I’ve always believed that it’s the hero, rather than the heroine, who makes or breaks a romance story.
As a reader, if I’m uncomfortable in the heroine’s headspace, I’m probably going to struggle to enjoy the book. If it’s written in third person rather than the closer first person point-of-view, that discomfort will be less intense. I’ll often continue reading a third person point-of-view romance if there are multiple viewpoints and I’m enjoying other aspects of the story.
Earlier this year I stopped reading a first person point-of-view general market contemporary romance by an author I usually enjoy reading.
The romance trope was a love triangle, which isn’t one of my favorites. The main reason I only read the first quarter of the book related to the hero. I thought he was a jerk, and I found it painful to be in his headspace and read his unfiltered, but undoubtedly realistic and true-to-life, thoughts and feelings.
I recently chatted with an author friend about our favorite books by an award winning author. Her favorite book was one of my least favorites, and vice versa. Interestingly, we agreed on the same book as our least favorite because we both didn’t care for the Christian contemporary romance (CCR) story premise.
Why was our order of favorite books reversed? Again, the story premise was a factor, but the first reason we cited related to the hero.
I loved the hero in my favorite book, but my friend didn’t care for him and thought he needed psychotherapy. I didn’t care for the hero in her favorite book because I thought he was too arrogant and full of his own self-importance. In contrast, my friend didn’t mind the hero’s arrogance because the heroine was a strong woman who was his match and could keep him in line.
During our conversation we didn’t talk about whether or not we liked or disliked the heroine in each book. It was all about the hero.
Will you continue reading a romance if you don’t love the hero? When you finish reading a contemporary Christian romance, is it the hero or the heroine who you’ll most likely remember when talking about the book later with friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
I’m giving away one $10 Amazon.com Gift Card to a reader who comments on this post. Giveaway closes on Friday and the winner will be announced in the Sunday Edition.