Unlike most Victorians, Stevenson considered the romance a valid literary form. He claimed that the form provided mental relief from the pressures of everyday life and felt that romances needed to be written as carefully as any other type of literature. Thus, while Kidnapped may seem to be merely a good adventure story at first, it also should be appreciated for its substantial literary value.
The adventures of David Balfour in Kidnapped proceed along a wild but understandable course; the plot is symmetrical and easy to follow. David loses his parents, leaves home to learn about his inheritance, is kidnapped to keep him from that birthright, and spends much of the book trying to get back home so that he can obtain his due.
What sets this adventure story apart from so many others are the little touches that illuminate character.
Stevenson also builds suspense as he develops realistic...