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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Female Role Models – Can We Find Them in Romance Novels?

I try not to be a ‘moralist’. I’ve got a pretty big tolerance level and simply think I’m not in any position to judge others, nor do I want to. To each his own, except if they are hurting or encroaching on anyone else's basic human rights. (I think Malala Yousafzai is a very brave young woman and my heart goes out to her and her family.)

So when I’m writing a romance story I don’t necessarily consider whether any of my stories convey a stance on right and wrong, or any other moral position.  I think that comes naturally because a romance story has to have a Happy Ever After, ergo, that would be difficult if nasty things were happening. How could you like someone who hurts you?

But then along comes Fifty Shades of Grey. This book has been trashed by some because of the way the heroine allows herself to be treated. I must admit I haven’t read the book because from the little snippets I’ve read, and heard discussed, I know the book would make me angry. I’m a pretty strong woman, I admit it, and there is no way I’d let myself be treated like that. He’d be ‘down the road and on his bike’ quick smart if he tried to play those games with me.

I prefer my heroines to be positive role models for women. Strong, loyal, compassionate, selfless and intelligent. My latest Regency release, TO CHALLENGE THE EARL OF CRAVENSWOOD, the final book in my Wicked Wagers trilogy, heroine, Amy Shipton, is just such a woman. She is introduced in book two, To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone. In book two she releases hero Marcus Danvers, an extremely handsome, rich and honorable man from their engagement because she knows Marcus is in love with another. Unheard of in Regency times. A very brave thing to do, but of course the right thing.

Many readers emailed me about Amy and how they wanted her to get her HEA. Obviously I had succeeded in making Amy very likeable, and a woman we can all relate to. That to me is a sign that romance novels can produce role models. I obviously made sure Amy gets her HEA in the final book. However, not without a bit of angst and misunderstanding along the way.

Here's the blurb...

To live happily ever after...

Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. Whentochallengetheearl180x240 they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way.  But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he's searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he's called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman's name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she's determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She's not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.

AMAZON B&N KOBO and more to come soon...

So, yes, I think romance heroines can be good role models.  Or rather, I think authors can write great romance heroines. My heroines try to be true to their values and beliefs, which I know many women struggle with due to peer pressure or media pressure or work pressure etc.  In return, I have to make sure my heroes are deserving of such warm and loyal women, by showing that they can treat her like a Queen and shower her with love, respect, and the honor she deserves.

Do you think romance heroines can be role models? Let me know your views in the comments below and be in to WIN an eBook copy of To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood. Open internationally. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Bron,

I definitely know today's romance heroines can be role models regardless of the period of time in which they live. My concern is how many young women read/saw Twilight and now believe a man must come to their rescue. I just finished reading Stephanie Lauren's "The Lady Risks All". Her heroine is intelligent and comes up with as many solutions, if not more, than the hero.

And, thank you for mentioning Malala - she is a true real life heroine and I pray she gets her HEA in all aspects of her life.

Ingeborg said...

Yes I think they can be role models. I have read of some who are brave and intelligent.


Maggie Jaimeson said...

The reason I love to read romance is because a well-written heroine can be a role model. Sometimes she starts off as you describe "Strong, loyal, compassionate, selfless and intelligent." Other times she has to grow into being that person. Either way, I want to read her journey. Thanks for writing these kinds of books.

Anonymous said...

I love historical romances. And i've noticed that most heroines are being portrayed as strong women, and different from the norm. That's why so many are involved in scandals! And as much as the heros are looking for docile misses to get heirs, they just all fall hopelessly in love with our strong women!

God, I love it! WOMEN POWER!

Christy Carlyle said...

I definitely think romance heroines can be role models. I always say that in a romance novel, I need to fall in love with the hero and be able to like the heroine. Female characters that are silly, incapable, needy or even too perfect just turn me off. I love to find (and write) heroines that are flawed but have moments of extraordinary bravery, kindness, and strength. Most of all, I like intelligent heroines that can hold their own with any man.

Thanks this thought-provoking post. Can't wait to read your new release, Bronwen. :)

B. A. Binns said...

I have read Fifty Shades, all three books I admit it, even though I oncesaid I never would. And having gotten past the first few chapters, something I wonder if many of its detracter have done, I do think I can consider that heroine a role model.

First, she's a college girl. People say they want New Adult books, but when the college girls acts as unsure as this girl does at the beginning, they don't say realistic, they just call her a wuss. If I had been as strong, determined, and knowledgeable in my college years as I am now, I'd be emporess of the world.

Seriously, we get to watch this girl change and grow, make some bad decisions (some really bad ones), but still learn and change and become a woman. I'd call her a role model just for that. And when she sees through the heros act of being all in control and calls him on it, even leaving him until he agrees to change - well, shrinks would have less of a job if more women could do that instead of sticking with a man because they "love" him. Of course, he's also rich, and handsome, and adores the ground she walks on - but that's the fairy tale part of romance. I think some girls could do worse than look at that heroine and her decision making ability, the strength she grows into, and her drive, and do a lot worse for a role model.