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Romantic Heroes

This reflects back to my earlier posts on romance novels…I’m working on McShannon’s Heart these days and thinking about the character of the hero, Martin Rainnie. Martin is a farmer in the Yorkshire Dales, a quiet, easy-going man who happens to play a mean fiddle. I think of him as having the soul of a poet, but he expresses himself in his music rather than in words. I’ve known a few men like him; in fact, I live with one. I know that Martin is someone I would like in real life.

That’s the main thing I require from a romance hero. I have to like him, or I can’t love him. Sexy doesn’t cut it, if that’s all there is.

I like a hero to be strong and protective, of course. Who doesn’t? That’s why I grew up loving Westerns – those heroes would defend their women to the death, and they had the skills and resourcefulness to do so. They took control when necessary, but they weren’t domineering – in fact, most of them were shy with women. To me, that was part of their appeal.

I like a hero to respect the heroine, even if he doesn’t agree with her. Even if he’s angry with her. Even if she’s driving him crazy. He can’t ride roughshod over her feelings and wishes, though he may have to override them for a time to protect her.

For me, a hero also has to have flaws. If he’s perfectly handsome, ripped, the consummate lover, the ultimate protector, then he isn’t real. He has to have some human frailties. Likewise for the heroine.

Of course, that’s just me. I’d love to hear your opinions on what you love – or loathe – in a romance hero.