An Ideal Husband

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

No, I’m not talking about the Oscar Wilde play, but a New York Times column written by Pulitzer Prize winner Maureen Dowd on 7.7.08.  Ms. Dowd’s column features Father Pat Connor, a New Jersey priest who is 79 and celibate, but who has spent many years counseling couples. 

For four decades Father Pat has given his talk on “Whom not to marry.”  (He’s not only wise, but grammatical!)   He speaks mostly to high school girls since they’re more interested in the subject than boys of that age.  He hopes Maureen Dowd that if he can get them thinking before infatuation kicks in, they will be better equipped to avoid bad matches.

What caught my attention and caused me to save the column when I read it last July is the way that Father Connor’s advice tracks with—and sometimes contradicts—the way we romance writers portray romantic heroes.  (Most of these points also apply to women, of course.) 

For example, Father Connor says “never marry a man who has no friends.”  A person who doesn’t develop and maintain friendships is probably going to be bad at the intimacy required for marriage.  Think of the loner romantic heroes—the dark, mysterious stranger who comes to Shane Large town with nothing and no one.  Is he really going to make a decent husband? 

Probably not, though the magic of fiction can transform anti-social loners to doting lovers.  The hero of LaVyrle Spencer’s wonderful Morning Glory comes to mind.  Though now that I think of it, he was not so much anti-social as he was terribly alone and wanting to belong.  That kind of hero is easier to work with, and actually not uncommon in romance, though Spencer went further than most in creating a hero desperately hungry for human connection. 

While there is a strong tradition of loner heroes, there is an equally strong tradition of heroes who are part of a group of friends.  I’m very fond of this myself because male friendship is kind of sexy.  It shows that a man can form bonds.  That he can be caring and loyal. 

In my Fallen Angels series, the friendships date from school days where the boys banded together to create a surrogate family.  In my new Lost Lords series—ummm, it’s pretty much the same, though the school is no longer the very real Eton, but the fictional Westerfield Academy for boys of ‘good birth and bad behavior.’ 

In current romances, I think the ‘group of friends’ model has the upper hand, whether it’s Troubleshooters, Rogues, Devil Riders, or the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  This not only makes the heroes more psychologically convincing, but also makes it easier for the authors to write series books, which is a definite plus in marketing terms.  <g>       

Father Connor also says, “steer clear of someone who never makes demands counter to yours.”  There are times where the idea of having an amiable doormat is appealing, no question!  But a relationship that involves give and take will be more rewarding, I think.  And more equal.  Sometimes we need a partner who encourages us—or prods us!—to stretch beyond our comfort zone. 

Man with no name Father Connor quotes a therapist friend who said, “More marriages are killed by silence than violence.”  Take THAT, Strong Silent Hero!  There is dramatic power to the stoic, mysterious stranger, but a man who is willing to talk is a lot easier to live with.  (Maybe he’s not as common as we’d like, but he’s worth waiting for.  <g>)

And what about his relationship with his family?  Is he going to invite his mom along on the honeymoon?  Or does he sneer at her and treat her with disrespect?  A man who disses other women may end up dissing you.  A man who likes women—actually likes them, not just wanting to bed them—is more promising material. 

A very well read friend of mine once explained to me a particular type of traditional romance hero who thinks all women are sluts, so he instantly categorizes the heroine as such, probably because she turns him on.  The double standard in all its depressing glory. By the end of the book, this kind of ‘hero’ will decide that the heroine is true and innocent and worthy of him, but is that liking women?  I don’t think so. 

My friend who educated me about this stereotype added that I’d hate this kind of hero, and she was right.  Though once common, especially in historicals, this sort of hero is now mercifully rare.  Mr. Double Standard has the advantage of providing romantic conflict through his misplaced sneers, but ugly is still ugly. 

These Old Shades What about his values and goals?  Are they similar to yours?  Opposites may attract, but they often can’t live together.  Having compatible spiritual values is a biggie, though it’s not usually much addressed in romance apart from inspirationals.  It’s certainly important in the real world, though. 

Next, Father Connor says, “Does he use money responsibly?  Is he stingy?”  I suspect that money, the lack thereof, and how it’s used, have always been huge issues in marriages.  Luckily, in historical romance we can often finesse this with our wildly wealthy lords <G>, but in the real world, money is a major source of relationship conflict.  And not usually of the fun kind. 

