Quick, name your favorite type of romance heroine. No, no, not all at once. One at a time. Virgins? Good. Romance has lots of those. Widows? Also good. Got those, too. Virgin widows? Believe it or not, some readers believe romancelandia may have a few too many of those. Then again, is it truly possible to have too many heroines? Some books, namely f/f romance even have two. While some non-romance readers may assume that there is only one type of romance heroine, we romance readers know that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This week, we’re all about the wonderful women of romance, so get comfy; it’s ladies’ night all day, every day.
Romance is the genre where the woman always wins, and when we say “woman,” we mean all of them. Readers hoping to find women like them in romance novels are in luck, because romance heroines are a diverse bunch. There are college students, single moms (college student single moms? Sure, why not?) housekeepers, CEOs, members of the military, Amishwomen, princesses, both warrior and non-warrior varieties, queens, farmers, first responders, damsels and divorcees, doctors, explorers, chefs, bankers, pastors, witches, vampires, shapeshifters, homemakers, and about a million more occupations. They’re different ages, shapes, sizes, and can come from anywhere in the world, and any point in time. There’s still room for more diversity, but that’s another great thing about romance heroines; they’re resourceful and up to any challenge.
From a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners urban fantasy heroine, or her historical counterpart, some heroines are bold and brash, as comfortable with a weapon as their hero is, and, sometimes, even more so, ready to teach him a thing or two, in life and in love, to a shy wallflower who has hidden depths saved for only the hero man enough to see her true worth, romance heroines are the center of the story. Romance is a genre largely for and by women, though there are a few gents who both read and write, so it’s no surprise that heroines are front and center on many covers.
No matter what point in history a romance heroine lives. she has the challenge of making her way in what is often a man’s world. As with the sister genre, women’s fiction, most romance heroines would turn out all right if their heroes never existed. Dependent on a man for their happiness or success? Not these gals. From the historical heroines keen to make an advantageous marriage (or adamantly refuse to do so) to the modern woman of today, juggling career, family, and her own desires (both in and out of the boudoir) to futuristic explorers and any of the above with paranormal abilities, each of these women has her own life goal, that’s still important, with or without a partner in her life.
What the romance heroine desires most in a partner isn’t washboard abs or a bottomless bank account (though neither of those things hurt, not in the least) but a willingness to help her become her best self, and have her back on her way there. They may clash with the eventual loves of their lives, and, even in the sweetest of sweet romances, they aren’t blind to their physical charms, but the true magic comes in the way their true loves complement (okay, and compliment, because romance heroes know how to appreciate the women they love) the woman the heroine always had the potential to be.
Romance heroines have some of the best lines. They can stand up to the worst villains, play the social game like nobody else, kick some paranormal tushie, rule countries, raise children, save lives, and dispatch the baddies with equal aplomb. In family sagas, or long-running series, we can even see some heroines pass their awesomeness down to the next generation, as the adorable baby girls we saw in the first generation’s epilogue grow up to be heroines themselves and have their own adventures, in life as well as in love.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you have a favorite type of romance heroine? Favorite romance heroine, period? What sort of heroine do you think romance could use more of than we currently have? Pull up a chair in the comments section and tell us all about it. If you don’t see your favorite type of romance heroine nearly enough, or even at all, or prefer your romances heroine-free (m/m is pretty darned popular) we want to hear about that, too. There’s room for everybody at this table.