by Shobhan Bantwal
author of The Reluctant Matchmaker and other books
Handsome looks, assertive personalities, and bold exploits are typically the stuff romance novel heroes are made of. Even the bad boys are somehow lovable because of their naughty-yet-innately good qualities. So, are men with average looks and subdued dispositions likely to be labeled 'heroes' in romance novels? Most likely not.
However, perhaps because I was born and raised in India, a traditional culture that places more emphasis on practical matters such as family values, job security, and fidelity over appearance and personality, it is no surprise that my favorite fictional hero is Atticus Finch of Harper Lee's old classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
An "Average Joe" when it comes to physical looks, Atticus is in every other aspect a true hero in my humble opinion. In my own books, my lead male characters are rather nondescript, and yet it is their generosity and caring nature that makes them heroes.
A young widower struggling to raise two young children in a conservative small town in the deep South of the 1930s, Atticus embodies everything that is decent, unbiased, kind, and supremely courageous. As a young Caucasian lawyer defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, he is keenly aware of the repercussions of his actions in a race-torn southern town, he nonetheless sticks to his principles. He is a shining role model, an ideal husband and father.
And yet, to the young women of his time, his marital and family status combined with his liberal ideas on racial equality and justice might be the very traits that are unromantic and not quite so sexy.
Nevertheless, Atticus is my ideal hero.
Tell us about your favorite fictional heroes and why you love them so much by posting your comments.