My favorite romance trope or cliche involves the wallflower. Maybe it's because I've always related to wallflowers. They tend to be overlooked and underestimated. Haven't we all felt that way at some point? And I like the variety of wallflowers. Some are shy, some too intellectual to fit in with the other silly girls, and some are rebellious, purposely flouting social conventions. Those are my favorite kinds of heroines.
My heroine, Elizabeth Ainsworth, in my first novella, Scandalous Wager, is a bit of a wallflower. She's overshadowed by her prettier, more accomplished sister, or at least she feels that she is. She's more interested in her work as a teacher than learning how to flirt and be a coquette. But the hero, Detective Inspector Ian Reed, has eyes only for Lizzy.
That's what I love best about wallflowers. Underestimated as they may be by those around them, they always get their man. Well, at least in romance novels. And they don't just get any man; they get the dishy hero. One of my favorite combinations is the wallflower with the bad boy/rogue/rake hero that truly has a heart of gold and simply needs the healing, transforming love of the heroine to become the man he was always meant to be. In my opinion wallflower + redeemable rake = great romance.
Fantastic historical romance author Maya Rodale is currently in the middle of an entire series devoted to wallflowers. Her third book in the series is due out this month, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first two: The Wicked Wallflower and Wallflower Gone Wild.
|Emma Thompson as Elinor|
Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility
This is a key to the best wallflower stories. It should be the very aspects of her character—those traits which classify her as a wallflower in the first place—which capture the hero's notice, admiration, and love. Being loved for her unique qualities makes the wallflower's victory that much sweeter.
Do you like wallflower stories? Do you have a favorite wallflower from romance or literature?