The Seduction Of Roxanne
by Linda Jones, historical (2000)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52357-4

Linda Jones takes the story of Cyrano de Bergerac and transports it to Paris, Texas. The hero Cyrus Bergeron (er...) is the Sheriff who has a long, one-sided crush on the beautiful Roxanne Robinette, a widow whom he has promised her late (his buddy) to watch out for. The Other Guy, the handsome upstart, is Cyrus' deputy, Calvin Newbury.

For those unfamiliar with the Cyrano story, it's basically a tale of a man with the largest nose this side of Pinocchio matchmaking the woman he loves with a handsome shallow twit. This time, Cyrus is scarred and he has a Secret that makes him feel unworthy of Roxanne. Hence, he matchmakes Calvin with Roxanne, sending the woman love letters that make her heart flutter. Roxanne is attracted to the sensitive, loving man who wrote the letters, but the man seems to be Calvin, handsome but pretty boring, and dang it, she's attracted to Cyrus. What to do?

Now, I have a soft spot for men who love from afar. And while Cyrus' reason to stay away isn't exactly original - he feels guilty over her hubby's death, the usual - he is a very likable man. He does care for her, that the author succeeds in conveying, and his efforts to provide Roxanne with happiness makes him a man worth fighting for in my opinion. He's the best thing about this story.

That is, until the author uses the yawn-inducing and well-worn Push her away, she's too good for me angle once too many. It is one thing to think she's too good for him, but when she is willing to give her heart and shoulder to him and he still pushes her away... well. Where's the caveman club I borrowed from Bam Bam?

Roxanne starts out a twitty sort of woman, but to my pleasant surprise, she develops into a woman of substance as the story progresses. Funny really, but after a while I begin to believe Cyrus. She's too good for him. Girlfriend, take a ship to the real Paris and learn how to French kiss with a mysterious and romantic Frenchman!

The Seduction Of Roxanne is a mixed bag, really. The characters are pretty likable, but they don't exactly stand out from the glut of romances out there. The plot's pretty run-of-the-mill and the whole story lacks any real surprises. And the love scenes tend to take on a purplish hue.

But I am somewhat fond of Cyrus and Roxanne, and I'm pretty glad to see them walk off into the sunset. Hmm. I guess The Seduction Of Roxanne isn't so bad, in fact, it makes a pretty wonderful read on a nice, lazy evening. If only it isn't so blasted familiar.

Rating: 76

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