For this particular brainwave, I was thinking ... are you the heroine?
I've read quite a few reviews recently, and even ones from my bestie Bambi, and often the reviewer (and Bambi) will say, I could not connect with the heroine because I like to BE her when I'm reading the book.
I'm the complete opposite. I am NEVER the heroine. I don't put myself in her shoes and I don't want to be her or try to be her. My criteria when it comes to heroines tend to fall into very black and white categories: do I like her? or don't I like her? and why? That's it.
If I like or even love the heroine, I will enjoy the book more. If I don't like or even hate the heroine, I'm more inclined to rate the book lower. For me, liking or not liking a character adds a lot of the enjoyment to the reading experience for me.
So, if I don't want to BE the heroine, then who do I identify with? Perhaps the hero? Not that I want to BE the hero, but it's all about the hero for me. He needs to be someone I can fall in love with. That's what reading romance is all about for me, but I digress ... we are talking about heroines. (I'll save my discourse of what heroines I like or don't like for another post!).
I decided to ask Bambi a few questions about why she has to BE the heroine and here's what she had to say:
Are you the heroine in every book you read? Or do you try to be?
Bambi: I do try to be the heroine in every book that I read. It's not always possible, but I try to put myself in that place.
Bambi: Putting myself in the role of the lead character makes me feel like I am part of the story. For me, reading is all about the escape, the adventure, and living vicariously through the characters.
When does being the heroine work for you?
Bambi: It works for me when I am identifying with the heroine, when I think she is acting or reacting in a way similar to how I would act. If I am living vicariously through this character, then I am likely to be enjoying myself and the story.
Can you give me a few examples of books where being the heroine worked for you?
Bambi: I really get into the role of heroine in any book that is written by Kristen Ashley. I love her heroines. They are real women (for the most part) with a little bit of something unique thrown in to make them stand out. KA is great at getting in my head with her writing style, and I just identify with all her girls. Whether they are rock chicks, fashionistas, moms or nerdy librarians - I always find a little bit of myself in every one.
Does being able to be the heroine affect how you rate a book?
Bambi: Yes. If I cannot put myself in the place of the main character, then I am not connecting with the story or characters like I want to. If I can't connect, then I will not enjoy the story as much. Hence, the lower rating.
When does it not work for you?
Bambi: It doesn't work for me when the heroine is super annoying or has no common sense. If a heroine has a lot of those TSTL moments, or she is super immature, or really just too far extreme in any way, then the connection starts to break down and I will get ranty.
Can you give me a few examples of books where being the heroine has not worked for you and why?
Bambi: Most recently, I would say A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer. The heroine was constantly getting her ass kicked, and she kept trusting a man who constantly lied to her and betrayed her at every turn. And the lies and betrayal were so bad at the very first instance that it would have completely broken my trust with him forever. The second one that comes to mind is Captive, Mine by Natasha Knight. This was a very very dark story where the hero constantly humiliated and hurt the heroine, and literally treated her like a dog - yet she fell in love with him when he had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Obviously this chick had something wrong in her head so I could not identify with her.
Does the size or the physical description affect whether you are able to be the heroine or not?
Bambi: Not always, but it can. The best example that I can think of off the top of my head is an interracial romance that I read. The author really went way over the top in describing the ethnic characteristics of the heroine, the type of clothes that she wore, the friends and family. She was just in such a stereotypical box that I couldn't fit myself in it with her, so I couldn't get into the role. For similar reasons, I don't read much M/M romance because I can't identify enough with the characters to connect to the story.
Do you have a particular "type" of heroine you prefer? Personality, characteristics, physical description?
Bambi: I like strong heroines that know when to be soft, if that makes sense. I also like heroines that are a little bit goofy, clumsy, snarky or odd.
Finally, can you tell me who some of your all time favorite heroines are?
Bambi: I would not say these are all time favorites... but they are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head. Claire, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Tyra, Motorcyle Man by Kristen Ashley. Charlie, The Australian by Lesley Young. Kate, Bright Side by Kim Holden.
So there you have it ... that's what a very avid reader of romance has to say about being a heroine.
Here's the question then ... Are you the heroine? Are you like me or Bambi when it comes to your heroines? Let me know. I'm very curious.
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