved and enthralled. This was a long book, but when it ended, I wished for more. I did feel disappointment with the resolution of Gillian's search for her sister, but that's real life. And at least she found a new sister in Brigid. I can't help but give it five stars under those circumstances. Even with my increasingly stingy ratings, I can't argue myself down from there.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,752 reviews790 followers
May 27, 2017
Gillian was just a child when her home was attacked, and her sister disappeared, and her father murdered in front of her, and the Baron Alfred took over and sent her away to her uncle up to northern England. Now its been ten years and she has been called back to the Baron, who wants to know the location of a box that belonged to King John, and thinks that the family still has possession over it. When she plans a escape with a child, Alec, who falls down a gorge, and she rescues him, they are caught by Baron’s men, and in order to protect the boy, Gillian is severely beaten. And they escape knowing if she doesn’t find the box or her sister the Baron will kill her uncle, a man that is her only family, and was like her own father and raised her, and she will do anything to save him. Gillian and Alec make their way to Scotland, to Brodick Buchanan, who is Alec’s protector and close friend to Alec’s father. Gillian and Brodick are drawn together by circumstances, and even though her life is in England, and she must return there, her heart belongs to a fierce Scot who would protect her at all costs…but will it be enough?

The Hero
Brodick Buchanan is now laird over th Buchanan’s who are known as heathens among the Scots. Brodick, once wanted a English lass, but when he and his friend Ramsey when to England in search of some sweet passionate lasses, they found none that they liked and were both used. Ever since he made a promise to himself that he would never marry a English lass only a Scottish lass. But when he hears of a woman claiming to be his bride, he is intrigued, and finds himself drawn to Gillian, who is so different from any other woman he has ever known. Brodick is a hoot for a hero….he is one of the most fiercest Scots, and always wearing a scowl, most women fear him, but not Gillian. His character is quite amusing, because he is used to issuing commands and having them obeyed and no protests allowed, I loved his stubbornness, strength, and ways he manages Gillan.

The Heroine
Gillian has only known pain and grief, she loved her family, but when she witnesses her father being killed right in front of her, her life changed. Gillian as a child, was quiet and kept to herself, and had nightmares. As a woman, she has grown into herself, and is self assured and confident. She stands up to the Baron, and doesn’t let him weaken her resolve. She is protective of those innocent and those she loves most. She is patient with Alec (who is a child with endless questions and she never loses her temper…so bravo) She stands her own ground again Brodick, and isn’t afraid to disobey or disregard his rules he sets down. She is determined to save her uncle, no matter the risk to herself.

Plot and Story Line
For quite some time I have been wanted to re read Julie Garwood’s historical romances. Now of all the authors that write historical romance, Julie Garwood is at the top. Its been years, so I decided to download the audio version, and the narration was amazing and did the accent quite wonderfully. (And as a side note its on sale at Audible for $3.49–which is quite a bargain so I recommend heading over there while the price is so low.) Ransom is the second book in series, and I recommend if you haven’t read this series yet, you might want to read Secret first since it’s a bit connected to Ransom. The story begins with some background information on our heroine, we see her as a child and a bit traumatized as well from what she witnesses. My heart just went out to her, but then we skip ahead and see her as a woman, and her character was so endearing. She is one of those heroines that accepts what has been dealt to her, but she also stands on her own and fights for what is right. Then we get an added element of a side character, Alec. And for those who have read Secret Alec is Ian and Judith’s son. And what a precocious child he is, and one of my favorite side characters I have ever read. I love the way that Gillian is with him, protects him and even though her uncle is at risk, will return him home as her first priority. And there were so many moments in this story that were charming. What I loved most about this story was the development of characters and seeing the various changes unravel in the plot that keeps the reader engaged. We also have a side love story of Ramsey and Bridgid…and oh Bridgid…just loved her. What I loved most about her character, is that she will only marry one man…the man she loves, but he has to stop “being stupid” before she will even agree. I love her bluntness and how true to herself she is, and holds nothing back. She is brave and bold and I admired that quite a bit and she brought a bit of fresh air to the story. This just might be one of my favorite books from this author, I am sure I read it ages ago when I first started reading romance, but I just don’t remember this one, but now I have decided it’s definitely going to be considered a re listen to. I would recommend it to anyone that loves a tender and fierce love story. A must read for any romance lover–HIGHEST PRIORITY!!!

