Monday, November 7, 2011

Trope Talk: Guardian/ Ward

I've been wanting to do a series of posts on tropes for awhile. They are so prominent in the romance genre that one cannot escape them in one way or another. But I say this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't know about you, but I'll often buy books because I'm craving a certain trope. Sometimes that backfires miserably. And sometimes I'll read a book that features a trope I usually loathe, but this time I enjoy it.

It all depends on how the trope is handled.

So here's my first trope:

Most often found in historical romances is the GUARDIAN and WARD romance:

What is appealing about this trope?

1.) The aspect of the forbidden: The hero is responsible for the heroine's well-being and often it's his job to ensure she has a successful anyone but him. Delicious!

2.) The characters often get more "screen time" alone together and have the opportunity for more intimacy...and hilarious hijinks.

3.) Some readers like older men. (I think that's part of why I like vampires.)

When this trope goes wrong:

1.) When the hero was the heroine's guardian for a long time, or knew her since she was a child. This kinda brings some pedophilia contexts to it. Ewwww.

2.) When the situation in which the hero becomes her guardian is ridiculously unbelievable. Any time the reader is pulled out of the story shaking her head is bad.

3.) Any instance when it's treated like a parent/ child situation. For any edgy role-play, we can pick up some erotica instead.

Some good examples of the Guardian/ Ward trope done well.

THE TAMING OF THE DUKE by Eloisa James. Book 3 in the awesome Essex Sisters quartet, I think it was my favorite and the most unique use of the trope.

In book one, when the hero discovers he's to become guardian to his old friend's four daughters, he turns a room into a nursery, fills it with toys and hires nursemaids...only to discover that all four are grown women. LOL! The one he ends up with is Imogen, though they hated each other on sight and the hostility continues for over two books straight. Like with most Eloisa James novels, one should read the books in order to better enjoy the fun.

SEDUCED by Virginia Henley

This one is awesome because it also involved another of my favorite tropes: Girl disguised as boy. When twin siblings, Anthony and Antonia Lamb go out sailing, there's an accident and the brother is lost at sea. Antonia then disguises herself as her brother to prevent an evil cousin from inheriting. Things get crazy when the twins' guardian arrives and makes it his mission in life to make a man out of her. The best part? SHE ends up seducing him! (But in disguise as a random Italian partying woman) ...and he nearly craps a brick when he finds out who she is.

What are some other guardian/ ward tropes you've enjoyed? What ones make you cringe? Which tropes do you think I should cover next?

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