2 DR’s (Devoted Readers) seek PRH (Perfect Romance Heroine) for LLA (Lifetime of Literary Adoration).
PRH must possess each the 6 following criteria.*, ** All others need not apply.
*Willing to accept 5 out of 6 under certain–very rare!–circumstances, such as: the heroine is too smart to be funny, too funny to be smart, or too independent to have character. Please write back to inquire if you meet the requirements for an exception.
There’s no denying it: we misses…errr, DR’s!…love a lady with intellect. And who doesn’t? (Not anyone we want to be friends with, that’s for sure!) Whether she’s a Regency Duchess or an antebellum belle, we want our heroines to excel in the smarts department. She doesn’t necessarily have to be a book nerd, or a nerd at all; intelligence comes in many forms, and we’re open to them all (a botanist? An engineer? A polyglot? An artist? A people person? All great!). There’s nothing we admire more than a woman with brains, and that’s especially true for someone whose Happily Ever After we’re planning to hope for from page one.
It’s true, our heroine must be beautiful. That doesn’t mean, however, that she has to look like Connie Britton as Mrs. Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights (though this rare kind of shiny golden Southern bombshell angel beauty is always welcome). Instead, beauty (like intelligence) has a wide range of definitions. The heroine can be short or tall, curvy or slender, pale or tan, blonde or brunette or redhead. The important thing is that she has an inner light that the hero finds alluring and that, as he gets to know her, he simply can’t resist. We want the heroine to be exactly the hero’s type, no matter what that type is, and we want their chemistry to singe the sheets!
We want a heroine who’s tough. She doesn’t cry at the drop of the hat, doesn’t cower behind the hero when there’s a loud noise, and doesn’t run at the first sign of trouble. She’s as strong as the hero in her own special ways, and the hero (and her strong female readers!) loves her for it. Love is a hard game, and our heroine is tough enough to make it through to the other side. Strong doesn’t have to mean invincible, though; in fact,our perfect heroine is strong enough to admit her weaknesses. Love takes the courage to be vulnerable and the strength to join your life to someone else’s without losing who you are. Now THAT’S pretty badass!
Our perfect heroine knows how to laugh and to make others laugh with her. She’s self-deprecating without being self-defeating, and she never takes herself too seriously. Her jokes can be goofy or sarcastic or deadpan or slapstick–it doesn’t matter to us, as long as she takes on the world with a great sense of humor.
One of the best parts of reading romance is meeting characters we fall in love with. Like Elizabeth from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Anna from Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept (yep, you’ve heard us wax poetic about her before!), or Claire from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, our perfect heroines are women we respect, whose choices and actions are ones that inspire us, not make us wonder if they’ve lost their integrity (or their minds! [Okay, sometimes Claire is a bit mad, but we like her version of crazy]). We’re not saying we’re looking for a goody two shoes–everyone makes mistakes, and we adore women who break the rules! We just want our leading lady to have the kind of character we look for in real life friends.
Perhaps more than anything, our perfect heroine must have a life of her own. She must think for herself, have her own opinions, her own hopes and dreams and plans totally aside from the hero. When she meets her Mr., she doesn’t become just the Mrs. She doesn’t disappear. She maintains her own identity while blending her life and her love with his. Seeing a strong, independent woman fall in love with someone who supports her personhood is arguably the best reward for reading romance–it’s what keeps us coming back again and again!
Additional qualities that indicate excellence are acceptable. They may include, for instance, a heroine who:
a: is sassy
b: can handle her liquor (or, when she can’t, tells the hero all her secrets in a most endearing manner)
c: makes judicious use of swear words
and d: would be besties with us if she weren’t, you know, not real (sad face!).***
***That’s all just icing on the cake…but who likes cake without icing, anyway?! Suspicious persons, that’s who!