Sunday, June 28, 2009

Real Women

Yesterday morning I decided to break my rule and go jogging with my husband. A while ago I made a vow never to go running or jogging with him and I’ve been sooooo good about it. Well, yesterday I was feeling uber motivated and wanted to go farther than I normally do. I couldn’t take the dog (too much humidity in FL) so to alleviate total boredom, I asked the man to come along.

On the last stretch I looked over at him and realized (in disgust) that he hadn’t even broken a sweat. Then I remembered WHY I didn’t jog with him anymore. I’m next to him drenched in sweat and breathing so hard I sound like a polar bear with asthma. It’s embarrassing really. When we got home I looked in the mirror and was even more horrified. My face was lobster red, my already super curly hair is frizzing all over the place, and I have leftover mascara (that I didn’t wash off the night before – yes, I’m sexy) smeared under my eyes. Not to mention, the entire front of my gray Notre Dame shirt was completely drenched. I looked like an accident victim. The man? Not a hair out of place or drop of sweat to be seen. He kissed me and tried to get frisky….Seriously??? All I know is he must love me if he wants me in that condition. Don’t know if I should be happy or horrified.

This reminded me why I love reading about less-than-perfect romance heroines (real women) and the men who love them. Perfect women are annoying enough in real life, I certainly don’t want to read about them in my books. The book is a little older, but there’s a scene from Up Close and Dangerous (Linda Howard) where the hero, Cam Justice, is realizing just how sexy the heroine is and it has nothing to do w/ her looks. In his own words, she looks like a bag lady. However, she’s busting her ass trying to find them shelter for the night and to keep him from freezing to death (their plane crashed in the mountains) and he seriously wants to jump her. This is one of the times when a hero was truly turned on by a heroine’s actions and determination and I found it incredibly hot.

When I was choosing my two heroes for the DIK draft, I basically had the two men I wanted lined up. I can’t remember who, but someone threw all their men back into the pot, thus disrupting my original choices. So, I picked Acheron as my first hero (don’t think I need to explain why) because I knew he’d get scooped up by the time it got back to me for the second round. I was on pins and needles trying to narrow my second choice and hoping someone didn’t get him. In the end, I chose Jack Culver from Roxanne St. Claire’s Now You Die because of his love for Lucy and because his attraction had very little to do with her looks. He saw past all her issues and was able to get in her face and break down her barriers without being a jackass. Lucy might be a badass but the woman has serious problems with trust (rightly so) and she’s so flawed and real it’s hard not to love her. When a woman has been through a lot but isn't a whiner or a martyr, it's just plain sexy.

So, while I like my heroines to be tough and determined and so not perfect, I still like my heroes to be just a little bit stronger. What about everyone else? Who are your favorite heroines? And why?


Anonymous said...

Great post and I totally agree with your pick of Linda Howard's book (I haven't read the other book you mentioned yet). One of the reasons "Suddenly You" by Lisa Kleypas is on my top 10 list is because the heroine is so not perfect. She's over weight, past her prime (for her time)and a book worm who wears more dowdy type clothes, yet the hero sees through all that into the passionate, determined and smart woman she is. One of my very favorite historical romances because of the characters and great love story.

Dara Edmondson said...

One of my favorites is Rose from Jennifer Weiner's "In Her Shoes." She's dumpy, overweight and basically her sister walks all over her, yet she takes care of Maggie and eventually, she says no. And in the end, she forgives. Rose is so flawed and abused and comes out a shining star. I love that.

Lea said...

Great post Katie!

One of my favorite heroines is "Bride" from SLK's Night Play, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. She isn't perfect. Overall, I think I like to read a mixture of heroines as to body types, personalities etc.

The main thing for me is that the character is well developed so I feel like I know her within the context of the story. :)

Have a great day!

Amanda said...

Great post Katie!

Lea beat me to it with Bride from SK so another one I have in mind is from Janet Chapman's Loving the highlader, Sadie has burn scars and truly thinks she isn't gorgeous, she's strong determined smart and could give any man a run for his money..... and her hero can only see beauty and wishes she could see herself through his eyes.

I have to say I much prefer when the heroine isn't perfect... because lets face is there is no real perfect beauty, everyone is beautiful, and having a heroine have normal everyday issues is so more appealing to me!