Father Pat is also in agreement with my mother.  The one piece of relationship advice she ever gave me was to never marry a man thinking you can change him.  Father Pat goes further by pointing that “People are the same after marriage as before, only more so.” 

In romance, we usually show the characters changing during the courtship phase so that when the commitment comes, readers can believe in it. But I’ll bet we can all think of books where we closed them at the end and said, “It will never last!”

A very big issue in the real world is whether the potential partner is a good person.  Is he/she kind, courteous, honest, loyal?  This is a big issue in romance, too, where we have learned that even the toughest looking protagonist can be redeemed by showing some good behavior, often on the sly. 

I’ve heard this called the “save the cat moment,” in which the SEAL or tough cop who can dispense death with both hands saves some small vulnerable creature.  Cat, dog, child, ferret—whatever.  As long as it shows that he has a kinder side. 

I did a lot of this with Reggie Davenport, my classic alcoholic bad boy.  The book where he first showed up, he was mostly a drunken jerk, but in his own story, you The Rake see him rescuing people and animals right and left, even if he is cranky when anyone notices.  This sort of thing is just plain fun in romance. <G>

Father Pat asks if the potential mate has a sense of humor, and this is where the real world and romance are in complete agreement.  Being able to laugh together, to share private jokes and appreciate life’s absurdities, goes a very long way to polishing the rough edges of everyday living.

Georgette Heyer In romance, discovering a shared sense of humor is one of the clearest signs that romance is in the air.  It’s a wonderful way of showing that two people can connect even if they seem very different.  Georgette Heyer was a grand mistress of this.  After all, isn’t it wonderful and pretty darned sexy when someone loves our sense of humor?  (Reggie had a sense of humor. <g>)

Father Pat said that at the end of his lecture, girls will often wail, “You’re eliminated everyone!”  Not really.  When it comes to finding the ideal husband, I remember the old joke about the man who spent years looking for the perfect woman, but when he did—she was looking for the perfect man. <G>  In the real world, it always helps if both parties are tolerant and adaptable.  And able to laugh together. 

Sylvester What essential traits do you feel a mate must have?  In your romance reading, what aspects of a relationship would you like to see more?  Or what do you see in fictional romances that just doesn’t work for you?  If you want to tell us about your own Ideal Husband, that’s good, too!

Mary Jo

70 thoughts on “An Ideal Husband”

  1. Wonderful post Mary Jo. It’s so true that so many famous romance heroes are what Father Pat says wouldn’t make for a good husband. Those heroes who hate women — it explains why that sort of romance doesn’t appeal to me — I can’t feel romantic about a jerk.
    I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman…
    I sometimes consider this quote from Psyche: “Women dream of men who give themselves wholly.”
    It’s the impossible dream, isn’t it? But I wonder whether we really would like it if a man did give himself wholly, or whether the holding back, the ‘otherness,’ the unreachability is part of the intrigue?

    Reply
  2. Wonderful post Mary Jo. It’s so true that so many famous romance heroes are what Father Pat says wouldn’t make for a good husband. Those heroes who hate women — it explains why that sort of romance doesn’t appeal to me — I can’t feel romantic about a jerk.
    I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman…
    I sometimes consider this quote from Psyche: “Women dream of men who give themselves wholly.”
    It’s the impossible dream, isn’t it? But I wonder whether we really would like it if a man did give himself wholly, or whether the holding back, the ‘otherness,’ the unreachability is part of the intrigue?

    Reply
  3. Wonderful post Mary Jo. It’s so true that so many famous romance heroes are what Father Pat says wouldn’t make for a good husband. Those heroes who hate women — it explains why that sort of romance doesn’t appeal to me — I can’t feel romantic about a jerk.
    I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman…
    I sometimes consider this quote from Psyche: “Women dream of men who give themselves wholly.”
    It’s the impossible dream, isn’t it? But I wonder whether we really would like it if a man did give himself wholly, or whether the holding back, the ‘otherness,’ the unreachability is part of the intrigue?

