In the past couple of weeks I read two novels where the heroes were widowers and it got me thinking.
Lately I have seen this new trend in historical romances that more and more heroines are made out to be widows instead of innocent virgins, so that the story and the hero can get to the steamy seduction part faster since the heroine has already been introduced to the world of “carnal pleasure” (even if of course with her first husband it was just “meh”), but these two novels made me realize, that I haven’t come across any widower heroes… until now.
The interesting part was that one of these novels was a contemporary, funny romance (Until There Was You
by Kristan Higgins) while the other was a historical romance (Romancing the Countess
by Ashley March). But basically both made me ponder the same questions and issues about choosing a grieving widower as the hero of a romance novel might raise.
When the heroine is a widow she usually had an unhappy and miserable marriage, so of course the reader is rooting for her to finally experience love and find a man worthy of her affection, but when the hero is a widower (at least in these two novels), he was happily married and very much in love with his deceased wife. So it was very conflicting for me to read about how the hero still loved and grieved for his deceased wife and reconcile this with him being the romantic hero of a new love story.
I think when authors embark on this perilous and challenging journey of making a widower the hero of their romance novel it is incredibly delicate to find the right balance between making him a caring and grieving husband and making him a believable and likeable romance hero for the new love story. And so far I haven’t been sold. I always feel the hero’s pain and loss, but I don’t think he is ready to embark on a new relationship and I feel sorry for the new love interest because they are still playing second fiddle to the deceased wife.
So tell me:
Have you come across/read any romance novels where the heroines/heroes were widows/widowers?
Did you enjoy reading about how a widower character finds love and happiness once again? Were you convinced of him being over the loss of his (first) wife?
Any good novels where the author nails this delicate balance?
I would love to hear your thoughts!