Why We Love That Romantic Suspense HeroineÂ
Today on the blog I’ve gotÂ Lynn Romaine talking about romantic suspense heroines. I love a good kick ass heroine.
Take it away, Lynn!
I was a gangly, uncertain thirteen-year old when I discovered my first romantic suspense novel and fell for that sweet young thing, Charity Shelbourne, in Madam, Will You Talk? (Mary Stewart, 1955). From then on my heart belonged to the romantic suspense heroine who, in the face of demands from society to bend to the female conventions of her time, she confronted danger and solved eminent threats to survival even as she fell for the hero.
Who are they, these heroines? From Charity to Eve Dallas (from J.D. Robbâ€™s gritty series) to Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larssonâ€™s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), they have one thing in common at leastâ€¦they refuse to step down and let the men handle their problems.
Mary Stewartâ€™s Charity was written in 1955 and may have outwardly have fit the model of that era, but like her later sisters in suspense, she chased after and confronted danger, even as she was being chased down by a killer.
And it even gets better these days!
Today our romantic suspense heroines are tough, badass women who are unwilling to dress to please a man at the expense of their individual self expression. They are unwilling to sit in fear, waiting to be rescued and instead opt for being in action.Â They are fighting not only the wrongs done to them, but also fighting for the rights of all women.
The long, lean, brilliant but confrontational Eve Dallas may look gorgeous, but she refuses to have her clothes or make-up dominate her life. She throws on something comfortable, combs her hair with her fingers, and is out fighting crime in a futuristic world where things have gotten far more chaotic and out of control.
Lisbeth Salander, child-like in stature and appearance, who would normally be overlooked, demands that no one will miss with those eccentric, studded black leather clothes, her spiked shoes and her multiple piercings. But she is more than just someone rebelling against the traditional female dress. She is also the best computer hacker in Sweden, has a photographic memory and a complete lack of caution when it comes to righting a wrong. She refuses to back down when confronted with immoral or evil actions and never waits for some man to protect her and save the day.
What captivates us about those heroines? Iâ€™d have to say they are women who refuse to conform to the standards of being female, waiting to be saved by some passing male. They are women who can represent the hero and the anti-hero, with actions ranging from noble to almost fatally flawed, living by their own standards in order to achieve good endings for all of us. We admire them and we want our daughters to be just like them. At least I do.
So all I can say is, thank you, romantic suspense authors past, present and future, for finally bringing women into their own time, powerful, self-expressed and unstoppable.
Thanks so much for being here, Lynn. Â I love a heroine who doesn’t need a man to save them.
So who’s your favourite romantic suspense heroine?
Until next time…