Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Club Thursday. A Reader's Quandary: Hero or Heroine...Do we like you?

     Hi Everyone. This week my fellow bloggers and I have picked a theme for discussion. As romance readers we read for enjoyment of the genre and for the HEA-Happily Ever After. So what happens when you really don't care for the hero or the heroine? Does it distract you from the story, raise your blood pressure, or have you throwing the book at the wall? Or do you hang in there realizing that humans are flawed beings and go with the flow because without conflict and growth, there would be no story? Join us and tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.  Here are links to check out my friends blogs to get their take on this weeks topic.

Romancing the Readers-Ann
Born to Read Books-Cyndi

Here are some examples of situations. I am not going to name specific books that are currently out, nor am I going to diss an author for something I may not have liked in their book because that is just one opinion. Mine. 

First, the guys:

Men and communication. Most men have a hard time talking to women about their feelings and their better-half may have to pry them out with a crowbar still without success. But a conflict will arise and his filter disappears and he becomes a cruel jerk and calls her nasty names and then gets mad at her for being mad at him.

One story I read recently was about a man-whore sports star who gets the heroine pregnant after a one-nighter. She wasn't a faceless nobody he usually went for, but their siblings were married to each other and they would be thrown into family situations for years to come. She had a crush on him for a while and one night he decided to scratch an itch with her. He had the nerve to tell her she was screwing his life when she told him about the baby. He was forced by his employer to improve his image with the fans so he forced her to fake a marriage with him until after the baby was born. The guy was a jerk, he had a cruel mouth, and never apologized. So you found out he was abused by his father. And...What does that have to do with using women as disposable sex toys? But I kept on reading, my blood pressure kept rising. I hated him thru 4/5 of the book. Even his best friends and his family were disgusted with him. Why did I keep reading? The heroine kept saying she saw something deep in him. I never saw it and I thought she had a split personality. Part doormat, part steel magnolia. She did throw him out after he missed an OB visit with her. So she did have a spine and started sticking up for herself. By the end of the story, he did grow a bit and was there for her and the baby and was a bit better human. Some women loved HIM and gave this 4 or 5 stars. Really? Their opinion and taste.

Other guy things:

Making all good women pay for the mistakes and sins of the ex-girlfriend or wife. And they either blow the "perfect" relationship they had with the ex up in their minds, or they brood about being burned by the bitch they chose in the first place. Get over it, Dude. The one you really need is right in front of you. Quit shoving her away!

Sleeping with someone else on your wedding night (mainly historicals). Some men were discreet, some blamed the heroine for a forced marriage and didn't care if the heroine found out about the mistress. Makes my heart pound with love. Not! Ah, What a guy!

So what keeps us reading about these guys?

Now the ladies turn:

The Doormat syndrome: Let the hero treat you like dirt because he's "protecting" you and knows what's better for you. Don't explain x,y,and z to him. Keep him thinking you are using him for financial gain and you don't have a brain to think for yourself. One heroine slept with her fiance's enemy because she wanted to help him by getting the enemy of his back. Such logic, not! Set romances back decades.

Then you have the total opposite woman. Hear her roar! (Or make an ass out of herself). There is nothing like the stubborn, smart, independent woman who keeps doing stupid things like endangering her hero and others in dangerous situations as well as herself, even though she is doing it for the right reasons. I want my heroine to be kick-ass, but a brain is also required.

It takes a strong writer to get you to believe in their characters, especially when one of the protagonists is lacking something. Some of these situations are forgivable with a great author, and a weaker author won't receive another dime from me. Believe it or not, back in the early 80's, the publisher's had guidelines for their writers to write about the above mentioned situations. And a lot became classics and we read them over and over. Times have changed and people and their taste have too. But the glue that makes a great story instead of just a good one is a hero and heroine you can believe in, watch their relationship grow, watch them become stronger together so that you can root for them to get that HEA.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks topic and we look forward to hearing from you and your comments. And join me and my friends next week for another Book Club Thursday!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I do admit it doesn't happen often to me that I don't like one of the characters. I guess that's a good thing. :)

  3. I don't usually find that to be the case too much either. I am more likely to forgive if its a favorite author.

  4. I double agree- I usually like both main characters and tend to give favorite authors or maybe a debut author some leeway.