San Antonio Seduction
I asked to review San Antonio Seduction, as the Downtown Riverwalk in San Antonio is one of my favorite places in the world. Unfortunately, while the author does a great job of giving the reader the feel of the area, this story failed on all other levels. In fact, life on the Riverwalk and its surroundings receives more characterization then the people in the story.
Cassie Rogers is a young fiddle player who moved to San Antonio from Dallas, where her mom owns a Christmas store. Cassie‘s lifelong dream is to own her own store on the Riverwalk. Her excitement on opening day as she danced through the store was truly delightful. I pictured Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat in the air as Cassie flipped over her “Open” sign.
Unfortunately, as soon as she opens her door, she is visited by a behemoth of a cat. The cat races through the store wreaking havoc, then climbs one of her Christmas trees to reach a large teddy bear sitting on a high shelf. Once on the shelf the cat curls up and goes to sleep on “his” teddy bear.
As Cassie tries to cope with the cat, a young boy picks up an expensive angel ornament that fell to the floor and runs from the shop. As she pursues him yelling “stop thief!”, the owner of the bookstore next door grabs him and attempts to explain and deal with the boy’s actions. Mitch Williams introduces himself and pays her for the ornament, as he knows the boy stole the ornament for what turns out to be a very touching reason. However, Cassie will listen to nothing he has to say and won’t even give him her name after she finds out the cat is his as well.
This beginning sets the course for Cassie’s actions for the entire book. As Cassie struggles to run her store with a very slim backing of capital, accidents and mishaps in the store keep her from making a profit. The villain of the piece is quite obvious, but Cassie, in true TSTL form, allows that person to poison her actions toward her neighbor Mitch in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Cassie irrationally blames Mitch for everything from the failure of items to be delivered in time for her opening, to making her sink overflow and other mishaps which are obviously the work of the true villain. But, apparently, like mother, like daughter, for when Cassie’s mother Julia arrives to help, Julia is as rude to Mitch’s father as Cassie is to Mitch. Why these two great men pursue this pair is the true mystery in this story.
But, for reasons known only to the author, Mitch falls in love with Cassie at first sight, even though she continually rebuffs and doubts him. Frankly, I hadn’t a clue why a nice guy like Mitch would keep putting up with Cassie and again this is part of the problem with the entire book: Mitch is just too perfect and tolerant.
Part of the book’s problem was an almost complete lack of characterization. One never gets any sense of Mitch except that he is a fabulously helpful and nice guy. In fact, his cat Little Bit is better described than Mitch and is, in fact, one of the best parts of this story. His determination to be with “his” teddy bear is believable to anyone who has ever owned a cat.
Another problem was that the author’s sentence structure kept pulling me out of the story. Long run-on sentences that composed very disjointed paragraphs made for awkward reading. Also, this is one of the new books given a taller profile with large print. Its 337 page count was really more like a 200 page mass market paperback. The result is that characterization and plot actions don’t read like a full-length novel.
While I enjoyed the details of life on the Riverwalk, there was little else I liked about San Antonio Seduction. Yes, it made me hungry for Tex Mex, but it left me starving on all other levels.