    Reply
  4. Wonderful post Mary Jo. It’s so true that so many famous romance heroes are what Father Pat says wouldn’t make for a good husband. Those heroes who hate women — it explains why that sort of romance doesn’t appeal to me — I can’t feel romantic about a jerk.
    I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman…
    I sometimes consider this quote from Psyche: “Women dream of men who give themselves wholly.”
    It’s the impossible dream, isn’t it? But I wonder whether we really would like it if a man did give himself wholly, or whether the holding back, the ‘otherness,’ the unreachability is part of the intrigue?

    Reply
  5. Wonderful post Mary Jo. It’s so true that so many famous romance heroes are what Father Pat says wouldn’t make for a good husband. Those heroes who hate women — it explains why that sort of romance doesn’t appeal to me — I can’t feel romantic about a jerk.
    I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman…
    I sometimes consider this quote from Psyche: “Women dream of men who give themselves wholly.”
    It’s the impossible dream, isn’t it? But I wonder whether we really would like it if a man did give himself wholly, or whether the holding back, the ‘otherness,’ the unreachability is part of the intrigue?

    Reply
  6. It’s interesting that when we dream (or read and dream), we’re attracted to the alpha, the tortured, the hurt, but we want to marry the boy next door. Compatibility outside the bed is important in a marriage, whereas in many romance compatibility in bed is the most important–the other stuff can be discovered a trickle at a time or not as the case may be.

    Reply
  7. It’s interesting that when we dream (or read and dream), we’re attracted to the alpha, the tortured, the hurt, but we want to marry the boy next door. Compatibility outside the bed is important in a marriage, whereas in many romance compatibility in bed is the most important–the other stuff can be discovered a trickle at a time or not as the case may be.

    Reply
  8. It’s interesting that when we dream (or read and dream), we’re attracted to the alpha, the tortured, the hurt, but we want to marry the boy next door. Compatibility outside the bed is important in a marriage, whereas in many romance compatibility in bed is the most important–the other stuff can be discovered a trickle at a time or not as the case may be.

    Reply
  9. It’s interesting that when we dream (or read and dream), we’re attracted to the alpha, the tortured, the hurt, but we want to marry the boy next door. Compatibility outside the bed is important in a marriage, whereas in many romance compatibility in bed is the most important–the other stuff can be discovered a trickle at a time or not as the case may be.

    Reply
  10. It’s interesting that when we dream (or read and dream), we’re attracted to the alpha, the tortured, the hurt, but we want to marry the boy next door. Compatibility outside the bed is important in a marriage, whereas in many romance compatibility in bed is the most important–the other stuff can be discovered a trickle at a time or not as the case may be.

    Reply
  11. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “anti-hero” hero. Unfortunately, they are still alive and well in romance fiction. I’m talking about the absolute slimeball hero. The author usually defends him by saying he’s had a bad childhood, or been abused, etc. Since he changes by the end, it’s all right. No, it’s not all right. Such a man will never be a hero, and I wonder about women who like this type of man.
    My ideal hero is a decent man who’s been kicked around, and it’s made him an even better man. He’s wildly intelligent and gets what he wants because he’s smarter than anyone else, although he can fight if he has to. He likes women and respects them, and as much as he wants to marry the heroine, he would never force her into it.
    I’ve just described the “nice guy” hero, which many women don’t find attractive. I’d suggest they read the Wenches’ books, because, while I haven’t read all your books, I keep coming back because your heroes are this type and they’re wonderful. A relatively new author who comes to mind who writes devastatingly attractive nice guy heroes is Louise Allen.

    Reply
  12. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “anti-hero” hero. Unfortunately, they are still alive and well in romance fiction. I’m talking about the absolute slimeball hero. The author usually defends him by saying he’s had a bad childhood, or been abused, etc. Since he changes by the end, it’s all right. No, it’s not all right. Such a man will never be a hero, and I wonder about women who like this type of man.
    My ideal hero is a decent man who’s been kicked around, and it’s made him an even better man. He’s wildly intelligent and gets what he wants because he’s smarter than anyone else, although he can fight if he has to. He likes women and respects them, and as much as he wants to marry the heroine, he would never force her into it.
    I’ve just described the “nice guy” hero, which many women don’t find attractive. I’d suggest they read the Wenches’ books, because, while I haven’t read all your books, I keep coming back because your heroes are this type and they’re wonderful. A relatively new author who comes to mind who writes devastatingly attractive nice guy heroes is Louise Allen.

