Romance and Me: The Widower as Romantic Hero

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on November 2, 2011 @ 10:00 am 5 comments

Hey Everyone!

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!


About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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  • miki November 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I've read review of the last book from Ashley March who is about a window ( in fact 2) but i'still haven't read the book

    it's true it different but i don't think it's more easy to write a book about a window instead of a virgin heroine. Because i guess i have some expectation. It doesn't mean romance come more quickly not at all ;for me it even more difficult because he ( or she) has to compare with someone ho isn't there anymore so who can be idolized and if it was really love even if she ( or he) find love again it should not erase the first one…. ( i 'm difficult i know)


  • Sullivan McPig November 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I've read tons of historical romances where the hero is a widower and isn't grieving for his lost bride, but instead is even under suspicion of have killed his first wife.

    Victoria Holt has several books where this is the case
    and another that comes to mind is
    The Night Child by Celeste De Blasis. (must warn that there's a rape scene (hero/heroine) in this book)

  • Blanche November 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I think one of the first books I read that involved a widower was Sarah's Child by Linda Howard. The hero loses his wife and children and eventually marries again but wouldn't risk having another baby for fear he would lose again. The heroine does get pregnant and he isn't so happy about it, doesn't want anything to do with the baby at first even if it means losing his second wife but in the end there is a HEA!

  • Aurian November 3, 2011 at 5:38 am

    The last widower I have read about is Jennifer Ashley – The many sins of Lord Camerong. And I agree with Sullivan, there are lots of books where the hero is suspected of killing his first wife.

    But I think the reason the hero / widower is often a grieving one, means to show he was a good husband. In opposition to the heroine's first husband who was lousy, and she good. If he already knows how to be a good husband, he is hero material, right?

    But yes, make the hero a widower for over three years or so, and believing he is ready to move on is easier. Especially when there are children to take care of.

  • Reader December 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Where the widower already has children with his dead wife, part of the fantasy may be the heroine getting to enjoy motherhood without enduring the physical pains of pregnancy and childbirth (because some other woman did that for the heroine, and then got out of the heroine’s way by dying).

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