Monday, January 28, 2019

HEROES AND HEROINES THAT AREN'T PERFECT by CHERYL PIERSON


How do you feel about a hero or heroine who isn’t physically perfect? As a reader, are you interested in those kinds of characters? What about as a writer—are these the kinds of characters you want to introduce and develop in your storylines?

The first book I ever read with an “imperfect” hero was THE TIGER’S WOMAN, by Celeste De Blasis. The story takes place in San Francisco, 1869, and seems to be one of those that people either love or hate. For me, it was an eye-opener—I’d never read a strong, masculine, virile hero who had any kind of infirmity. Jason Drake’s is a limp.

http://www.amazon.com/Tigers-Woman-Celeste-Blasis/dp/038529042X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432778646&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Tiger%27s+Woman

Another one that comes to mind is A ROSE IN WINTER by Kathleen Woodiwiss. The heroine is “sold” by her father to pay his gaming debts to a mysterious man, Lord Saxton, who keeps himself covered to hide disfiguring scars from a terrible fire. I can’t say too much about these books without giving away spoilers, but both of them have many reviews that speak for them and their quality.

http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Winter-Kathleen-E-Woodiwiss-ebook/dp/B000FC13JU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1432778357&sr=8-3&keywords=kathleen+woodiwiss

Mary Balogh’s book SIMPLY LOVE (one of the “Simply” quartet) is the story of an English aristocrat who has lost his arm and eye, and his face has been disfigured on one side. These are war injuries from “the Peninsula Wars”—and of course, he believes no woman will ever want him. He’s become reclusive. Enter Anne Jewell, mother of a nine-year-old son. UNWED mother, to be exact.

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Love-Quartet-Mary-Balogh/dp/0440241979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432778821&sr=8-1&keywords=Simply+Love

Kathleen Rice Adams has a short story, THE LAST THREE MILES, in the Prairie Rose Publications anthology, WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS (yep, another Christmas story!) “Can a lumber baron and a railroad heiress save a small Texas town?” With Kathleen writing it, you can bet they’re going to give it their best shot, even though Kathleen’s hero in this one is confined to a wheelchair!

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Texas-Christmas-Cheryl-Pierson-ebook/dp/B00PZ9EV38/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432778910&sr=8-1&keywords=Wild+Texas+Christmas

My own foray into writing a hero with a physical impairment is more modern. It’s a Christmas short story called THE WISHING TREE. Our hero, Pete Cochran, has been to the Middle East and suffered a devastating wound—the loss of an eye—shortly before he was to come home. Now, he works at his dad’s Christmas tree lot, just trying to heal his own mind and spirit…and then, a miracle happens. Maria Sanchez and her son, Miguel, stop by the lot one day and everything changes. You all know I believe in happy endings, but I don’t want to give any spoilers!

http://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Tree-Cheryl-Pierson-ebook/dp/B00P444VIY/ref=sr_1_24?ie=UTF8&qid=1432778998&sr=8-24&keywords=The+Wishing+Tree

What about heroines? I’ve read books about heroines who have been lame—I can’t remember the titles right now. How do you feel about “imperfect” heroines? Are those more interesting than the heroes who suffer a permanent wound?

I would love to hear from everyone about this. I’m very curious as to what y’all think. So let’s hear it—and if you have read or written any books to add to this list, please DO!

I know it’s not Christmas, but I will be giving away 2 digital copies of THE WISHING TREE to two lucky commenters today! Thanks so much for coming by!

13 comments:

  1. An interesting subject. I don't remember, although I'm sure I'll be corrected any book where the woman is disfigured. The imperfection is usually something which makes the hero feel protective. Of course, imperfection adds another layer to a romance, one in which they connect through something other than just looks.

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    1. I remember reading one where the heroine had a limp, but somehow by the end of the book, she had a surgery that corrected it so was able to dance, etc. I can't remember the name of that book, though. I just read a medieval story from Lindsay Townsend that's coming out with PRP this month in which the heroine had suffered through the pox and had scars from it. VERY good story!

