ClitLit – Women, Romance Fiction and Patriarchal Discourse

January 31, 2010

How Not to Introduce a Hero – Quick Shots

Hi all! I’m back and hopefully posting on a more regular basis now that the Australian Open is drawing to a close and I can indulge my love of writing about romance fiction rather than my love of writing about tennis.

A quick shot to get back on the horse – I wrote a few weeks ago about how not to introduce a heroine, using examples from Karen Templeton’s Pride and Pregnancy. Today, the coin is flipped. Here we have a classic alpha-arsehole (alphole) category hero. What a prince this guy sounds like.

“…he remembered the open, trusting, dark eyes of the voluptuously proportioned swamp brat he’d seduced and then jilted nine years ago to save his twin brother, Jake.”

– Major, A., 2009, To Tame Her Tycoon Lover [Harlequin], pp.1-2

Because… I routinely save my siblings by seducing swamp brats. That, um, makes sense. And makes me SUCH A NICE PERSON.

I’m only a few chapters into this book, so I’m suspecting this particular hero (his name is Logan, for those of you wondering) will improve and be redeemed by the POWAH OF TWOO WUV sometime soon. But at the moment… he’s pretty much an alphole. He’s some big business tycoon who’s come home to his palatial Lousiana home to visit his sick grandpa, to find out that said seduced swamp brat, now a successful war journalist, is looking after said grandpa. Does he say, ‘thank you, how nice?’ No, he tries to invalidate her lease and make her leave, even though she is doing him a huge favour, because it means his grandpa doesn’t have to go into a home (grandpa not keen on leaving palatial plantation home).

In short, he’s a total prick. The whole seducing incident aside, which verges on sexual assault.

Redemption is something that we see a lot of in romance fiction, particularly in heroes – it’s a very popular trope, redeeming your hero through the power of love. It even ties into that Foucault stuff I’m always yapping on about, about how the heroine replaces the playboy hero’s ‘wild’ sexuality with her own model (domestic bliss, feat. solid monogamy). But it’s books like these that pose the question – there has to be something worth redeeming in the first place, surely? If you start the book loathing the hero, how can you possibly want him to end up with the heroine?

…unless you loathe the heroine as well and wish them joy in their miserable little world together. But with this book, that’s not the case – the heroine, Cici, is really quite likeable. I want her to tell his punk arse off, instead of ending up with him – I want to win, not to surrender. And I think that means that this novel is flawed, right from the very beginning, because the hero and the heroine do not deserve each other.

Wow. Didn’t intend to end up there when I started this ramble. But it’s food for thought…



  1. Swamp brat? Seriously? Wow…. why not get it over with and call her the Swamp Monster and Things offspring? Then we’ll know she lived in a swamp and was ugly but to save his brother he did her like a man… shoot.

    Comment by Keira — January 31, 2010 @ 3:59 am | Reply

    • I’m about halfway through now and it’s really unclear just how this seduction of the swamp monster did anyone any good. It was kind of like, ‘I’ll seduce her on the off-chance my brother might one day marry her, because it would be OMGSOBAD!!!1! if they got married because she is poor’.

      Logan Claiborne – just the guy every girl wants.

      Comment by Jodi — January 31, 2010 @ 4:22 am | Reply

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