Thursday, June 23, 2011

Freakish Friday: Physical Defects

Long gone are the days when the heroes and heroines of romance novels had to be perfect physical specimens. Well, the hero could have a few scars as long as they enhanced his machismo and made him look dangerous. But the heroine... hell no! She must have alabaster skin, perfect boobs, etc.

I am much happier with today's romance novels. I know I bring up JR Ward a lot, and with my new Friday theme I will probably continue to do so because her characters are so delightfully flawed. One of her heroes is blind and another is partially castrated, to begin with. One of her heroines is average looking and has scars from surgical operations. I love her for this!

As much as I have issues with Laurell K. Hamilton these days, she was even more ballsy. One of her characters had tentacles! Apparently that's a huge fetish in Japan nowadays but I was pretty squicked out at first. But the way she wrote Sholto, she made him beautiful and sexy. That's damn impressive...until when it came time for the heroine to get it on with him and the tentacles magically disappeared and turned into a tattoo. I and many other readers were disappointed with this if you can believe it.

Why? Because we fell in love with Sholto and wanted him to be embraced for who and what he was.

Although she's not in the paranormal genre, I have to give major kudos to historical romance author, Eloisa James for giving her characters defects. In FOOL FOR LOVE, her heroine has a bad hip. In WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST, the hero has a bad leg (and is also the regency version of Dr. House, how awesome is that?!) and the beautiful heroine becomes disfigured by an illness but he still LOVED her!!! Seriously, that one made me cry.

What other authors have dared to defy romance tradition by making imperfect characters? What can we learn from them?    

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