The Cover
Now there are two covers for this book, the paper version and the audio version. I like both, but I like the audio version a bit more, since it connects with the setting of the story a bit more.

Overall View
Ransom is a treasure of charming characters, thrilling plot, quick-witted humor, a tale of love and brings a spicy fresh quality to it, a engrossing read that will have you stunned from beginning to end!! A RICH AND A TRUE DELIGHT!!
Profile Image for Lady Nilambari Reads HR.
343 reviews69 followers
April 19, 2022
5 Stars

After four back to back recommendations, I had to read this book sooner than later, and what a joy it was!

This is it. Bags packed, passport located, tickets booked, for I am going to Scotland. I have to buy my husband a kilt and teach him how to behave like a JG Highland Laird. I cannot believe that he lived in Scotland and does not own a kilt or a plaid! What good is he?

I don't know how she does it, but Ms Garwood makes us swoon for these craggy, high-handed highlanders, and she makes the female spirit sing with her quirky steel-spined English lasses. And the romance just makes me squirm with delight!

- A surprisingly complicated plot
- Brodick
- Gillian
- "You know what?" "No, what?" "Alec" (If you read it, you will get it)
- The pretty little side love story (I demand a separate Ramsey book btw)

My Recommendation
You can never go wrong with Garwood's Highland romances!
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,041 reviews383 followers
March 21, 2020
DNF @ 74%

I know, I know . . . why not just finish it?

I just couldn't listen to another second of it. I know so many of you guys loved this one, but the romance aspect of the plot is moved ahead by making the heroine look like a fool; everyone around her withholds information, leaving her clueless and I just DIDN'T find it charming.

After the big 'reveal' in Broddick and Gillian's relationship evoked NO reaction in Gillian, I was too disappointed to continue despite the overall plot keeping me intrigued. I've said before that for me to enjoy a book, there has to be at least a semblance of parity between the h and H, so when a heroine is made to sit on the sidelines of her own story, I'm out.

Audio: 4 STARS!
Profile Image for Esther .
863 reviews194 followers
February 24, 2019

5 star rating, hands down.

Another wonderful romance by JG.

Gillian and Brodick, what a perfect match. And Brodick needed a Gillian; strong, brave and tenderhearted all in one, perfect compliment to who he was. Brodick was all alpha but couldn't hide his feeling or tenderness for Gillian though.

Action packed, lots of laughter and tender moments all wrapped up on one beautiful story.

I loved the second romance between Ramsey and Bridgid. Wish they had their own book/story.

Wonderful to see Judith and Iain and the rest of the gang as well.

Wonderful reread and will of course visit this book again.
Profile Image for KatieV.
700 reviews430 followers
February 8, 2017
Was this 5 star literature? No, but it sure is 5 star enjoyable. It's campy at times and I doubt the historical accuracy "and you know what?" I didn't care. I was so happy to get Brodick's story and Gillian was lovable despite being so perfect. I won't say much about this as it's been reviewed a zillion times. It's pure fantasy, but it kept me absorbed and put a smile on my face.

Susan Duerden was a fabulous narrator, as usual.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews285 followers
October 27, 2017
Sigh!!! I loved this book, super sweet and endearing!!! Julie Garwood never does me wrong. I love her highlander series!!!
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews505 followers
January 5, 2015
★★★★½ I read this, the second in the Highlands’ Lairds series, years ago and thought I’d give it another go to see if it still held up. (It does!) There was also going to be a “buddy read” – something I find hard to resist, since I love a good discussion about a great book.