    Reply
  13. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “anti-hero” hero. Unfortunately, they are still alive and well in romance fiction. I’m talking about the absolute slimeball hero. The author usually defends him by saying he’s had a bad childhood, or been abused, etc. Since he changes by the end, it’s all right. No, it’s not all right. Such a man will never be a hero, and I wonder about women who like this type of man.
    My ideal hero is a decent man who’s been kicked around, and it’s made him an even better man. He’s wildly intelligent and gets what he wants because he’s smarter than anyone else, although he can fight if he has to. He likes women and respects them, and as much as he wants to marry the heroine, he would never force her into it.
    I’ve just described the “nice guy” hero, which many women don’t find attractive. I’d suggest they read the Wenches’ books, because, while I haven’t read all your books, I keep coming back because your heroes are this type and they’re wonderful. A relatively new author who comes to mind who writes devastatingly attractive nice guy heroes is Louise Allen.

    Reply
  14. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “anti-hero” hero. Unfortunately, they are still alive and well in romance fiction. I’m talking about the absolute slimeball hero. The author usually defends him by saying he’s had a bad childhood, or been abused, etc. Since he changes by the end, it’s all right. No, it’s not all right. Such a man will never be a hero, and I wonder about women who like this type of man.
    My ideal hero is a decent man who’s been kicked around, and it’s made him an even better man. He’s wildly intelligent and gets what he wants because he’s smarter than anyone else, although he can fight if he has to. He likes women and respects them, and as much as he wants to marry the heroine, he would never force her into it.
    I’ve just described the “nice guy” hero, which many women don’t find attractive. I’d suggest they read the Wenches’ books, because, while I haven’t read all your books, I keep coming back because your heroes are this type and they’re wonderful. A relatively new author who comes to mind who writes devastatingly attractive nice guy heroes is Louise Allen.

    Reply
  15. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “anti-hero” hero. Unfortunately, they are still alive and well in romance fiction. I’m talking about the absolute slimeball hero. The author usually defends him by saying he’s had a bad childhood, or been abused, etc. Since he changes by the end, it’s all right. No, it’s not all right. Such a man will never be a hero, and I wonder about women who like this type of man.
    My ideal hero is a decent man who’s been kicked around, and it’s made him an even better man. He’s wildly intelligent and gets what he wants because he’s smarter than anyone else, although he can fight if he has to. He likes women and respects them, and as much as he wants to marry the heroine, he would never force her into it.
    I’ve just described the “nice guy” hero, which many women don’t find attractive. I’d suggest they read the Wenches’ books, because, while I haven’t read all your books, I keep coming back because your heroes are this type and they’re wonderful. A relatively new author who comes to mind who writes devastatingly attractive nice guy heroes is Louise Allen.

