Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Wishy-Washy Heroine

I'm going to complain a bit here. I don't want to, but...

I recently purchased two ebooks by the same author. I really wanted to read the third book, but I like to read a series in order. I did not purchase the first because it had a vampire hero, and I'm off vampires right now. (Yes, you can read too many vampire stories.)

So, as you can see from my anal description of my book buying practices, I had to read the second book before the one I really wanted to read. Sigh. The book was great! Everything I love, suspense, fantastic locations, futuristic, and paranormal flavor. There was also a hunky alpha male desperately in love with the heroine.

So what was the problem? The heroine was completely unworthy. I don't want to call her TSTL, but she was too wishy-washy. Did the heroine love the hero or not? I can't take pages of inner dialogue and action where the heroine is jerking the guy around because she doesn't like something she thought was adorable in the last chapter.

She was too undecided and it ruined it for me. In my mind she couldn't be trusted. It wasn't about conflict, there was enough in the plot and she didn't have to declare herself in love so early. I don't mean simple romance novel hero-heroine give and take. She didn't seem to like him even when he redeemed himself, for her!

She also put him in danger with her unworthiness. If she couldn't have his back when he had hers, she was untrustworthy. At a certain point in a romance novel, especially an action filled one, the hero and heroine are a team. They may grumble a bit, but they come to each others rescue. She turned her back on him when he really needed her. I began skimming her parts. I didn't care when she was in danger ( I know, harsh.)

The heroine in the third book was much better. The untrustworthy heroine was in the book as well, though. She was back to her old tricks, too. Sigh.

I know what you're thinking. "But Stormie, you kept reading the book!" I had to. Really, the rest of the book was awesome.

So, what do you think? Have you come across this type of heroine before? Leave a comment and we'll grumble together.



Tina Donahue said...

The kind of heroine I absolutely DETEST is the one who will forgive anything. And I do mean, anything. Read a romance years before where the (so-called) hero was a drunk, abused heroine, ran around on her and then his actions got him into trouble and he hit hard times (well, doh). He came back begging for her forgiveness (what other choice did he have, he was penniless by then). And she gave it - just like that. Because it was 'the right thing to do'. Translation: that's what 'good' women do, they allow themselves to be doormats and then come back for more. Good god. I would have kicked him in the nuts and told him to get off my property or I'd call the cops.

I cannot stand heroines who have no backbone. Forgiving is one thing - however, physical abuse, addiction - uh-uh - that's a deal breaker for all time. At least for me.

Stormie Kent said...

Yeah, that is pretty bad Tina. In the story I read the most he did was try to protect her. He was from a completely different time and culture. He may have come on too strong but he didn't hurt her.

Stormie Kent said...

Tina, I'm supposed to be at the day job working, but your comment made me think of a question. Can it really be a romance if the hero is mentally and physically abusive? I dont mean bondism which is something else.

Tina Donahue said...

It was an 'inspirational' romance. I was judging a contest - had to read it - otherwise I wouldn't have bothered.

And no, that's not a romance in my book. That's masochism on a woman's part.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

A wishy-washy heroine, or hero for that matter, will lead to a wishy washy book. Lead characters are supposed to bigger than life and, though they struggle, they are constant, loyal and true. I don't mind a heroine who gives the hero what-for because they're in a circumstance brought upon them by a wrong move on his part, but she better have her six shooter out fighting they common foe while she does it. A hero who wrestle with a demon like drinking, must find a way to redeme himself because he loves the heroine so much and wants to be a better man because of her.
Unfortunately, I have read books as you described all too often. I abhor a heroine who jerks the hero around with her indecision for no particular reason. It's infuriating because there is nothing noble about such behavior. It makes the heroine look weak and, well, mean spirited.
A very interesting topic today.
BTW, I'm night creatured-out, too. I'd like to see an author develope a new kind of night creature.
All the best to you, Stormie.

Fiona McGier said...

OH boy, it figures! I swore I'd never write a vampire romance, then the voices in my head insisted...I wrote a more intellectual vampire at least. But NOW you are all sick of them? Sigh...

I won't read stories with TSTL heroines, or weak heroines, or virginal heroines. I want a strong, alpha female who is worthy of the man. I want a heroine who knows what she wants and goes for it! And I want the heroine "on top" sometimes, and not always the one tied up. If there's bondage, I want her to be the dom sometimes, so they can switch places. Is that really too much to ask?

Oh, and no "inner dialogue" with one's "inner goddess"! What are we? Twelve?

Stormie Kent said...

That inner goddess is a new one on me. I may return to vampires one day, but I feel like the week after Thanksgiving, no more turkey. Thanks for commenting Sarah and Fiona.