My image of green eyed, brown-haired Gillian.
Picture by artist, Cris Ortega.


Thank you, Pamela(AllHoney), one of my “buddy read” group, for introducing me to this talented artist.

What can I say about a classic Garwood Highland Medieval and –at 546 pages – a “chunkster” to boot? I feel like I’m repeating myself about Ms. Garwood; but, while there were a few LOL moments, what I really found was that I was smiling throughout this book. I like smiling while I read; it gives me a warm feeling; makes me want to hunker down under my covers and stay there, indulging in a bit of escapism to Garwood’s Medieval Scotland. This writer can get away with a subtle brand of humor that others cannot. The prologue in this one is excellent, and instantly transported me there. Even in the urgency and danger of the situation JG still managed to capture the character and innocence of a young Gillian and make me… well, smile. ☺

Here we get two love stories in one, which some people don’t like, but I found one complimented the other and made the developing friendship between the two women, Gillian and Bridgid, a more realistic relationship. It gave them something to talk about. (Not that there wasn’t enough action, intrigue, and betrayal going on in the story.) This was true for the corresponding relationship between the two long-time comrades and heroes, Brodick and Ramsey. They all got to know each other on a different level, and it is easy for me to see the four of them remaining friends for life.

That said, I felt the resolution of secondary love story was a bit too quick; greedy romance reader that I am, I would have liked a smidgen more. Maybe a wedding?

My image of Bridgid on her wedding day; I guess, Ramsey is the frog, LOL! Picture by artist, Cris Ortega.

And I felt JG missed a golden opportunity with Alec, the child that was kidnapped, when he spit after each utterance of King John’s name. To an appalled Gillian, he explained that Brodick did this too (or cursed); yet, when Brodick does mention King John later – there’s no spitting, cursing or any attempt to refrain from either. Granted, a very small flaw, but I was looking forward to the imagined scene.

Still, an almost flawless delivery of a sweet and spicy romance. I’ll have to read it again in another couple years to see if it still holds up then.

Any excuse. **hee hee**

Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews505 followers
May 17, 2013
Castle on the cliffs of Scotland

★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Susan Duerden has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. In Ransom, one of my favorite Garwood books, she manages to elevate it even more! Awe-mazing.

I’ve read Ransom several times, but it was fun to hear it read to me. Ms. Duerden does a wonderful job on the Scottish accents and inflecting just the right tone for the characters and the situation. I don’t know how she got some of the deep voices for the men. Her pacing and voice level are consistent. It was a real joy to listen to this on audiobook. I’m so glad I didn’t resist getting this newly released version, as I know I’ll listen to it again and again.

What can I say about a classic Garwood Highland Medieval and – at 546 pages, or 16 hours on audio – a “chunkster” to boot? I feel like I’m repeating myself about Ms. Garwood; but, while there were a few LOL moments, what I really found was that I was smiling throughout this book. I like smiling while I listen to a story; it gives me a warm feeling; makes me want to hunker down under my covers and stay there, indulging in a bit of escapism to Garwood’s Medieval Scotland. This writer can get away with a subtle brand of humor that others cannot. The prologue in this one is excellent, and instantly transported me there. Even in the urgency and danger of the situation JG still managed to capture the character and innocence of a young Gillian and make me… well, smile. ☺

Here we get two love stories in one, which some people don’t like, but I found one complimented the other and made the developing friendship between the two women, Gillian and Bridgid, a more realistic relationship. It gave them something to talk about. (Not that there wasn’t enough action, intrigue, and betrayal going on in the story.) This was true for the corresponding relationship between the two long-time comrades and heroes, Brodick and Ramsey. They all got to know each other on a different level, and it is easy for me to see the four of them remaining friends for life.

That said, I felt the resolution of secondary love story was a bit too quick; greedy romance reader that I am, I would have liked a smidgen more. Maybe a wedding? One not on horseback? LOL!
Profile Image for Kübra  Yağmur Aslanhan.
1,674 reviews303 followers
November 18, 2017
Misafirler gidince ancak bitirdim. 🙈
Pazartesi eve dönünce ufak, yorumsu bir şeyler yazacağım.

