Monday, July 27

Play it again...who are your favorite heroines?

by Liz Flaherty

If any of this looks familiar to you, it's because I've used it before--sort of ran out of time here... Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, that you weigh in with some of your favorites, and that you have a great week!

I’ve read romantic fiction since before I really believed in romance, but even then I was a sucker for Happily Ever After, for empowered women, for a genre that said straight out, “Hey, you can be anything you want to be.” In that oh, many years’ worth of reading material, I’ve claimed a bunch of favorite heroines. Like these, in no particular order.

·         Hattie Colfax in Pamela Morsi’s Courting Miss Hattie
·         Sarah Merritt in LaVyrle Spencer’s Forgiving
·         Curry James in Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s After All These Years
·         Sayer Garth in Cheryl Reavis’s The Soldier’s Wife
·         My own Grace Elliot in One More Summer

  
      Well, my goodness, that certainly makes sense, doesn’t it. There’s almost certainly a pattern there. No, really, there is.


        Curry’s my hands-down favorite heroine of all time. The tagline of the book begins like this: Curry James knew two things for certain: how to earn a living and how to cope with being left alone.

         So? This is a romance. It’s not about her being alone or about her making a living owning the only paint store in Gleeson, South Dakota. It’s about her falling in love with Tom and living Happily Ever After.

         Then there’s Hattie. Horseface Hattie. Her story’s not about a strong-willed, long-faced woman. It’s about Hattie falling in love with Reed and Living Happily Ever After.

          Oh, Sarah Merritt. She published a newspaper in Deadwood and found out her beloved father was—oops, spoiler—and she was brave and strong and…. No? Her story’s not about that but about her falling in love with Noah and Living…never mind—you get my drift.

          Sayer Garth has lost her husband, she has small children and just needs to survive. Grace Elliot has spent 33 years caring for everyone else and thinking she doesn’t deserve more than what she has.

          This is romance—there are, thankfully, Happy Ever Afters all over the

place. But the romance, even the HEA part, isn’t what makes my favorite characters my favorites. It’s that they all know those “two things for certain.” They can “earn a living”—no matter how far down life takes them, they take care of themselves and those they love. They can “cope with being left alone.” When the books ended, they were with with the men they loved, but they’d have been okay on their own if that was the way life’s cookies had crumbled.


         I write and love romance, but I admit my reader’s heart is with women’s fiction. However, I think the best romances are women’s fiction in its truest and best form. I’m tickled to death that Hattie, Curry, Sarah, Sayer, and Grace got their happy endings and I really liked reading their love stories. But going along on the life’s journeys of women who earned their own way and were okay being alone—that was even better.

23 comments:

  1. Forgiving is one of my favorites of Spencer's:)

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  2. I also enjoy reading about women who are unafraid on their own. Combining two strong halves creates an interesting read and strong story. Thanks for the post!

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  3. Enjoyed this. I like reading about strong, smart women--probably why I love urban fantasy. One of my favorite characters is Mercedes Thompson in Patricia Briggs's series, but I enjoyed her character Sham the most in When Demons Walk, because she's not only strong, but she's naughty, too:)

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    1. I especially like when they can maintain the strong and smart without walking on anyone else to do it. Thanks for weighing in, Judith!

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  4. I really liked Sarah in LaVyrle Spencer's forgiving. Made you realize true love can come any time in life and in surprising ways. Nice blog, Liz.

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    1. Thanks, Hebby. I loved Sarah because she was so much her own person...and not all that pretty. :-)

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  5. Great post, Liz, and something fun to consider. Mary in LaVyrle Spencer's The Fulfillment was a great character torn between two brothers. She handled that with such grace. Curry--yes absolutely, but I'm such a KGS fan that I love all her heroines. Same can be said for all your heroines, but yes, a million yeses to Grace in One More Summer. Also Elnora in Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost and of course Alice in Freckles... dignity and grace both of them. And I kinda like Julie in my own Sex and the Widow Miles--she has panache. ;-)

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    1. Love Elnora and Alice, and yes, Julie's an absolute!

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  6. Sam Jellicoe (from Suzanne Enoch's 'billionaire' series) is one of my favorites. Following her through four books, I felt like she really grew as a person and I still wonder what she's doing now. Great post, Liz!

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    1. I love that, when you can see them grow--it's something I wish I was better at as a writer!

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  7. I first loved all your heroines in Girl's of Tonsil Lake. I like the way you portrayed each woman, even though they were so different. That's when you won me over as a reader. I always recommend your books to my sisters. We share an admiration for strong independent female characters because that's the way we were raised.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Sandy. They're still among my favorites, too. Our generation was the first one, I think, who really got to bust out with the whole I am woman, hear me roar thing, and I have loved it!

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  8. My favorite heroines are all of them from Jane Austen. :) I usually read historicals.

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    1. I forgot to put why... The heroines I enjoy are spunky without being obvious about it. They can do it on their own but realize life is more fun with a partner.

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    2. Those are good favorites, for sure. I love Lizzy and Emma and...good grief, I've forgotten...is it Eleanor?

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  9. My favorite is Min Dobbs from Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie.

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    1. I'm with you there. Bet Me is--IMHO--one of the best romance novels ever written. Makes me think I need to read it again--I need a Crusie fix!

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  10. I had to think about this...Douglass from The Knight In Shining Armor. Bridget Jones and even though I complain about her, Stephanie Plum.
    The women in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club--all of them had such rich stories.

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    1. Oh, yes, Douglass--I need to do a re-read! I like Bridget Jones, too, and DID like Stephanie Plum, but I have burned out a bit on her.

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  11. I like reading about women who can make their own way too. One of these days I'd like to read A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I believe it's a story about a woman who does just that. ( :

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    1. You know, I'm not sure I ever read it. Unless I'm mistaken, there was a mini-series of it (Sally Field?) that I loved, but it's been so long, I'm not sure.

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