Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Not So Modern Hero and Heroine

Thanks to a reprint of M.C. Beaton's older novels, recently I've been making my way through Regency stories originally written in the nineteen eighties. Most of these were first published under the name Marion Chesney and happily my library has managed to retain a copy (if a tad battered) of most of the titles.

The front covers don't really look that much different than a modern day Mills and Boons to be honest. Pretty girl, possesive bloke looking down her cleavage...
And I'm going to admit I'm really enjoying them. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be. They don't have the style of the queen of Regency romances, Georgette Heyer, but there is something in them that makes me more than happy to devour at least a book a day (presuming I can snatch the time.) And I've come to the conclusion it is the difference in a nineteen eighties hero and this decades heroes and heroines.

The heroines are opiniated women who stood out from the crowd, who didn't necessarily meet the criteria for being great beauties, have a tendency towards big hair and a ready wit, and to whom basic mathematics comes as second nature, especially where accounting is concerned.

Alright, may be not hair QUITE this big...
 Seems pretty similar to 2012 best seller I read last night. The difference comes in how they approach matters of sex. These heroines are apprehensive if not downright terrified of losing their virginity, whereas in modern books, the heroines seem every bit as lustful as their heroes despite their obvious lack of experience. And is that so far fetched? Because these are historical romances where being a fallen woman would have dire consequences.

And the heroes are every bit as alpha as a modern day historical hero (confusing I know,) but somehow I find them more appealing. They just seem a bit more heroic somehow. Perhaps they don't spend quite so much of their time pitying their lot in life but instead seem to accept that looking after the heroine should be as natural as breathing, rescuing them from every disaster the heroine's big hair and ready wits gets her into with a calm manner, patient beyond belief, and still manage to leave you thinking that it will be a marriage of equals and that the pair of them will be friends as well as lovers.

Does anyone else prefer older styles of heroes and heroines, or it is just me? I've got to think that it's probably just me and pregnancy hormones are scrambling my brain as surely all those big publishing houses are only serving out the kind of stories we all want to hear...

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  1. I'm a vintage fan and I love those old fashioned alpha heroes. I like virgins too and there are less and less of them in current books. I remember reading the Marion Chesney books back in the 80's and enjoying them. Somehow too the old fashioned heroes seemed to be more discreet with their liaisons whereas these days they just seem ruled by their libido and some are downright slutty.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who likes the vintage heroes. I've been reading a more modern book today and the hero has quite put me to the blush and not in a good way, more a kind of embarassment someone would continually think that coarsely, what would his poor mother think! haha

  2. I haven't read so many vintage romances, or historicals to be honest (most recent being Braving Madness which is inexplicably fabulous).

    I'm partial to a virgin heroine. There's nothing more innocent. In both books I have released my heroines have not quite hit the sack and leave it up to their men to guide them. That all changes in book 3, but I'll but out with the self-promo stuff ;o)

    Great post, as always x

  3. Yesssss! Marion Chesney. Me and my (five) sisters all read and loved her Six Sisters series (for obvious reasons). You have good taste!