Evimde olmadığım ve aylardan nefretlik Ağustos olduğu için beklediğimden daha uzun süre elimde kaldı kitap. Tüm bu olumsuz etkenlere rağmen Garwood, Highlands’i gene hakkıyla işlemişti. Bu kadınla talihsiz tanımla yaşamış olmama rağmen şimdi yazdığı İskoçlara bayılıyorum.

Serinin ilk kitabında Iain Maitland’ın dostu ve savaşçılarının başı olan Brodick -aşağı yukarı yedi yıl geçmiş- kendi klanının Bey’i olmuş olarak çıkıyor karşımıza. Aynı şekilde kızların dizlerini titreten Ramsey’de babasının ölümüyle klanına dönüp Beylik görevlerini yerine getirmeye başlamış.

Gillian, güçlü bir kadın karakter olarak karşılaştığı her zorlukla mücadele ediyor. Buna Brodick de dâhil çünkü inatçı savaşçımız derdini çoğunlukla homurdanarak anlatmasıyla meşhur.
Bu sert, iri yarı, haşin erkeğin kalbine girmeyi başaran Gillian; ufak bir çocuğu kurtarıp ailesine teslim etmek ve Kral John’a ait hazineyi bulmak üzere İskoçya’ya doğru yola çıkıyor.

Şimdi, kim olduğunu çözene kadar “Sen şeyi biliyor musun?” diye diye insanın sabrını zorlayan veledi aslında çok sevdim. Malum, ilk kitapta gönlümden geçtiği gibi bir epiloga yer verilmemişti. Biz Iain ve Juliet’in çoluklu çocuklu zamanlarına dair bir şey okuyamamıştık. Bu kitapta onları ve çocuklarını görmek beni çok mutlu etti.
“Peki sen kime aitsin, Alec?”
Alec göğsünü abartılı biçimde kabarttı. “Ben Iain Maitland'ın oğluyum.”

Kitap için belli başlı beklentilere girmiş, tahminlerde bulunmuştum. Ama hiçbirinde başarılı sonuç elde edemedim.
Ayrıca Ramsey’in de bu kitapta araya sıkıştırılmış olması beni çok üzdü. Kitapta çok kısa bölümler halinde onun aşkı bulmasına şahit olduk. Bu kalın kafayla daha çok sürünür diye umuyordum ama etrafındakilerin –özellikle Morgan Amca'nın- yardımı olmasa halleri nasıl olurdu bilemedim.

Kitabın sonunda gönlüme göre bir epilog gene yoktu ama Morgan Amcamızın dahil olduğu kısımlar süperdi. Brodick Morgan Amca’yı, Morgan Amca da Brodick’i birine benzetti durdu ama sonuca bir türlü varamadılar. Nedense acaba? 😅
description Iain’in bakışları Gillian ve Brodick arasında gidip geldi. “Peder Laggan döndü,” diye bildirdi. “Ve onun yanında Stevens adında genç bir peder daha var.”
Brodick, “Bunu bana niçin söylüyorsun?” diye sordu.
Iain Gillian’a anlamlı bir bakış atarak, “Size iki pederin el altında bulunduğunu bildirmek istedim sadece,” açıklamasını yaptı.

descriptionGillian’ın gözleri fal taşı misali açıldı. “Benimle ilgili… Düşüncelerin… Oldu mu?”
“Elbette oldu ama benim hayallerim çok daha ilginç.”
“Öyle mi?”
“Sana onlardan bahsetmemi ister misin?”
Brodick güldü ve Gillian’ın itirazını umursamadı. “Benim fantezilerimde senin üzerinde hiçbir şey yoktu. Hayır, bu tam olarak doğru değil. Senin üzerinde bir şey vardı.”
Gillian sormaması gerektiğinin farkındaydı ama kendisine engel olamadı. “Benim üstümde ne vardı?”
Brodick aşağıya doğru eğildi ve Gillian’ın kulağına fısıldadı: “Ben.”
Profile Image for Justin Chen.
378 reviews325 followers
July 24, 2022
3.5 stars