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  2. I remember two historicals that had an imperfect hero. Right now I can't think of the author nor the book, but she won RWA's Golden Heart and has never looked back. I think the hero lost his eyesight (temporarily???) and is holed up in his castle, living like a pig because he doesn't give a damn about life. The heroine I think is hired by his father to help heal him emotionally. She sweeps into the castle and takes charge, the first being having all the filthy rushes littered with bones, etc. swept from the great room. I'll remember the author's name at oh, about 3 a.m. She's written a slew of books since. The other book that is a "keeper" on my shelf, in fact all her books are keepers, is Laura Kinsale's fabulous Flowers From the Storm and it's mentally-tortured hero. It's been years since I read it....I think he's in a mental institution but I could be wrong. That book is a must read. It's tricky giving the hero or heroine flaws for fear of turning off a reader, so one has to make sure the backstory hooks her empathy and root for him. Whew, I didn't have to wait until 3 a.m. Candle in the Window popped into my head...went to Google and of course the author is the fabulous Christina Dodd.....sheesh, I'm not quite ready for the loony farm.

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    1. I have not read that one! I'm ordering it now! Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth. I will look both of those up and get them ordered without delay!

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  3. I've read most of the stories you mention, and I've loved them all. Years ago I read a short story (Western) in which the hero lost an eye when a rock fragment flew into it. He was afraid to go back to the women he cared about because he felt incomplete. Of course it didn't turn out that way, but I still remember the story, just not the title.

    I think handled with compassion an imperfect hero/heroine are the stuff of great stories. Doris

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    1. I knew someone that really happened to in real life. He was the son of a friend of my mom's--quite a bit older than I was, but I just remember thinking how perfectly awful that would be, to go to work and have something that horrible happen.

      I agree with you, Doris--that can bring true depth to a story in a way nothing else can.

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  4. One of my contemporaries has a hero who is ugly-- the rough kind of ugly though that some see as beautiful (hint hint heroine). One of the bigger complications for it was the cover as I wanted him on it. I've seen men who I could describe as ugly/beautiful but they aren't in the model industry.

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    1. Right, Rain. I think, too, as our heroes age they're going to be more "rugged" than beautiful--like people are! There are very few men who maintain their looks to the point of "beautiful" or "handsome" as they get older--and that works for me as a reader/writer because it's the same with women.

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  5. Prefers my heros with a flaw as they are flawsome. It makes them human and much more related to me as I read be it a physical injury, illness or something else!

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    1. Lainey, I agree. And you know, when I write my stories, I always have a wounded hero. LOL It just happened that way, but once I realized it, I began to understand that the reason they were always wounded somehow was because it made them more vulnerable and able to open up to the heroine more. I love stories like that!

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  6. Yes I too prefer a physically wounded warrior hero, male or female because we survivors live in this world too. 5+ year Stroke Survivor here and still has a slight limp on lower left leg. It is not completely reawakened yet but my 2019 goal is to be limp free this year and no cane when outside on all the uneven ground and roads. I walk and no problems on flat even and level surfaces or buildings but Mother Nature says outside she rules so a cane keeps it easir to tread uneven ground. Btw it is still very slightly paralyzed hence not fully awake as I call it and is just my everyday life so no big deal. That is another reason why physically flawed or challenged heroes are more human and realistic. They live with their new normality and just push on like everybody. I was 56 when the stroke hit due to a diet capsule that killed hundteds and hospitalized thousands including me. But I was alive so I did not join the lawsuit they lost and still sell their product minus the "bad" ingredient. Oxy Pro Elite has much to answer for but I do not regret the stroke. I have leatned much since then and grown too in my daily life and help others as I can even paying it forward! Give me your blinded or maimed heroes and all the rest we will prevail!

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    1. Wow, Lainey! What a story! I'm so glad you lived! I think most of us have tried some kind of diet pills at one time or another. Those things are just so bad. I'm so glad you shared your story with us and I agree, I love those wounded, maimed or otherwise "imperfect" heroes and heroines because to me, many times, they are far more humanized for us in the stories! Here's hoping that 2019 will be a wonderful, wonderful year!

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  7. My winners for the digital copies of THE WISHING TREE are...LAINEY AND ELIZABETH!!! Ladies, if you will contact me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com I will see that you get your prize!

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and reading and commenting!

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