Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Heroines in Romance Novels

During the ‘Hero Blog Hop’ at the end of last month, someone asked me if there was going to be a ‘Heroine Blog Hop’. As I haven’t seen one advertised anywhere, I thought I’d take a look anyway at my heroines.

First of all, what’s my ideal romance novel heroine?

Gone are the days (thank heaven!) when heroines in romance novels were wimps, waiting for the alpha heroes to seduce (if not actually rape) and dominate them. Ugh, not my scene at all.

I want my heroines to be independent and intelligent women. They don’t:
(a) think they’re ‘incomplete’ without a man, but they do find joy in loving and being loved.
(b) want to dominate or be dominated, but consider themselves equal.
(c) think of themselves as someone’s ‘other half’ but want to bring to the relationship their whole self, and they want their man to do the same.

They want a relationship with mutual respect, caring, understanding and, of course, love. Of course, they’re not perfect – they may have their inner insecurities or they make mistakes, but they’re prepared to admit to these and do whatever they can to put things right.

In ‘His Leading Lady’, Jessica Harper is very much her own person. She understands her twin sister Lora in a way no-one else really does and her loyalty leads her to cover for Lora who’s gone missing on the eve of rehearsals for a new West End show (in which Lora has the lead role). Jess can hold her own with super-confident theatre director Kyle Drummond too, and overcomes her own lack of confidence about taking on a lead role in London’s West End. It’s her personality which eventually leads Kyle to show the tender, more compassionate side of his nature.

One reviewer wrote: Jess is by far my favorite character...strong willed, smart, and most of all REAL! You can really connect to her character.

In ‘Fragrance of Violets’, Abbey Seton is at a low point in her life. She’d had a successful acting career, but now she’s failed to get the role she’d set her heart on, so she’s suffering a confidence crisis. She’s also aware of her inability to ‘forgive and forget’ – first the father who abandoned his family when she was younger, and then her best friend Jack Tremayne who, in her mind, had ruined their friendship when they were in their teens. When Jack comes back into her life, she’s forced to explore her own issues of forgiveness and trust.

One reviewer wrote: Abbey's prejudice is cleverly explained and my heart went out to her. I felt her anger and disgust, her pain and disillusionment as she remembers how her father abandoned his family and let them down time and time again.

In ‘Changing the Future’, Lisa has made a new life for herself and her young son after Paul walks out of her life. When they meet again, she has to come to terms with her anger and resentment, and eventually with her realisation that Paul wasn’t the only one responsible for the break-up of their earlier relationship.

In ‘Her Only Option’ (my next release in November), Neve Dalton loves her life as a River Nile cruise ship tour guide. She loves her independence too, and isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend. She’s not ready, either, to have her life turned upside-down by the compelling archaeologist Ross McAllister. But she then has to make a heart-breaking decision in order to protect the man who has set her soul on fire.

All my heroines commit themselves, heart and soul, to the men they love – and at the same time, they learn more about themselves as they struggle to overcome the problems which threaten to keep them apart.


  1. Absolutely spot on. I hated those wimpy girls who simpered through novels.

  2. Thanks, Margaret - glad you agree!

  3. Hi Paula!

    Yup, I'd agree with all of those as well. I don't like the alpha anything, hero or heroine. I'm not fond of heroes who dominate, and I don't like heroines who do either. don't mind a heroine who's not quite strong in the beginning, if it's part of her growth. But not the kind wimpy where the hero's a jerk and she's just taking it. That kind of wimpy drives me batty, too.

    If that makes any sense. lol Really, I prefer heroines who feel like you could meet them on the street.

    Great topic!

  4. See, I knew we thought alike, Joanne! I hate the brash alphas too - they're unrealistic to me. But maybe we should collaborate on a novel entitled 'The Wimp and the Jerk' LOLOL!!
    Seriously, though, one of the best compliments I ever had about one of my novels was that the characters were real people living real lives. The kind you could meet on the street, as you say.

  5. aha! Yup, we think alike, cause that's exactly what I think of whenever I read alpha heroes like that--it's just not realistic. Those are the guys you're begging your friend to dump.

    'The Wimp and the Jerk'--LMAO!! I love it.

    Now that is definitely a compliment. congrats. :)

  6. Your Emma and Dillon were real people too, Joanne. That's why I enjoyed 'The Playboy's Baby' so much. Loved the moment when Dillon held Annie the first time! And yes, I will get around to writing a review on Amazon - just not had the time yet!

  7. I do like an equal partnership, Paula, in real life and fiction!

  8. So do I, Rosemary - which is why I am completely at a loss to understand the current 'craze' for dominants and submissives (as in 50 Shades). Do women REALLY want (or fantasise about) that kind of relationship?? It's a total turn-off for me!

  9. In a relationship, it doesn't really matter whether it's the man or the woman that puts in the effort, what matters most is appreciation and reciprocation. Stories that we read in romance novels may or may not happen in real life but one thing is for sure -- love binds the two of you together. Remember, you know your partner better than anyone ever will. :)