Paris said...

Agnes Crandall from Jennifer Crusie's "Agnes and the Hitman" is one of my favorites--her life is a mess, people are trying to kill her and her fiance` has secretly married someone else to cheat her out of the house they've bought together. But nothing keeps her down, she just keeps inviting everyone (who isn't trying to do her in) into her life creating the family she didn't have. The jaded hero can't resist her. My kind of book;-).

Terry Odell said...

In fan fiction, those perfect heroines are called "Mary Sues" and they're annoying as all get out. Maybe that's why I shy away from so much category romance--the heroines have a tendency to be too good to be true.

I'm post-workout, pre-coffee, so I can't come up with a specific book to use as an example of a not-so-perfect character. Eve Dallas pops into my head.

Katie Reus said...

Ms Moonlight = I'll have to check that one out!

Dara - I haven't read the book but I have seen the movie and I loved it!

Lea & Amanda = another good choice! I think the reason I actually picked that one up was b/c of a post on DIK.

Katie Reus said...

Paris - Omg, that girl can't get a break! Never read that one either but I really like the premise. Another one to add to my tbb list ;)

Terry - Yep, I'm definitely an Eve Dallas fan!

Roxanne St. Claire said...

Ooooh. Day made. Thank you!

My friend Cami Dalton and I have a joke about Linda Howard's books. We say, "There was a heroine in that book? I don't rememeber her." Obviously, it's not true, but oh, her men. I'm so honored to have one of my heroes make your short list, Katie. xoxox

Katie Reus said...

Thanks for stopping by Roxanne! LH's heroes are definitely larger than life. John Medina will always hold a special place in my heart ;)

Yep, Jack's in my hut and he's there to stay!

Kate Hill said...

Great post! Faults are nice for both heroes and heroines because a perfect man can be just as annoying as a perfect woman. I don't mind a physical heroine who can keep up with the hero, though, since I've always been sort of a tomboy and can identify with that. Like real people, heroines can/should have a variety of flaws. Some might be physical but socially inept. Others might be bubbly and charming, but fearful of truly getting close emotionally. Maybe something in their past is still haunting them, or maybe they're trying to overcome something physical. Though some flaws hit closer to home than others, I think what matters most is that imperfections are present for both heroes and heroines. One of my favorite heroines is Aleecia from Mistress of Table Rock by R. Casteel. She was capable and strong but had a lot of heart and her share of fears.

Tracy said...

Between Lea and Paris you've mentioned the first two women that came to mind. Definitely Bride as she's one tough cookie and definitely not "perfect" in some peoples eyes.

Agnes - omg that woman just cracks me up. She had it coming from her from all sides and she did NOT give up or in. And Shane just loved her for all of her funny ass quirks. Loved him! :)

Tracy said...

Oh and I think it's awesome that your hubby was all over you even when you thought you looked bad. *sigh* what a guy. :)

Carolyn Crane said...

What a great post, Katie! Thanks for reminding me of this great aspect of romances.

One of the things I loved about Liberty in Sugar Daddy was her dogged determination to give her baby sister a good life.

Carolyn Crane said...

I don't jog with my man bc he runs too fast!!

Katie Reus said...

Kate - I agree! It's definitely just as annoying if a hero is tpp perfect.

Tracy, yeah, I think I'll keep him, lol ;)

Carolyn - omg, I love Liberty! She's the kind of woman I'd want to be my best friend.

Renee said...

Ooh, Liberty is one of my all time favorite heroines!

However, the one that came to mind for me was Melisande from To Seduce a Sinner by Eliz Hoyt. She's "on the shelf" and Jasper's first impression is that she is plain and forgettable.

What I love best about Jasper, is that he doesn't try to change her, making her over into a more fashionable woman --since he is much more fashion conscious than she is. He accepts her just the way she is, nondescript clothing and all.

Bridget Locke said...

Hmm...excellent thoughts there, Ms. Katie. :)

For me I love heroines who aren't perfect. I like seeing how their character makes them attractive to the hero. It gives me hope for myself. :D

Katie Reus said...

Renee - I've heard a lot of good things about Elizabeth Hoyt. Maybe I'll have to pick up one of her books!

Bridget - that's so true. It also says a lot about the hero when he loves her in spite of her flaws.

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