Welcome to my blog series, Let‘s Talk, where I’ll be dissecting all the parts of a romance book from the covers to the characters. I’ll share some of my favorites, talk about pet peeves, and discuss why each element is so important to the overall story.
Last month we talked about the Hero so it’s only fitting to talk about the true star of any romance, the Heroine. I’m not a writer, so maybe I’m off base, but I feel that in romance the Heroine is one of the hardest things to write. Readers want to understand the Heroine, relate to them, and respect them, but when they don’t quite live up to our (sometimes unfair) expectations, we may come down hard on them. Of course, I don’t mean to criticize readers or claim we’re all the same just that we’re human.
Since I started reading romance books at 14 years old I’ve seen a wide variety of heroines and have seen my preferences in heroines change and grow as time went by. But some things have stayed everlasting and there are Heroines I loved many years ago that still endure for me.
There is nothing quite like the kick-ass heroine who can take care of herself and doesn’t need the hero to save her. Girl power!! Often times these heroines come from tough pasts or broken relationships and they’ve learned to depend on no one but themselves. They’re independent, strong, oftentimes stubborn, and they aren’t afraid to jump into the action when needed. For most of my early years in romance I couldn’t find these heroines as they weren’t as popular so I branched out to fantasy and science fiction where these women were more common. But nowadays these badass heroines are front and center and I love every second of it!
Similar to the kick-ass heroine is the feisty heroine who is outspoken, courageous, and has no problem calling the hero on his bullshit when needed. With lots of fire and passion these heroines are a blast to read and they inspire me to always stay true to myself. A personal favorite for these books is when the hero is perplexed on how to handle these women who are unlike any they’ve been with before.
Another favorite is the sweet heroine who captures the love interest’s heart through her compassion, her care taking and her honest demeanor. I feel that readers sometimes mistake the sweet heroine for weak but that’s just not the case. These women might not be physically strong and they may need the hero to protect them but they have a quiet strength. They’re often natural caretakers and they find ways to protect their love interest in ways that really matter but don’t always make a big splash. In fact, the ability of these heroines to be open with their emotions and be vulnerable to others is beautiful.
I’m a sucker for the survivor heroine because these are often deeply emotional reads all about comfort and healing. These heroines have been through something tragic, be it cancer or an illness or an awful attack but they refuse to give up. There’s nothing more inspiring then someone who has been through a hardship and is determined to keep on living. While the hero might help and support them through the process, survivor heroines have the emotional and mental strength to fight on their own.
I would say that heroes are more often grouped into categories rather than heroines but these four pretty much cover my favorites. When it comes to heroines I dislike, it’s generally heroines who do too many stupid things or heroines who are doormats. Most readers know the term Too Stupid To Live (TSTL) but I try not to use this because it’s pretty harsh. Everyone is allowed mistakes so I try not to judge heroines too hard, but sometimes a heroine just keeps making stupid choice after stupid choice. And the doormat goes back to the Old Skool romance where women just let everything happen to them. Few and far between, but I can’t read about these heroines when they do pop up..
Come back in July to check out the next in the Let’s Talk series where I’ll be covering some of my favorite Relationship tropes.