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    –I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman… —
    Very good point, Anne. It’s a power fantasy: that a woman has the power to change the tough guy into a perfect husband. Potent, yes, but I’m not sure if I can think of many real world examples.
    Keira, as you say, hot sex is often considered the only thing that’s really essential. In real life,of course, hot sex it the beginning, not the end.
    Linda, as you try other Wenchly books, I think you’ll find more heroes you can like and respect.
    Meanwhile, I need to look up Louisa Allen. Thanks for the recommendation–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    –I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman… —
    Very good point, Anne. It’s a power fantasy: that a woman has the power to change the tough guy into a perfect husband. Potent, yes, but I’m not sure if I can think of many real world examples.
    Keira, as you say, hot sex is often considered the only thing that’s really essential. In real life,of course, hot sex it the beginning, not the end.
    Linda, as you try other Wenchly books, I think you’ll find more heroes you can like and respect.
    Meanwhile, I need to look up Louisa Allen. Thanks for the recommendation–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    –I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman… —
    Very good point, Anne. It’s a power fantasy: that a woman has the power to change the tough guy into a perfect husband. Potent, yes, but I’m not sure if I can think of many real world examples.
    Keira, as you say, hot sex is often considered the only thing that’s really essential. In real life,of course, hot sex it the beginning, not the end.
    Linda, as you try other Wenchly books, I think you’ll find more heroes you can like and respect.
    Meanwhile, I need to look up Louisa Allen. Thanks for the recommendation–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    –I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman… —
    Very good point, Anne. It’s a power fantasy: that a woman has the power to change the tough guy into a perfect husband. Potent, yes, but I’m not sure if I can think of many real world examples.
    Keira, as you say, hot sex is often considered the only thing that’s really essential. In real life,of course, hot sex it the beginning, not the end.
    Linda, as you try other Wenchly books, I think you’ll find more heroes you can like and respect.
    Meanwhile, I need to look up Louisa Allen. Thanks for the recommendation–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    –I think a lot of romance tap into the fantasy that women *can* change men — those hardened rakes that turn into devoted and faithful family men, those strong silent men who confide their innermost feelings to just one woman… —
    Very good point, Anne. It’s a power fantasy: that a woman has the power to change the tough guy into a perfect husband. Potent, yes, but I’m not sure if I can think of many real world examples.
    Keira, as you say, hot sex is often considered the only thing that’s really essential. In real life,of course, hot sex it the beginning, not the end.
    Linda, as you try other Wenchly books, I think you’ll find more heroes you can like and respect.
    Meanwhile, I need to look up Louisa Allen. Thanks for the recommendation–
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. Good post, Mary Jo! In romance, sexual compatibility seems to serve as a marker that everything else is compatible, too. But of course in real life, that is not the case. I would add a couple of things to your list: ability to deal with conflict without getting defensive and ability to listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from–not necessarily to agree, but just to understand. And I do concur with what you wrote about considering a man’s relationship with his mother. My husband’s mother died when he was 8 and the following year, his father married a woman who was well-intentioned, but very controlling. He has never gotten over it and it definitely affects how he relates to me.

    Reply
  22. Good post, Mary Jo! In romance, sexual compatibility seems to serve as a marker that everything else is compatible, too. But of course in real life, that is not the case. I would add a couple of things to your list: ability to deal with conflict without getting defensive and ability to listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from–not necessarily to agree, but just to understand. And I do concur with what you wrote about considering a man’s relationship with his mother. My husband’s mother died when he was 8 and the following year, his father married a woman who was well-intentioned, but very controlling. He has never gotten over it and it definitely affects how he relates to me.

    Reply
  23. Good post, Mary Jo! In romance, sexual compatibility seems to serve as a marker that everything else is compatible, too. But of course in real life, that is not the case. I would add a couple of things to your list: ability to deal with conflict without getting defensive and ability to listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from–not necessarily to agree, but just to understand. And I do concur with what you wrote about considering a man’s relationship with his mother. My husband’s mother died when he was 8 and the following year, his father married a woman who was well-intentioned, but very controlling. He has never gotten over it and it definitely affects how he relates to me.

    Reply
  24. Good post, Mary Jo! In romance, sexual compatibility seems to serve as a marker that everything else is compatible, too. But of course in real life, that is not the case. I would add a couple of things to your list: ability to deal with conflict without getting defensive and ability to listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from–not necessarily to agree, but just to understand. And I do concur with what you wrote about considering a man’s relationship with his mother. My husband’s mother died when he was 8 and the following year, his father married a woman who was well-intentioned, but very controlling. He has never gotten over it and it definitely affects how he relates to me.

    Reply
  25. Good post, Mary Jo! In romance, sexual compatibility seems to serve as a marker that everything else is compatible, too. But of course in real life, that is not the case. I would add a couple of things to your list: ability to deal with conflict without getting defensive and ability to listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from–not necessarily to agree, but just to understand. And I do concur with what you wrote about considering a man’s relationship with his mother. My husband’s mother died when he was 8 and the following year, his father married a woman who was well-intentioned, but very controlling. He has never gotten over it and it definitely affects how he relates to me.

    Reply
  26. Well said, MJ. Linda, I love that kind of hero – hence the Wench books I keep coming back to! 🙂 No specific books come to mind, but I have put a few down (not by Wenches, of course!) and known that outside the writer-controlled world of pure fantasy, the main relationship would never be happy for long. That’s the fun of romance, though, I suppose – the suspension of disbelief. 🙂
    OT – those Heyer book covers are gorgeous! Where did you find those examples?

