Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Holding Out for a Hero
The profile of romance novel heroes has changed. Most definitely. The tattooed bad boy has just as much chance (maybe more) of getting the girl (or at the very least getting into her panties) as the tongue-tied guy-next-door. On another thought, that tongue-tied guy-next-door may give the bad boy a run for his money because Mr. Shy-and-Sedate may be hankering for the girl to literally tie his tongue and his hands. And a hero may not only be coveting the heroine. He may be dying to try on her pumps. Oh, the times, they are a changing! The mix is healthy as no one hero is everyone's hero. Bikers, doms, subs, demons, etc. blend with counts, dukes, princes, grease monkeys, etc. Many readers are eating it up. A lot are sitting it out because they can’t relate to it. They stick to their dashing pirates, minor aristocracy and home town boys. These readers still love their Alpha males. It's just that this batch of Alpha males pushes the envelope.
I’ll be truthful. Alpha types don’t do it for me. I adore Betas. The heros in my books have tons of Beta qualities. The secondary male characters tend to be Alphas. My heros cry, care and ruminate on matters. They don’t just lash out blindly. But when they do take action…watch out! The same manner exists when they lock on the woman they want. They take their time and still get the girl.
I do not know if the heroes in the latest books I've read and loved, classify as Alphas. One book was Untamed by Anna Cowan. I loved the Duke of Darlington. First of all the book’s premise was spectacular; its prose as heady and captivating as the man himself. No, he is not your Grandmother’s romance hero, but he is a hero. The Duke was complex, multi-faceted and at times duplicitous. He was a human drawn in gray, not in black and white.
Another book that I liked was Unbound by Cara McKenna. The hero, Rob, took some getting used to but he was novel and different.
So, it seems to be room for many more departures from the tried-and-true in hero portrayals. I don’t go for the brutish, one-note emotionally ranged, loins of a jack-rabbit lovemaker type of hero. Hey, many want that. They like it. It sells. I, on the other hand, want more of the novel, ambiguous and different hero.