I have the pleasure of having a guest post by Jessica Jefferson today who is musing on...
The heroine as stereotype?
Throughout literature there are several heroine stereotypes that repeat themselves time and time again.
First, there’s the tough girl with Daddy issues. She’s got a chip on her shoulder, as well as one or two tattoos. She often refuses to fall in love because that’s just a sign of a vulnerability that she doesn’t want to admit to having.
And then there’s the unsure, shy female who becomes empowered through her relationship with the uber-dominating alpha male.
There’s the studious, smart girl who miraculously turns into a supermodel the moment she removes her reading glasses. Usually she’s pretty covered up, only to reveal her Brazilian bikini body at an unexpected moment.
Then there’s the lovely, too-good-to-be-true type that struggles with some sort of inferiority issue contrary to all evidence indicating that her life should be perfect. There’s always some sort of inner struggle taking place with this one, though the motivation may not be crystal clear.
And finally – there’s the tomboyish mischief-maker. That one’s my personal favorite. In my latest release, Taming Miss Tisdale, the heroine (Tamsin), is characterized by her feisty temper and inappropriate clothing choices. Regency novels are a great place to find such a heroine.
So why do authors keep coming back to these tried and true characterizations of the literary female form? They work, obviously. But why do they work? Even though a heroine may be overtly characterized by one of these descriptions, throughout their story they may adopt characteristics of any number of these different stereotypes. The most endearing of heroines will be a contradiction unto themselves-a combination of all of the above.
And like the heroine, readers are not just one of these stereotypes, but a combination of them all in one way or another. At different times in our lives we may channel one of these identities more so than another, but at one point all of us will have a need to play the tough girl or the smart girl. We are able to see ourselves reflected through these heroines, which is why they work so well.
Taming Miss Tisdale
Miss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she comes to her senses will she be welcomed home.
Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.
However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. When his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?
Jason looked bored. “Get to the important part, Grayson. Was she beautiful?”
Again, Marc was ill-prepared to answer such a question. Taken individually, that large mouth, those plump pink lips, her long nose, red hair, and freckled skin—nothing about her was spectacular by any means. But together, all those odd pieces and parts, which seemed so ordinary at first glance, fit together to form the picture of a particularly stunning woman.
“Yes,” he answered quite simply. No need to give Jason any more fodder for discussion by rambling on like some sort of awful poet.
Jason grinned from ear to ear. “Well, that is quite eventful, indeed.” He swept a crumb off his jacket sleeve. “Does this original have a name?”
Marc stopped suddenly, his coffee halfway to his lips. “Name?”
Jason laughed. “Yes, her name. This unique creature has to have a name. Diana? Aphrodite? Venus, perhaps?” Then Jason stopped laughing as realization spread over his face like a mordant rash. “You don’t know her bloody name, do you?”
Marc set his cup down on the table and stared at it. “She never volunteered the information and I never bothered to ask.”
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago. She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy. She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read more of her random romance musings.
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