So, who writes your favorite heroines?
We discussed heroes already, and my deep love for Linda Howard’s uber-alpha males. When it comes to heroines, I like the woman who can work around every obstacle the hero tosses up in front of her. She's clever and observant, knowing that if the hero says, “Stay here and don’t move” in the middle of a gun fight, it’s probably because he doesn't want her getting shot and there’s a strong likelihood of exactly that happening.
I despise the too stupid to live (TSTL) heroine who decides to follow the hero into danger because she refuses to take orders from any man, or because she just knows he’s going to get hurt, or because she thinks her untrained self can somehow assist in a very specialized situation. And then she gets kidnapped or injured and the hero has to risk his life (again) in order to save her. I realize that oftentimes there wouldn't be a plot or climax in the book without her making a reckless decision, but why does her stupidity or rebelliousness or stubbornness have drive the story? If you create an intelligent, reasonable heroine, you can find a motive for her to be kidnapped that doesn't end with me throwing the book across the room.
In general, my favorite heroines often pop up in books by Nora Roberts, Julie James, Loretta Chase and Anne Mallory, just to name a few. Roberts is the reigning queen of romance for very good reason – she writes strong, flawed, entirely realistic characters. Roberts’ heroines are the ones you want to invite over for pizza and a movie, because you know they’d be fun to hang out with. And James creates that same BFF-able woman in her books. A James heroine is well educated (especially considering they’re often lawyers) and ready to stand up for what she knows is right. She’s also liable to curse and not take any guff from a man, even if he is super hot and she’s sleeping with him. James’ ladies are welcome for pizza night too! And I’m guessing both groups will bring a nice bottle of wine with them.
Chase and Mallory write historicals, so I never really consider inviting their characters over for movies, but that doesn't mean I don’t adore them.
Sidebar: Can you imagine the barrage of questions about everything if you brought two Regency characters forward in time just for movie night? Even if they chose to time travel, knowing it would be only for a few hours of food and entertainment, you’d never get to watch the actual movie with the questions about your weird clothes and the magical electricity and how to flush the toilet and what’s a pizza and I don’t know what peanut butter is but if you say it’s used to flavor this vodka it really is delicious.
I mentioned Chase in the first post I did about my favorite heroes with Dain (Marquess of, Sebastian Ballister) from Lord of Scoundrels. In case you missed it the first time – one of the best romances ever written. Period. The other half of what makes LoS so amazing is Jessica Trent, heroine and rake manager extraordinaire. Jessica is incredibly smart and knows that Dain can (and will, if given half a chance) outmaneuver her in a second, so she’s constantly parrying and strategizing to stay one step ahead of him. One of my favorite Mallory characters is Phoebe Pace from In Total Surrender. Phoebe is understated and persistent, and while the world is running about with its hair on fire all around her, she’s watching and learning, quietly soaking in all the information so she’s completely prepared for whatever the future brings.
Whose heroines do you most want to invite over to watch Dirty Dancing, eat pizza, and gossip about boys?