    Reply
  27. Well said, MJ. Linda, I love that kind of hero – hence the Wench books I keep coming back to! 🙂 No specific books come to mind, but I have put a few down (not by Wenches, of course!) and known that outside the writer-controlled world of pure fantasy, the main relationship would never be happy for long. That’s the fun of romance, though, I suppose – the suspension of disbelief. 🙂
    OT – those Heyer book covers are gorgeous! Where did you find those examples?

    Reply
  28. Well said, MJ. Linda, I love that kind of hero – hence the Wench books I keep coming back to! 🙂 No specific books come to mind, but I have put a few down (not by Wenches, of course!) and known that outside the writer-controlled world of pure fantasy, the main relationship would never be happy for long. That’s the fun of romance, though, I suppose – the suspension of disbelief. 🙂
    OT – those Heyer book covers are gorgeous! Where did you find those examples?

    Reply
  29. Well said, MJ. Linda, I love that kind of hero – hence the Wench books I keep coming back to! 🙂 No specific books come to mind, but I have put a few down (not by Wenches, of course!) and known that outside the writer-controlled world of pure fantasy, the main relationship would never be happy for long. That’s the fun of romance, though, I suppose – the suspension of disbelief. 🙂
    OT – those Heyer book covers are gorgeous! Where did you find those examples?

    Reply
  30. Well said, MJ. Linda, I love that kind of hero – hence the Wench books I keep coming back to! 🙂 No specific books come to mind, but I have put a few down (not by Wenches, of course!) and known that outside the writer-controlled world of pure fantasy, the main relationship would never be happy for long. That’s the fun of romance, though, I suppose – the suspension of disbelief. 🙂
    OT – those Heyer book covers are gorgeous! Where did you find those examples?

    Reply
  31. From MJP:
    Anne, I just went to B&N.com and looked up Georgette Heyer, and there the covers were. These two examples are from Harlequin reissues–they’ve several times reissued different groups of Heyers. Sourcebooks is also reissuing a number of Heyers and does lovely covers.
    Interestingly, on B&N there was a cover for Regency Buck that used the same image as the for These Old Shades that put above. I guess they’re all trolling in the same image seas. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. From MJP:
    Anne, I just went to B&N.com and looked up Georgette Heyer, and there the covers were. These two examples are from Harlequin reissues–they’ve several times reissued different groups of Heyers. Sourcebooks is also reissuing a number of Heyers and does lovely covers.
    Interestingly, on B&N there was a cover for Regency Buck that used the same image as the for These Old Shades that put above. I guess they’re all trolling in the same image seas. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. From MJP:
    Anne, I just went to B&N.com and looked up Georgette Heyer, and there the covers were. These two examples are from Harlequin reissues–they’ve several times reissued different groups of Heyers. Sourcebooks is also reissuing a number of Heyers and does lovely covers.
    Interestingly, on B&N there was a cover for Regency Buck that used the same image as the for These Old Shades that put above. I guess they’re all trolling in the same image seas. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. From MJP:
    Anne, I just went to B&N.com and looked up Georgette Heyer, and there the covers were. These two examples are from Harlequin reissues–they’ve several times reissued different groups of Heyers. Sourcebooks is also reissuing a number of Heyers and does lovely covers.
    Interestingly, on B&N there was a cover for Regency Buck that used the same image as the for These Old Shades that put above. I guess they’re all trolling in the same image seas. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. From MJP:
    Anne, I just went to B&N.com and looked up Georgette Heyer, and there the covers were. These two examples are from Harlequin reissues–they’ve several times reissued different groups of Heyers. Sourcebooks is also reissuing a number of Heyers and does lovely covers.
    Interestingly, on B&N there was a cover for Regency Buck that used the same image as the for These Old Shades that put above. I guess they’re all trolling in the same image seas. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. I always find it comforting to remember that when Book Bug asked nearly two hundred romance writers, what qualities a hero should always have, the two qualities mentioned most frequently were honor and a sense of humor. That’s a pretty good combination. I don’t think it’s coincidence that so many of my favorite writers were in that group (including several Wenches).
    I don’t come across many throw-the-book-at-the-wall books, but I’ll never forget one book that I literally tossed. The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. Why would you want to be friends with someone you couldn’t laugh with, much less decide you want to spend your life with such a person?