Pleasant enough, but still far from becoming a personal favorite, Ransom is extremely readable thanks to Julie Garwood's fluid writing, and features highly dramatic set-pieces (the tense, brutal opening immediately draws me in), endearing brotherly & sisterly bonding, and solid romantic banters. On the flip side, its excessive length definitely challenges my overall enjoyment, and now with another highlanders historical romance novel read, I can finally discern its pattern and safely say some tropes of this sub-genre are simply not for me.

I was really enjoying the first 60% of Ransom (which was already the length of a typical HR novel): the political intrigue among the different clans involving, the 'ransom' plot fun and twisty, and both the hero(es) and heroine(s) endearing. But in its last stretch the novel kind of fell apart: the villain/deadline never built up to a believable, valid threat (not to mention some bizarre character decisions), and the romance dragged out and extremely juvenile (I find it boring when the conflict solely relies on individuals not outwardly admitting their feeling in order to save face).

One thing I was looking forward to in Ransom was the duo-romances, but I was left slightly underwhelmed when it was revealed only one of the sisters was a heroine (that felt like a missed opportunity with the setup, no?), and the arc of the two romances was exactly the same; I'm still baffled at Julie Garwood's 'copy-paste' decision of writing the same couple dynamic twice within the same book — would've preferred a bit more variety and contrast.

Reading Ransom is another step in realizing my reading taste in romance; perhaps I'm jaded by all the 'perfect' influencer content flooding social media, therefore I couldn't care less when a romance is revolving around overtly-emphasized attractive individuals (flawless beauty and hunky alpha), which seems to be the default setup particularly in highlanders historical romances. If reading fiction is a mean to escape the superficiality of our world, for me I would rather spend time reading imperfect individuals finding their true love, whether that's with plaid or not.

***Historical Hellions Book Club | July 2022 Selection***
Profile Image for Karen.
799 reviews1,005 followers
March 5, 2021

Determined to have the last word, she took a step closer to him so she wouldn’t be overheard and then said, “I will not love you.”
He took a step toward her, no doubt trying to intimidate her, she supposed, and then he leaned down close to her ear and whispered, “You already do.”

YES!!! Loved this one even more than the first one. These are the types of characters I like, strong-willed and stubborn. The story was action-packed and kept me always looking ahead. It was somewhat predictable as romances go, but I didn't seem to mind. Can't wait to move forward in the series.
August 7, 2016
Wow I laughed a lot during this read which balanced out how many times I wanted to throttle Brodick. These brooding men who show their love but won't claim it till the end take my heart on a thrilling ride. I one moment want to cry with the heroine then the next I'm swooning all over again. Gillian was so enjoyable and funny. I liked that she didn't hold her feelings back. These two just worked for me. I really got angry at Brodick so many times but he kept making it right in his neanderthal way. Now Ramsey.. I didn't like much at all. I don't even consider his and Bridgid love story safe or really anything special. She had to watch him whore around for years and the only thing I was glad for was he didn't actually end up sleeping with anyone after meeting her but he wanted to and he would have if she didn't stop it. Idiot. Fool. She deserves better. So glad they didn't have a whole story. He was just disgusting. Good friend.. But bad hero.
I really wish I could read about a celibate hero or non "rake" type.
Now I'm hooked so I'll be moving into the next read.

