This morning I have a review of Jodi Thomas’ Ransom Canyon, but first, Jodi dropped by the virtual offices with a special greeting for all of you!
Greeting from Jodi:
The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle. I wanted to write about the real west of today. I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true. Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn. He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.
As I began my first book in the series Staten Kirkland jumped off the page. He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him. She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.
Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth. Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone. The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past.
Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, the town will start to feel like home. My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.
So come along with me on a series set in today’s West. You’ll love it.
May Contain Spoilers
One of the aspects of a Jodi Thomas novel that I enjoy is getting to know all of the characters. There are usually 5 or 6 major characters, and their personal stories are told from alternating points of view. Because of the small town setting, their lives often intersect, so we get so see how others perceive them, too. Ransom Canyon takes place in Crossroads, Texas, a tiny town that most people just pass through without a second glance. Staten Kirkland’s family has lived there for generations, running a large cattle ranch and investing their time and money supporting the small, close-knit community. The story is mainly Staten’s struggle to learn how to live again after the tragic deaths of his beloved wife and teenage son.
Staten wasn’t my favorite character. He’s emotionally detached because of his heartbreaking past, and I thought he was just taking advantage of Quinn, a childhood friend who has become his buddy with benefits. Quinn was his wife’s BFF. After Staten’s wife succumbed to cancer, and his son died in an accident just a few years later, his world crumbled. He found himself seeking comfort from Quinn, a reclusive woman he’s known all his life. Whenever the weather turned dark and stormy, just like the night his son was taken from him, he visits Quinn. She never turns him away, and more times than not, they end up in bed. Then Staten steals quietly from her small house and heads back home, firmly putting any feelings or deeper meaning to their hookups out of his mind.
Quinn has loved Staten since grade school. She has kept it a secret, because her best friend and Staten had already formed an unbreakable bond. After Staten loses his family, Quinn is content to give what comfort she can, knowing that Staten will never return her feelings. When unplanned complications arise, their friendship is put to the test. This is when I decided that I really didn’t like Staten all that much. The guy is completely clueless. Quinn lives like a hermit, and she is uncomfortable around other people, so for him to voice his doubts like he did got him exactly what he deserved. While he eventually manned up, I wasn’t completely won over by his contrite apology.
The other characters are Lucas and Lauren, high school students who both have their stuff together. Lucas wants to make something of himself, so he works on ranches, moving the cattle from one pasture to another, riding fence lines, and saving every penny he earns. He has big dreams, and he’s not going to let anything get in the way of them. He has a crush on Lauren, the sheriff’s daughter, but because she’s younger than him, and because the timing isn’t right, he decides that their friendship is going to be more important, right now, than dating her. Lauren’s also an intelligent, caring young woman, and she agrees with Lucas. They both have things to accomplish before they can even consider a romantic relationship. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, and that is the theme of their relationship. Of all the couples in the story, though, I thought they have the soundest foundation for a lasting relationship, and I hope we see more of them in later installments.
Yancey rounds out the cast. He’s a young ex-con, in town looking for an opportunity to score a little cash and move on. His plans are interrupted when his backpack and all of his meager possessions are stolen, and if it weren’t for the kindness of the small local retirement community, he’d be up a creek without a paddle. Yancey is a fun character because he has so few practical life experiences. He’s spent most of life on the wrong side of the law, in and out of jail because he can’t catch a break. When the seniors take him under their wing, he finally discovers a sense of belonging that had been missing in his life. It helps to ground him, and finding steady employment and a group of people who care for him make all the different in the world. He’s goofy, naïve despite his rough edges, and he was probably my favorite character.
If you are a fan of Jodi Thomas, Ransom Canyon won’t disappoint. If you haven’t read her yet, give it a try. I find her books fast, soothing reads. Despite how messed up a character’s life may appear at first, you can be confident that they will find the right person to love them and give them their HEA.
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.