    Reply
  37. I always find it comforting to remember that when Book Bug asked nearly two hundred romance writers, what qualities a hero should always have, the two qualities mentioned most frequently were honor and a sense of humor. That’s a pretty good combination. I don’t think it’s coincidence that so many of my favorite writers were in that group (including several Wenches).
    I don’t come across many throw-the-book-at-the-wall books, but I’ll never forget one book that I literally tossed. The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. Why would you want to be friends with someone you couldn’t laugh with, much less decide you want to spend your life with such a person?

    Reply
  38. I always find it comforting to remember that when Book Bug asked nearly two hundred romance writers, what qualities a hero should always have, the two qualities mentioned most frequently were honor and a sense of humor. That’s a pretty good combination. I don’t think it’s coincidence that so many of my favorite writers were in that group (including several Wenches).
    I don’t come across many throw-the-book-at-the-wall books, but I’ll never forget one book that I literally tossed. The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. Why would you want to be friends with someone you couldn’t laugh with, much less decide you want to spend your life with such a person?

    Reply
  39. I always find it comforting to remember that when Book Bug asked nearly two hundred romance writers, what qualities a hero should always have, the two qualities mentioned most frequently were honor and a sense of humor. That’s a pretty good combination. I don’t think it’s coincidence that so many of my favorite writers were in that group (including several Wenches).
    I don’t come across many throw-the-book-at-the-wall books, but I’ll never forget one book that I literally tossed. The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. Why would you want to be friends with someone you couldn’t laugh with, much less decide you want to spend your life with such a person?

    Reply
  40. I always find it comforting to remember that when Book Bug asked nearly two hundred romance writers, what qualities a hero should always have, the two qualities mentioned most frequently were honor and a sense of humor. That’s a pretty good combination. I don’t think it’s coincidence that so many of my favorite writers were in that group (including several Wenches).
    I don’t come across many throw-the-book-at-the-wall books, but I’ll never forget one book that I literally tossed. The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. Why would you want to be friends with someone you couldn’t laugh with, much less decide you want to spend your life with such a person?

    Reply
  41. I think attraction is there from the beginning but hot sex needs to come later. Some books have the couple consumed by lust and tearing each other’s clothes off before they have ever spoken to each other, and this seems very unrealistic especially in historical accounts and with innocent misses. Also it doesn’t speak well for the intelligence or maturity of either party. I like to watch the pair get to know and trust each other so I like heroes who can talk. Of course Cyrano de Bergerac is wonderfully romantic and a great talker but can you imagine being married to someone who gave away all his money for the month in a grand gesture, who would not accept a patron, who loved to provoke his enemies, at risk of his life?

    Reply
  42. I think attraction is there from the beginning but hot sex needs to come later. Some books have the couple consumed by lust and tearing each other’s clothes off before they have ever spoken to each other, and this seems very unrealistic especially in historical accounts and with innocent misses. Also it doesn’t speak well for the intelligence or maturity of either party. I like to watch the pair get to know and trust each other so I like heroes who can talk. Of course Cyrano de Bergerac is wonderfully romantic and a great talker but can you imagine being married to someone who gave away all his money for the month in a grand gesture, who would not accept a patron, who loved to provoke his enemies, at risk of his life?

    Reply
  43. I think attraction is there from the beginning but hot sex needs to come later. Some books have the couple consumed by lust and tearing each other’s clothes off before they have ever spoken to each other, and this seems very unrealistic especially in historical accounts and with innocent misses. Also it doesn’t speak well for the intelligence or maturity of either party. I like to watch the pair get to know and trust each other so I like heroes who can talk. Of course Cyrano de Bergerac is wonderfully romantic and a great talker but can you imagine being married to someone who gave away all his money for the month in a grand gesture, who would not accept a patron, who loved to provoke his enemies, at risk of his life?

