By Jeff Salter
This topic threw me, because – truly – I don’t read all that many books I’d characterize as romances. But while I was pondering, I remembered a movie from the early 80s with a writer, Cathy Palmer, who wins a big contest. The prize is a trip to Paris to meet her idol, the wildly popular author Margaret McMann who’s written a whole series of novels featuring the fictional heroine, Rebecca Ryan — a glamorous international spy.
Though her oppressive and cloddish husband tells her not to go, Cathy goes anyway — she earned it!
After an accident in Paris, however, Cathy becomes the character Rebecca. There are twists and turns a-plenty as her temporary delusion intersects with real-life intrigue. The hapless Alan McMann (son of the famous author) – beautifully played by Tom Conti – spends most of the movie scrambling to keep up with her. Plenty of surprises (and fun) along the way.
JoBeth Williams plays Cathy/Rebecca; I love her boldness, enthusiasm, confidence, and courage. Later, her vulnerability resurfaces as she confronts the domineering husband.
My favorite romance hero?
Cyrano is high on the list.
He’s brave, brash, and larger than life; he compensates for his appearance (huge nose) by wit and swordplay.
Falls in love but knows (or believes) Roxanne will never love him, so he helps a handsome younger guy – rather a simpleton – woo her and win her.
Cyrano keeps up the pretense because it keeps him near Roxanne, even though he can never consummate their relationship… or even let her know those were his words and feelings in the darkness.
He risks his life many times just to communicate with her. Finally in old age, Cyrano inadvertently reveals it was him all along, and then he dies.
So sad… so romantic.
Jose Ferrer version (1950)
Gerard Depardieu version (1990)
Who is YOUR favorite romantic heroine or hero?
[JLS # 246]