Brodick and Gillian were totally safe. No ow or om. He's an alpha who takes. Low steam. But really beautiful story.
Profile Image for Debbie DiFiore.
1,965 reviews210 followers
May 13, 2020
10th read and I still love it

I have read this so many times over the years and I still love it. It's a comfort read and I really needed something to help me through this quarantine. And there's nothing better than a good book. The story is about a very strong woman who is being held by an evil man. She saves the life of Ian Maitland's son who is five years old. Ian was in the book, The Secret which is another all time favorite. The interaction between the heroine and the little boy is so sweet. I loved that part of the story. And then there is Brodrick and he falls for her almost as soon as he meets her. He was very stubborn but so was she and the book captivated me again. There was a side story about Ramsey and Brigite and their blooming love but it was not as good to me. The ending is very abrupt and I wish there was an epilogue. I hate when I leave Garwoods books. I always want more. They are definitely Happy Ever Afters for sure. And a good friend!
Profile Image for Sruthi.
322 reviews
August 21, 2018
Brodick is the synonym for Alpha males and very savage but he is one of those Heroes you want for yourself , Aye Gillian and Brodick's story is heartwarming , Ramsey-Brigid's is like icing on the cake. I am glad I read it, Gonna dig for more Highland stories now.
Profile Image for ivana18.
26 reviews18 followers
October 3, 2014
So I've read another one of Julie Garwood's historical romance books and again I'm both disappointed and satisfied at the same time.

I don't know why she does this. She starts great, but then she kind of loses her mojo and she rushes things trough, and Ransom is no exception.

I loved the beginning, I liked how she took time to introduce the heroine, how she talks about her childhood, about the thing that happened when Gillian was 4 years old. I loved how protective Gillian is about the young boy that evil baron kidnapped and how she helped him escape. Her relationship with the boy is adorable and was very well done. To make the long story short, I loved the beginning even thought it took forever for Gillian to actually meet the hero Brodick.
When they finally do meet it's lovely, sexy and sweet. Brodick is the typical Garwood alpha male....yum, I love her alpha heroes (especially the Highlanders), he resists and resists and resists, but eventually he realizes that he fell for her from the beginning. Gillian is sweet and naive and innocent, yet so very strong and brave and resourceful. This is what I love about Garwood's books. She writes the best heroines and heroes. Her heroines are headstrong but definitely not bitchy. Usually when I'm looking for a HR to read so many times I stumble upon books where the heroine is often described as fiery and headstrong, but when I actually pick up those books most of the time those heroines seem bitchy and whiny.
Garwood's heroes are the best too. The heroes are as alpha as they get, they are sexy and gruff and definitely not very happy about falling in love with the heroines, but when they do fall they fall hard.
The chemistry....oh, this woman sure does know how to make the sparks fly. And the marriage ceremonies in Garwood's books are usually very funny and imaginative (remember Judith and Ian's wedding from The Secret , and Brenna and Connor's wedding from The Wedding or Madelyne and Duncan's from Honor's Splendour?) So of course there's a funny wedding ceremony in Ransome too. Actually it's my favorite of Garwood's wedding ceremonies.
Like I said, Garwood sure can write a funny and sexy book, so why, why, why! does she keep switching from show mode to tell mode to show mode to tell mode....and so on. Small-Stick man banging head against wall Pictures, Images and Photos

At times the show to tell switch is subtle, but it's there.
And why does she switch to warp speed? It' like she wants to put all these things in the book but realizes that if she actually took time to properly develop those subplots her books would be at least 200 pages longer. But she doesn't want to exclude those subplots so she crams too many information on one single page that it looks ridiculous. She keeps retelling the story about how Gillian saved the boy, over and over again. We've read the saving the boy part in details at the time she was actually saving the boy, and we read about it again when Brodick finds out about it....but do we need to read it all over again every single time someone new meets Gillian? She's brave and she saved the boy, we know!!!! So move on with it already!!!!
And what's with Brigid and Ramsey? Why don't they have their own book? It seems like Garwood was planing to write about them but she decided to cram their story into Ransom, and as a result of that their romance doesn't get the intensity it deserves. Brigid and Ramsey's relationship is a distraction.

