Monday, 16 November 2020

What Makes a Great Romance Hero?


 by Enisa Haines



Of the many romance novels available to readers today, how do they choose which to read? To paraphrase Jane Austen, 'it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a romance reader falls in love with the characters, and thus is in want of an irresistible hero.' This hero sweeps us into the story and keeps us turning the pages to that all-important 'happy-ever-after' ending. 

He can be a billionaire businessman, tall, dark and handsome in his three-piece suit; or the lead singer of a rock band, strutting across the stage in black T-shirt and jeans. He can be an easy-going mechanic or a surly vampire. What he looks like and what his profession is isn't what makes the hero alluring. A great romance hero has traits that make him one we never forget.

He has flaws. He's not perfect, has a bias that influences what he believes and how he acts, and these flaws make him relatable to readers. Think of Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, so full of pride and disdain for those beneath him in social class, and the troubles his flaws cause him when he meets Elizabeth Bennet.






He leaves his comfort zone. Though it makes him uncomfortable, to win the love of the woman who holds his heart, he will step away from the comfort of the life he's been living. Robert Mallory, Marquis of Shelton and the master of seduction known for brutishly discarding broken hearts in Cassandra Samuels' Collector of Hearts, gives up his wicked amusements when he falls for innocent Arabella Fleming.  



He has emotional courage. Scarred emotionally by a tragic past, he avoids romantic entanglements. Then a woman breaks through his shell and if he is to have her permanently in his life, he has to conquer his demons. In JR Ward's Lover Awakened, the vampire Zsadist, mesmerised by Bella, vanquishes the torturous memories of his blood slave past and surrenders his heart.



He is heroic. He will do anything, no matter what it costs him, to have her. In Nora Roberts' Shelter in Place, Reed Quartermaine puts his life in danger in order to save the life of fellow mass shooting survivor and love of his life, Simone Knox. 



A flawed hero who moves out of his comfort zone, leaves his past behind and sacrifices himself for love. That, for me, makes a great hero. 

What makes a hero great for you? What character traits must he have?

Love to Love: lunch dates with friends

Love to Laugh: at dogs playing up on YouTube videos.

Love to Learn: about great romance heroes




7 comments:

  1. Hi Enisa! All these traits are so important in a romantic hero, but I'd also add that he be honorable. He has to have respect and be honest with the heroine.

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    1. Hi Marilyn. Yes honesty and respect are vital for a hero but I'd expect that in all heroes not only the unforgettable ones.

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  2. Hi Enisa! Love your choices of great heroes here! I've read Pride & Prejudice, Mr Darcy is divine (particularly when I imagine Colin Firth playing him of course). And I truly love Robert from Cassandra's 'Collector of Hearts'. To me a hero is heroic not only when he is doing heroic things for others - including little old ladies and children and animals, not only the heroine (!) - but when his heart is kind and honourable. We all need heroes in our lives.

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    1. Hi Miranda. We certainly do need heroes in our lives and kindness and honour are a must. That's a given for me in all heroes but the unforgettable, irresistible ones also have got to have the trails I mention here. And I've read so many. Romances are great.

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  3. Hi Enisa. Great hero list. I do love heroes who really go through a journey tonrealise their true selves. One's worthy of love.

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    1. Hi Cassandra. The heroes who are unforgettable go through the toughest journeys, and Robert certainly had a tough path to travel to get to Arabella.

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  4. Hi Enisa, thanks for these insights into the romantic hero. The examples help bring the traits you discuss to life.

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