Title: Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas
Ransom Canyon Series Book One
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Length: 363 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas is a wonderful novel of new beginnings and unexpected love. The town of Crossroads, TX and surrounding Ransom Canyon prove to be a fascinating and enticing backdrop for this first installment in the Ransom Canyon series.
Rancher Staten Kirkland has deep roots in the community and despite the heartbreak of his past, he would never leave the land his ancestors fought so hard to keep. In his early forties, he is a taciturn widower who closely guards his heart from further loss. When his memories are too difficult to bear on his own, he turns to longtime friend Quinn O’Grady and their shared past helps ease the pain of their tragic losses. However, even with Quinn, Staten is careful to maintain an emotional distance but a simple request from her becomes a pivotal point in their relationship.
Although she is also a bit of a loner, Quinn is a well respected farmer who is also deeply entrenched in the close knit town. A gifted pianist, she left town years early in order to study music in New York but she returned home twenty years earlier. She is quiet and unassuming but she has long been a part of Staten’s life. Quinn has been satisfied with their friendship but she finally works up the courage to make a request that takes Staten completely off guard and irrevocably changes the course of their relationship.
Newcomer Yancy Grey is fresh out of prison and although his ties to Crossroads are tenuous, the small town is his first choice to start over. His plan for his future is not exactly noble, but a chance encounter with a group of elderly retirees changes the course of his life. However, his past unexpectedly catches up with him and Yancy is forced into an untenable position that could destroy the progress he has made with turning his life around.
Lucas Reyes might be still be a teenager, but he has already decided what he wants for his future. In between going to school, he is working hard as a ranch hand for Staten so he can save up for college. He is quiet and hard working with a good head on his shoulders, but when one of his acquaintances talks his friends into exploring an abandoned house, Lucas goes along with them to keep an eye on Lauren Brigham, the sheriff’s daughter. His quick thinking saves her and another friend when their explorations turn dangerous, and an unlikely friendship forms between Lucas and Lauren.
The chapters in the novel alternate primarily between Staten’s, Lucas’s and Yancy’s points of view. The changes in perspective are clearly marked at the beginning of each chapter and each of the characters has a distinct voice. The characters are at different stages in their lives and their ages vary so the challenges each are facing are unique and quite interesting. Equally fascinating is the ease in which Jodi Thomas brings the various characters together with a suspense laden storyline that perfectly showcases their hidden strengths.
Staten’s relationship with Quinn brings an understated romantic element to the novel. Their longstanding, close friendship provides a strong foundation for their evolving relationship. Their scenes together are very touching and despite their ease with one another, they realize they have a lot to learn about each other. It is very gratifying watching their friendship grow and deepen into a real relationship on equal footing.
Jodi Thomas’s Ransom Canyon series is off to strong start with Ransom Canyon. The characters are multi-faceted and immensely appealing. The various story arcs are interesting and although not all of them are fully resolved, the major storylines and romances are completely wrapped up by the conclusion of Ransom Canyon. The sneak peek of the next book in the series, Rustler’s Moon, is quite intriguing and the introduction of new characters will leave fans impatiently awaiting its release.