All in all it was a fun book, but it could have been great, and because I love Garwood's heroines and heroes so much it's a 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for  Simply Sam ツ.
563 reviews77 followers
February 23, 2016
I really wanted to love this book but I thought the two female protagonists were both totally bland nitwits. Beautiful beyond belief with zero personality. Not even the Viking-like alpha Scottish lairds could make up for that. And while they were your typical HR fare (hard exteriors with ooey, gooey centers) they failed to illicit any real emotion. So yes, I read every word of every page but I rolled my eyes a million times (that may be a slight exaggeration) and laughed openly at the inconsistency of the characters. Would I read another in the series? You betcha. Not because the books are great quality reads but because HRs are freaking addicting and I'm a sucker for a happily ever after.
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews835 followers
September 26, 2010
Too annoying to enjoy.

I've read three Julie Garwood novels which were similar: The Secret, Saving Grace and Ransom. All three have an English heroine going to Scotland and falling in love with a Scottish laird. All three women were too saccharine for me. They bring some changes and knowledge to the Scottish people by telling them not to commit certain crimes, to be polite and to have better manners For example one heroine says never steal horses, just borrow them and return them later. One tells the ruling council to give more rights to women. One says a husband doesn't curse in his wife's presence. In two of the books, the heroines bring improved medical knowledge to the Scots. These were too much of the same story and the heroines were too syrupy sweet for me. The heroes were the same, strong, silent warrior types and excellent leaders. In both The Secret and Ransom, the author creates mystery by not having normal communication between the two main characters. In Ransom I was angry at the author for drawing out confusion and mystery through miscommunication. For example, a priest blesses Gillian and Brodick. She thinks it means they are bethrothed (engaged) but the truth is they were married in a method she didn't understand. Later she tells someone she is bethrothed and a soldier says no she is not. If she had then responded to him by asking what the priest had been doing, he would have said that was a wedding. Instead, she says I don't want to talk anymore and walks away. Her not knowing that she was married lasted through several scenes in the book. There were other situations where Brodick would say half of a thought, not finish it and she would assume something incorrect. Or, she overheard part of a conversation, and then assumed something incorrect. Too much of this was happening for me to enjoy the story.

Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: two. Setting: medieval England and Scotland. Copyright: 1999. Genre: historical romance.

For a listing of my reviews of other Julie Garwood books, see my 2 star review of "The Secret" posted on 6/21/08.
Profile Image for ❀ Rose ❀.
287 reviews220 followers
August 5, 2022
Nothing wrong with it but not my absolute favorite by this author (she’s still one if my absolute favs when it comes to HR though. That will never change).
Profile Image for Millie Razeh.
61 reviews8 followers
February 9, 2022
As much as it pains me to give a Julie Garwood book 3 stars, I just had to be honest with myself: This book is like eating pizza with mostly crust. It's still good, but I'm here for the pizza, not the crust.

I was too preoccupied with the plot of the conflict that the romance sometimes became the side plot. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, I'm referring to the obvious clutter in the story. I think Garwood had too many ideas on her mind and focused on including them in the story too much that she forgot what makes her other books so memorable.

This story is about Gillian. One day she helped a boy escape a Baron, this boy turned out to be related to the Highlanders. She's determined to help the boy come back to his family with the help of Brodick, laird of Clan Buchanan. From then on, he is also her protector.
The story sounds simple enough, right? But that's not even the main plot. The main plot has something to do with a box, and the king of England, but then there's also this treachery and this side plot of this woman wanting to marry. Basically... it's a lot.

Not only does Julie Garwood have problems with the plot, but our heroine also seems to be two different characters. I had reasons to believe this girl is a lizard.

I called Gillian #1 for our heroine in the first half and Gillian #2 for the second half. Gillian 1 is protective of Alec (the kid she was trying to save), she's also scared of heights and the dark and lots of stuff but she's always hiding it, she pretends to be brave, she talks very efficiently not at all naive/childish, answers questions with very few words, doesn't sound too friendly to women at first (Judith).

