L is for Leading Ladies

Lis for leading ladies, and you really can’t underestimate their importance. Sometimes when I read a book, I find myself growing incredibly irritated by the heroine. If I’m going to invest my time in reading the novel, if I’m going to give up a few hours of my life to hang around with this woman, then I want her to behave like someone I’d want to hang around with in real life.

The leading lady, in the genre that I write for, has to be a woman I’d want as a good mate – possibly a best friend. She has to be fun, she has to beww0139 nice, but she has to be flawed. I don’t want a perfect heroine, thank you very much. I want her to be all-too-human, not Wonder Woman, and I want her to show me her dark side now and then. Just as importantly, I want her to show the hero her dark side, too. I don’t want her to be Little Miss Perfect, simpering and preening at him. I don’t want her to always look immaculate and beautiful. I don’t want her to be always in the right. I want her to sometimes look a mess, make mistakes, get into arguments, behave like an idiot and show herself up now and then. But I also want her to be brave enough to admit when she’s wrong and try to put things right.

The most interesting heroines, for me, go on an adventure of discovery about themselves. There is a strong character arc in their stories, as they go on a journey towards what will hopefully be a new beginning. I like it when they talk to their friends and family about things other than Mr Right. When they have lives and interests outside of a relationship. I don’t mind if they fall madly in love with the hero – heck, I want them to! But I don’t want them obsessing, daydreaming, thinking about nothing else. They have parents, siblings, children, friends and neighbours who have worries and issues of their own. I want the heroines to remember that fact and make time for those people!

11103892_f57d05a21e_oI used to love watching Friends because, although there were several romances in the programme, there was always at least one other thread running through each episode. The characters didn’t just think about their romantic partners. They cared about their friendships, and they dealt with job issues and family issues, too. They were fully-rounded characters, flaws and all, and I loved them for it. Monica didn’t suddenly learn to relax and stop obsessing just because she got with Chandler. Phoebe didn’t spend all her time moping about Mike when she wanted him but thought it was over – can you imagine Phoebe moping about anything? Rachel was still Rachel, whether she was with Ross or not. She still fretted about her career, about her parents, her sisters, and later about her daughter, Emma. Imagine how dull that show would have been if those three women only ever thought about their partners? So why would you want to read a book like that?

Leading ladies – just as important, if not more so, than the hero. Without a likeable heroine, you’re not going to want to hold her hand as she travels through her story. You’re not even going to want to know what her story is. Never underestimate the power of a good woman! 😉

Talking of Leading Ladies, thank you to those ladies who entered the giveaway to win a copy of There Must Be An Angel. The winner is Anne Stenhouse. Congratulations, Anne!

Why not visit some of the other blogs taking part in the A to Z Challenge?

Have a great day xx

6 thoughts on “L is for Leading Ladies

  1. Fabulous post – completely agree. I hate it when a woman in a book changes for the sake of a man, or when a book is solely about a woman trying to ‘get’ a man. That’s guaranteed to make me stop reading ( and very few things stop me reading).

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    • I think it used to be very common in romance novels that all a woman thought of was how to “catch” a man or how to keep the man she’d got. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case so much these days and women are shown to have other concerns and interests, too. I love it when I read about women “awakening” to their own worth and a whole realm of possibilities opens up for them. Thanks for commenting, Alison!

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  2. Very true. I like my leading ladies to be a bit feisty. I adore Friends. I could watch it again and again, and I love that each of the three female leads is so ‘normal’ and has insecurities and mess-ups like normal people. Great post xx

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  3. Thanks, Jessica. Friends was brilliant, wasn’t it! I still watch it sometimes as it’s always on some channel or other, and it still makes me laugh even now. I used to have all the videos – yes, videos – of the show, but I kept lending them to my kids and bit by bit they disappeared. Funny that…xx

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