McCaughrean’s version of Edmond Rostand’s celebrated and classic romantic tale is delightful. Readers of all ages will appreciate the author’s engaging style in retelling the story of Roxanne and Cyrano. As in Rostand’s version, beautiful Roxanne persuades the long-nosed, self-conscious Cyrano to become the go-between connecting her and the love of her life, the handsome Christian de Neuvillette. Cyrano, who is helplessly in love with his cousin Roxanne, cannot refuse and befriends the inarticulate young man.
However, Roxanne longs for a romance with a passionate writer, and Christian cannot play this part. Cyrano, in keeping with his pledge to Roxanne, intervenes and produces lavish love letters to Roxanne and signs them from Christian. This correspondence is really a declaration of Cyrano’s own adoration for the maiden. As with any ruse, there is a cost, and Roxanne, Christian, and Cyrano pay a dear price. Geraldine McCaughrean delivers a wonderful rendition of Rostand’s tale, whisking the reader through exhilarating swordfights, balcony love encounters, and dramatic war scenes; it ends with the acknowledgment of tender friendship. Ages 12 and up.