I don't need no stinkin' man!

Rough and tough heroines, that's something we never talk about in the romance world. I'm personally all for heroines being independent, strong, intelligent, but what I don't like are heroines who seem so tough they don't really even need the hero. I've noticed this seems to be a new trend in today's romance books. Kick-ass heroines.

At some point I like a tough gal, but I want her to have a soft center too. I want her to be a little vulnerable. I think it lends to the romance of the story. I guess I like those big, strong heroes to come in and save the damsel in distress. I'm a romantic at heart and there's nothing more romantic than a manly man wanting to protect and cherish his lady.

Of course that's not to say I don't love those feisty heroines with the attitude and the witty comebacks. I love when the heroine can put the hero in his place, how fun is that, right? But I don't want her to be so tough that she doesn't, at some point, show a softer side. This is clearly a personal preference. And I'm curious who else feels the way I do? Do you search out books with Alpha males who swoop in and save the day? Or do you find those types of romance books annoying?

What's annoying to you? Tell me your favorite type of heroine as well as you least favorite...

Here are a few titles that I've read and loved, in part because the heroine was smart and tough, but also sweet: Christine Feehan's Dark Fire--Tempest was street tough, a mechanic, but vulnerable too. Erin McCarthy's Mouth to Mouth--Laurel is deaf. She's sweet and shy, but strong. Lori Foster's Too Much Temptation--Grace was shy, a little overweight and unsure of herself, but she also knew what she wanted and she wouldn't be swayed.

For my own stories. In my one and only vampire romance A Diamond at Midnight my heroine, Diamonique is one tough gal, but underneath the smartass attitude is a woman betrayed and hurting. I loved creating her character because I think a lot of women will be able to relate to her. Also, in my story Tasting Candy, Candice lives in fear of men, but she doesn't let that stop her from trying to take back her life. She's another character that I grew to admire.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what you like in a heroine and give me an example. I'm ready to add to my TBR pile!


Gossip Cowgirl said...

I love a heroine who's full of eclectic flaws and unabashedly searching for love. I recently reviewed maybe the best version of this I've ever read. "Twenties Girl" by Sophie Kinsella. Not only is the heroine fantastically flawed in a redeemable way, but the hero is one of the most interesting wounded-but-competent heroes I've ever read. Those are my favorites. The ones who have a deep and tragic past, but you'd never know it to look at them... not until you get in really close.

I can't wait to read people's recommendations. I'm always looking for new TBR books. :-)

Danica Avet said...

I love kick ass heroines. They're my favorite kind of character, but I agree that they should show some vulnerability to be believable. After all, how does that phrase go? No man is an island? Well neither should a woman be no matter how tough she is.

Probably my favorite current kick ass heroine would be Elena Deveraux of the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. She's tough, very tough, but she can't do everything herself (even though she thinks she can). She also has a lot of emotional baggage which makes you ache for her. She's a great tough heroine.

Nicole North said...

Great post! I love them strong but vulnerable, a woman who's capable of saving the hero if she has to. Or who is equally grateful to be saved by the hero if she's caught unawares. I love various takes on this. The only thing I dislike is a weak wimpy character, whether hero or heroine. I haven't been reading near enough lately so am drawing a blank about what to recommend.

Carol Ericson said...

Anne, yeah, I've read a few heroines in the past year who were just annoying - too tough - had me rolling my eyes.