I am positive I would not make a good romance heroine. At least, not a nice one. Because one, I’m not very nice. I’m polite and well mannered, but I don’t filter my thoughts and there aren’t many whose opinions mean much to me. I’m loyal, selfish, a tad insane, perpetually grumpy, and anyone who messes with those I love will see a whole other side of me. The side that gives you until the count of five to straighten up or run. I don’t believe long suffering and virtuous automatically means you’re a good person. I don’t believe being a doormat will reward you in the end. There is always a time and place to behave but when you watch your man playing up a former girlfriend or a potential one…it’s time to break bad.
Recently I read a few books that required the heroine to take the high road and play nice with a woman who showed signs they were after the heroine’s man. The heroines don’t break bad. They don’t toss the skank across the room and let them know in uncertain terms that NOBODY takes their man. Instead they rationalize one hundred reasons why they really shouldn’t stuff them in a Fed Ex box and mail them to, “ I will bust you a new one, USA.”
Why do heroines take the high road?
Usually politics play large part. Especially in the paranormal genre. Or, the hero is caught between a rock and hard place and the heroine doesn’t want to cause him any more problems. What completely makes me stabby is the hero does nothing about the woman. He allows other women to insult and demean the heroine, wanting heroine to handle it herself but also hobbles said heroine by insisting the women doesn’t mean to be a pain. Really? Or that this is just how the woman is and what can you do. There is a lot you can do. *nods head, swings nunchucks* He merely wanders around always exclaiming that they mean NOTHING to them and then gets pissy when heroine finally does have enough and leaves.
Are you serious?
You’re going to give your woman grief because you can’t handle your business and you won’t let her handle it?
Oh, hell no.
Why does this need to happen? Why do we basically emasculate the heroine? Is it to show adversity? If that’s such a great storyline then why do we rarely if ever see it happening to the hero? Because when we do see the beginning of it, the hero usually refuses to play. He tells the heroine- fix it, let me fix it, or I’m gone. Heroes in general are more verbal in this situation. Heroine’s tend to bury their emotions or make excuses for the hero’s actions. A hero is all balls to the wall. He’s a constant nag in the heroine’s ear. He wants to know who, what, when, where, and how. He wants that man gone and he lets the world know it. The problem I see sometimes is when we do have a heroine that is extra verbal, she inadvertently comes off as bitchy and insecure while the hero is considered alpha and in love.
And another thing. Please, please, please, do not pat the heroine on the head and tell her how proud you are they took the high road. *gag* My whirling ninja arms of fury come out then. I want to wade in the book, grab the heroine, and cut a wide path through the BS. I want to tell the heroine, you do not have to put up with this. Your man should support you and your feelings one hundred percent. Are you or are you not in a supposed committed relationship? Would they want you hanging with another man, inviting them into their house? And that’s my main issue. When you have a person making an obvious play for you and you sit there, doing nothing, thinking if you leave it all alone, they will go away, well…that’s just stupid. Sometimes people need “help” to get the message that you are not interested. Sometimes, you need you other half to step in and clean house.
One of the first books I read with this storyline was Catherine Coulter’s The Sherbrooke Bride. Alexandra kind of tricks Douglas into marrying her and that puts their marriage on a rocky path. Douglas’s mother HATES Alex for that and treats her abominably. Alex holds her own the best she can with no support from Douglas. One of the best scenes is when she reminds the Dowager, politely, that she outranks her as an Duke’s daughter and frankly, marrying Douglas, was socially beneath her. Oh Snap! It’s only after numerous books (yes, this goes on throughout the series) that Douglas finally realizes what a biotch his mother is (and what an arse he is) when his son tells the Dowager she will not speak to his wife like that and asks his father, Douglas, why he allows her to speak to Alex like that. Epiphany!! Too late in my eyes because throughout the series, Alex goes to great lengths, almost dying a few times, to protect her man and he never returns the favor.
Emily Snow’s Devoured series has a heroine who practically bends over backwards for the hero AND his long line of psycho’s. We are told she is a “submissive” but I think she is just passive and doesn’t like conflict. To show how clueless the hero is, he invites her to tour with his band, putting her in the line of fire. Hellooooo? It was like placing a girl scout in a WWF ring with the two heavy weight champs. She gets threatened by one ex and harassed by the other. What’s he doing during all of this? Reassuring her it’s only her he loves and attempting to screw her to submission. She finally issues an ultimatum (with her eyes-while my eyes rolled). Everything wraps up conveniently and I was so disgusted by the end of the story, I couldn’t find it in me to be even angry.
The Avoiding series by K.A Linde shows you in black and white the consequences of what happens when the TRUE hero takes the high road. He gets screwed. Hard. Four books tell us of a toxic relationship between two serial cheaters. When the heroine is finally over it, she finds herself a good man who truly loves her. Of course, she can’t scrape off the loser ex who “loves” her but his fear of commitment causes him to fall into every available vagina he stumbles across. They break up, he marries someone else, but they remain friends. *eyebrows raised* The hero is not happy about it but he trusts his girlfriend and knows she won’t go back to her loser ex so he keeps quiet and takes the high road. I don’t want to spoil but the fourth and final book literally left me feeling like I wasted a few years of my life and solidified that taking the high road is for punks.
One series that I adore with some bad arse heroines both professionally and personally is Kit Rocha’s O’Kane series. I could be an O’Kane, according to one of the authors, and I consider that a compliment. These women are bad to the bone and don’t take anyone’s crap. Not from the men and certainly not from another woman coming on to their man. You want protection? You want help? You want a new life? Then you have to earn it. And not by making a play for their man or playing the poor misunderstood victim. Because these woman will hurt you.
Darynda Jones Charley Davidson series has a badarse heroine whose antics will make you howl with laughter. Not one to get physical over her man, she’s more the “stalking and get all up in your business” type. Her man is acting funny or hanging with another woman? Within 24 hours she will know everything that is going on and possibly what will happen. The woman in question is more likely to find her credit score demolished or her car towed then her arse beat but hey, at least Charley does something.
What do you think? Is the high road the road to take? Or are you like me and think if Cinderella had just busted a few heads, she may have been happier in the long run?
Edited for misspelled word. :P