by Sandra Hill

June 2004
ISBN: 0-446-61295-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Charmaine LeDeux, is undoubtedly the most complex, yet loveable female character ever fashioned by the awe-inspiring, creative talent of Sandra Hill. In Hill’s latest addition to the Cajun series, The Cajun Cowboy, Charmaine is the female equivalent of the unforgettable character, Magnus Ericsson, from A Very Virile Viking (minus all those children of course!) Charmaine has all the same charm and get-to-your-heart appeal. She is also the half sister to Lucien, in Hill’s The Love Potion, and Remy, Tall, Dark And Cajun.

Charmaine is a four-time loser at love and marriage and has decided to become a “born again virgin,” (remember that Magnus made a similar vow, one of celibacy) and she is determined to see it through. Why she’s even thinking of having her hymen reconstructed. Yes, in her search for love, she has met quite a few toads along the way. Not only met, but also married them . . .warts and all. Charmaine knows her weaknesses. Her biggest being her first love, and first husband Raoul Lanier. Charmaine has been hiding out from Raoul ever since he appeared in Tall, Dark and Cajun, fresh out of jail for a crime he didn’t commit. She just could not trust herself around him. Raoul, as you might remember, could cause the most faithful of women to have a mini-stroke or near fatal heart attack, just watching him walk into a room. And Charmaine knows better than anyone, that Raoul is 6’3”of dark, gorgeous “temptation on the hoof.”

Raoul has some important news for Charmaine, and has finally managed to trap her in a bar where she is getting properly drunk, to deliver it. It seems that after four marriages, and endless heartache, Charmaine is still married to Raoul. Not only is she still his wife, his misguided father has left her half his ranch in his will. Now she and Raoul were partners in more ways than one.

Charmaine, who just happens to be running from the Dixie Mafia (due to a loan gone badly), decides this may be just the break she has been looking for. Getting plastered sure isn’t helping matters. Raoul, who is defenseless against Charmaine’s appeal, doesn’t want her back in his life, he only wants her to sign the papers relinquishing her rights to the ranch and he will be gone. Instead, Charmaine packs up and moves there, and Raoul is stuck with her and all her enticing ways. In fact, the sparks flying between these two characters could cause a bayou fire the likes of which the whole "Loo-zee-anna" fire departments combined couldn’t douse.

We will revisit too with the impish and intriguing character Tante Lulu, the whole LeDeux family, and some new characters that add dimension and laugh-out-loud amusement. But the biggest accomplishment for Sandra Hill is that she has managed to throw the tired old term “double standard” right out the window. What behavior we readily accept in our heroes (from every genre I might add) we have simply refused (until now) to accept in our heroines.

I know I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating. When you are feeling down or just need a fun escape, go out and buy a Sandra Hill book, I promise, she is “gar-ron-teed” to deliver. Simply put—Sandra Hill is . . . simply Hill-arious!

Reviewed in May 2004 by Janice.

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