After getting kissed by our hero multiple times, our Gillian 1 transformed into Gillian 2. Gillian 2 is not completely different, she still likes to be mad at our hero/still defies him sometimes, but she was suddenly outspoken and too honest and sometimes naive. She resembled a lot of Garwood's other heroines.
Our hero, Brodick, is... umm... idk how to describe him really. He's not bad, but not my favourite Garwood hero.

The story is filled with SIDE CHARACTERS. My advice is don't try to remember. If you don't remember them in the next 15 pages, then they're not important. You could learn from context. Seriously, I was trying hard to remember the names and I felt sorry for myself because sometimes my effort is for naught. I remembered the name of the character in that conference 150 pages ago and he vanished throughout the book. Garwood could've made that conversation into two paragraphs without telling me the name so I wouldn't be burdened. But, of course, it seems like this book is too detailed and I'm convinced Garwood must've written all these names to remember them. They went on and on about who's training who and who's watching guard and stuff like this, I felt like I was in need of writing stuff down like an intern eager for a job.

But nothing come of it. I get the gist. Sometimes I turn my brain off when we get to part such as those.

The two main characters fall in love abruptly. They just kissed a couple of times and then suddenly they were talking marriage and professing love. I had to stop for a minute to think: wait when did they fall in love... like properly? I realized then, that we the reader was too preoccupied with the plot of the conflict that the romance sometimes became the side plot. That's the main problem.
The middle part of the book is WAY BETTER than the beginning and the end. I found that I appreciate the parts where our main characters are being lovey dovey. The beginning was building the conflict the ending was finishing the conflict, right? Yeah I didn't enjoy that part. The middle part, where the romance is what matters, is what makes this book worth it.

Garwood was so detailed with the story, building branches of subplots that I became too invested in other characters and ended up shipping them more than the MC's. Seriously I was more invested in Bridgid's love life than I was Gillian. I worry for Gillian to deal with her problems in England, therefore I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy her romantic parts as much as I did with Bridgid (a side-character). This has never happened to me in a Garwood book. Also, did anyone notice every girl that has a male interest in Garwood's books is drop-dead gorgeous? I don't have any problems about that of course, but I just thought my imagination is struggling because i kept imagining Gillian's face as the heroine from Garwood's different book.

Anyway, I don't hate the book, but I won't re-read it either. I knew the ending would be good, so I never worry when I read a Garwood book, and that is an accomplishment in itself. Basically this is not Garwood's best, and I am kind of disappointed because it has great reviews. However, this book is still better than most and I don't regret reading it.
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
243 reviews67 followers
March 28, 2021
Anything between 3 to 4 stars. I really wish I'd love this as much as so many others seem to. I'm quite bummed about that, actually. Don't get me wrong, I did (mostly) enjoy this. For one thing, I liked the dialogues between our characters, which provided a couple of laughs, and the characters themselves were fun. Handsome, but intimidating Brodick from book 1 is the hero; pretty-boy Ramsey has a sub-plot. (Ever since GoT I can’t deal with this name.) Also, the writing is a lot better than in Secret; you can tell there are a couple of years between the two publications and the author has improved her narrative technique. The diction is still sometimes cheesy, as is often the case with romances, and I’m fine with that.

BUT. The plot. It was just ridiculous. King John’s lover’s treasure box, above all. I mean who puts a murder weapon inside said box for the king to find?? Then there are so many parallels between The Secret and Ransom that a lot felt recycled. And the writing. Yes, it was better, but it would have been nice to read a description of a kiss that didn’t involve “his lips slanting over hers again and again” and “tongues dueling.”

Finally, I really dislike when a protagonist does not act true to the established character. Our heroine, Gillian, is portrayed as smart, among other things. In this context, I really can’t deal with the wedding scene. The hell, girl, you aren’t usually as slow-witted and naïve! It seems the author sacrificed her heroine in order to create a funny complication.

So you see my dilemma: I truly enjoyed this book despite disliking a few aspects. I actually think it was better in some respects than book 1, but I can’t give this 4 stars, I just can’t. 🤷‍♀️
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