Romance and Me: The HR Pet Peeves Edition

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on March 14, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 7 comments

Hey Everyone!

Welcome back to the 4th Romance and Me post devoted to discussing Historical Romance. We have already discussed whether HR is a genre you enjoy reading, what attracts us to these stories and what is our favourite time period, so it’s time to share what we dislike about HRs, let’s talk pet peeves!

If I have to name one thing I don’t like about HRs what first comes to mind is TSTL (too-stupid-to-live) simpering whiny heroines! They irritate me so much, nothing like them to turn me off instantly of a perfectly good story. I like strong, intelligent and independent (at least in having them have their own ideas and thoughts) heroines and I don’t believe that only because it is a historical romance the women should all be weak simpering inane characters without any independent thought or backbone. Sure it is a challenge for an author to find a balance between making the story historicly believable and accurate and still make her a strong heroine.

Me personally I have nothing against the mandatory virgin heroines, I get that this is an obligatory detail to stay true to the time period, and though you can call me old-fashioned, I enjoy the hero introducing the inexperienced heroine to the carnal pleasures storylines 😉

I could go on, but I’ll leave my fellow Book Lovers tell you what they dislike about historical romances:

Susi: I rather not read about woman who don’t know what sex is and believe that some rich rake guy will save them. Meh. Give me a HR with emancipated woman and I’ game.

Anna: Certainly there are things I don’t like in HR and those usually evolve around the heroine. She’s either too docile or in an attempt to make her more of a free spirit, the author creates a heroine I don’t understand or in rare cases hate. But in most HR titles I’ve read until now, I haven’t encountered such problems, so I consider myself quite lucky 🙂

The HR cliché I’m tired of? The virgin heroine… I know we are talking about a different era, but it kind of tires me a bit.

Oh, and I sometimes hate the covers… They are screaming sex in some cases or are quite tasteless.

Caro: I hate inaccurate historical behavior. No I don’t know everything about how people behaved 2 centuries past but I don’t want a Victorian heroine acting/thinking like a modern day woman. If it’s subtle I can work with it but if it’s too noticeable it just won’t work for me.

Alisha: Unfortunately, one of the things I’m not crazy about with regard to historical romance is perhaps one of the things that would make such stories believable in a historical context; simpering, overly docile heroines! Especially when paired with alpha-male, dominant heroes. Give me a bluestocking, any day. ^_^


HR clichés? Hm.. There are so very many wallflower stories out there. I’ve got wallflowers coming out of my ears, I do! I think that it’s perhaps easier to identify with heroines that have some streak of defiance and independence to them. So I look forward to reading more tales with slightly heroines. ^_^

So as you can see we all agree that simpering too docile heroines bore and irritate us, so it’s now your turn to tell us,

What is it you dislike about historical romance novels? 

Any particular HR clichés you are tired of?

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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  • Anachronist March 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    A great post! I also don’t like helpless heroines or those too emancipated for their times! And I hate people without heads on covers – it seems to indicate what kind of reader would buy/read that book…;)

  • blodeuedd March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    It all depends, sometimes I like one thing, sometimes not. I do not care if the heroine does not know what sex is. Cos who would have told her. That was shocking and should not have been spoken about. The thing that bothers me the most is if she gives it up too fast. It just doesn’t feel right

  • Sheree March 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Innocent is one thing, TSTL is another. And at a time when one’s reputation is EVERYTHING, a foolishly headstrong heroine is a bit too out of the norm, especially if she’s not from a wealthy, titled family (because money means she’s “eccentric”, not “crazy”).

    On the other hand, if Paul Marron is on the cover or on the stepback, I’ll buy it regardless. 😉

  • Sullivan McPig March 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

    The hero having a mistress who he keeps seeing for a while after the romance between him and the heroine has started up. Hate it!

    cliches: the hero secretly being a spy, but acting stupid/lazy/whatever
    Matchmaking godmothers.

  • sienny March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

    i really can’t stand where a heroine is a total innocent and has an air of helpless. i prefer my heroine in historical romance to be clever and smart enough to get the man that they want. i like to read how they steer the man and it’s better if he’s also smart enough to know that he was steered though helpless to resist.

  • aurian March 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I agree with you. I hate tstl heroines, they have to be strong and able. And please don’t succumb to sex right after the very first kiss. I do prefer a bit older, on the shelf, heroines, as they are more interesting than the 17year olds straight from the schoolroom.

  • Susan March 15, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I don’t have a favorite time period. I grew up reading medievals, but branched out–I’ll read about any time period/geographic area as long as the story’s good.

    That said, although I can suspend belief/expectations up to a certain point (I’m reading a novel, not a history text), I do want the “historical” part to be somewhat fleshed out and accurate. Don’t think you can put the heroine in a corset and a hoop skirt and that’s enough to make it a realistic Victorian romance. There’s more to a good HR than having generic characters run around wearing different clothing.

    Not only is the setting important, but the author should make some attempt to have the behavior of the characters reflect the time/place. If Britain is the setting, there are different expectations for characters in a Georgian period than a Regency or Victorian period. And, if the setting is more exotic, say ancient Rome, the characters shouldn’t be people with modern sensibilities and values who happen to wear togas instead of jeans.

    As for the TSTL, that doesn’t work in any time period. For either sex.

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