Men are always fun to discuss (and if there are any men reading this, I mean that in the best possible way – read on to see). As romance readers, we all have a distinct liking for the male of the species. However, I think that there’s sometimes a perception that romance-novel men are all the same – perfect beings no real man could ever measure up to.
I don’t agree. Here’s my theory – in most romances, we see the hero through the heroine’s eyes. Of course her man is going to be perfect to her. And through her, we fall in love with him, too. I’m not saying we don’t have a certain fantasy element in our heroic archetypes – that would be plain disingenuous – but I think there’s a far wider variety of men in romance than is readily apparent.
Here are some examples of imperfect heroes from books on my shelves:
Kristin Hannah’s “Once in Every Life” has a hero so traumatized by war, he doesn’t even trust himself around his children. He is, in fact, so distrustful of himself, that he takes all the abuse his wife heaps on him. Some call him mad. But to our heroine, he is extraordinary, the man she loves and needs.
Elizabeth Hoyt’s “The Raven Prince” has a hero pockmarked by scars, and with a terrible temper to boot. He’s definitely imperfect in some very visible ways. And yet again, he’s the perfect hero for the heroine.
Christine Feehan’s “Dark Desire” has a hero who’s survived horrible torture, but who is more animal than human as a result. Most women would run far and fast if they ever came in contact with Jacques. But we trust in him...because the heroine trusts in him.
Pamela Morsi’s “Simple Jess” has a hero who is quite literally, simple. But again, he is the heroine’s perfect love, the one man who fits her like no one else.
I belive the most memorable heroes are the ones with flaws, whether they be emotional or physical, or even mental. No woman wants a perfect man, because no woman is perfect herself. As romance readers, I think we feel the same way about our heroes. We want a man who lives life, and if he gets a little marked up by it, so be it.
So, what do you think? Agree with me? Disagree? Have any favorite examples of imperfect heroes?
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