The Difficult Heroine
I mentioned on Facebook that I celebrated "finishing" book #6 of the Highland Guard (The Recruit), by watching the romantic comedy Leap Year. It's one of my favorites. I just love Amy Adams--actually I kind of had her pictured in my mind looks-wise for Helen, the heroine in the almost-on-the-shelves The Saint :)
But in thinking about her character in Leap Year--which I love--I realized that she's one of those slightly snobby but sweet characters that is really hard to pull off in a novel. Kind of like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. In a movie, I think it's a little easier to make that kind of a character likable. We get to SEE how cute Amy Adams is (or Alicia)--and they are both so darn cute!--that we as an audience can't help but like her. But I think it's harder to do in a book.
As I mentioned, I love this type of heroine. I took my stab with Caitrina Lamont in Highland Warrior. Whether I pulled it off, I guess, depends on the emails/reviews you read, LOL.
In my experience, both from reader email and the reviews, it seems to me that readers in general are much much less forgiving of a the heroine than they are of the hero. In books where I thought I might get some flack for the hero, it hasn't materialized, but if the heroine does anything unappealing or makes any bad choices, you can almost count on someone coming down on it. Part of me wonders if maybe it's because women (heroines) tend to react emotionally, which makes their actions/decisions easier to criticize. I'm not sure, just throwing it out there.
Gone with the Wind often appears on many readers' favorite romance lists--although I don't think it technically fits the definitely of genre romance (happy ending)--but I really can't see an author today being able to get away with a heroine like Scarlett O'Hara. Spoiled. Snobby. Manipulative. A little mean spirited (poor Sue Ellen!). Mercenary. I don't think most readers would tolerate this type of heroine. Yet, I love her, and I'd love to see a heroine like her. But I can almost hear the reviews and emails now, LOL.
Now take that type of character and make him a man and most readers will love him. Myself included. :)
So do you agree with me? Do you like the "difficult" heroine? Do you think readers are harder on heroines than they are on heroes? Do you do this yourself? (I think I do unconsciously).