    Reply
  44. I think attraction is there from the beginning but hot sex needs to come later. Some books have the couple consumed by lust and tearing each other’s clothes off before they have ever spoken to each other, and this seems very unrealistic especially in historical accounts and with innocent misses. Also it doesn’t speak well for the intelligence or maturity of either party. I like to watch the pair get to know and trust each other so I like heroes who can talk. Of course Cyrano de Bergerac is wonderfully romantic and a great talker but can you imagine being married to someone who gave away all his money for the month in a grand gesture, who would not accept a patron, who loved to provoke his enemies, at risk of his life?

    Reply
  45. I think attraction is there from the beginning but hot sex needs to come later. Some books have the couple consumed by lust and tearing each other’s clothes off before they have ever spoken to each other, and this seems very unrealistic especially in historical accounts and with innocent misses. Also it doesn’t speak well for the intelligence or maturity of either party. I like to watch the pair get to know and trust each other so I like heroes who can talk. Of course Cyrano de Bergerac is wonderfully romantic and a great talker but can you imagine being married to someone who gave away all his money for the month in a grand gesture, who would not accept a patron, who loved to provoke his enemies, at risk of his life?

    Reply
  46. Intelligence, humor, and kindness–those are three qualities I’d look for in a romance hero and a mate. And to be fair, I’d hope that a romance heroine would have those qualities too. How many of us have read romances in which we loved one-half of the main couple but disliked the other?
    Thinking over the popularity of the rake/bad-boy hero, I can sort of understand the appeal he holds for some readers but I honestly wouldn’t want one for myself. And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. I prefer heroes who have grown up enough to understand that the universe does not revolve around them, and that there are things that need to be done and they may be in the best position to accomplish them. Give me a smart, kind, funny hero who’s interested in something outside of himself, and I’m there!

    Reply
  47. Intelligence, humor, and kindness–those are three qualities I’d look for in a romance hero and a mate. And to be fair, I’d hope that a romance heroine would have those qualities too. How many of us have read romances in which we loved one-half of the main couple but disliked the other?
    Thinking over the popularity of the rake/bad-boy hero, I can sort of understand the appeal he holds for some readers but I honestly wouldn’t want one for myself. And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. I prefer heroes who have grown up enough to understand that the universe does not revolve around them, and that there are things that need to be done and they may be in the best position to accomplish them. Give me a smart, kind, funny hero who’s interested in something outside of himself, and I’m there!

    Reply
  48. Intelligence, humor, and kindness–those are three qualities I’d look for in a romance hero and a mate. And to be fair, I’d hope that a romance heroine would have those qualities too. How many of us have read romances in which we loved one-half of the main couple but disliked the other?
    Thinking over the popularity of the rake/bad-boy hero, I can sort of understand the appeal he holds for some readers but I honestly wouldn’t want one for myself. And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. I prefer heroes who have grown up enough to understand that the universe does not revolve around them, and that there are things that need to be done and they may be in the best position to accomplish them. Give me a smart, kind, funny hero who’s interested in something outside of himself, and I’m there!

    Reply
  49. Intelligence, humor, and kindness–those are three qualities I’d look for in a romance hero and a mate. And to be fair, I’d hope that a romance heroine would have those qualities too. How many of us have read romances in which we loved one-half of the main couple but disliked the other?
    Thinking over the popularity of the rake/bad-boy hero, I can sort of understand the appeal he holds for some readers but I honestly wouldn’t want one for myself. And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. I prefer heroes who have grown up enough to understand that the universe does not revolve around them, and that there are things that need to be done and they may be in the best position to accomplish them. Give me a smart, kind, funny hero who’s interested in something outside of himself, and I’m there!

    Reply
  50. Intelligence, humor, and kindness–those are three qualities I’d look for in a romance hero and a mate. And to be fair, I’d hope that a romance heroine would have those qualities too. How many of us have read romances in which we loved one-half of the main couple but disliked the other?
    Thinking over the popularity of the rake/bad-boy hero, I can sort of understand the appeal he holds for some readers but I honestly wouldn’t want one for myself. And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. I prefer heroes who have grown up enough to understand that the universe does not revolve around them, and that there are things that need to be done and they may be in the best position to accomplish them. Give me a smart, kind, funny hero who’s interested in something outside of himself, and I’m there!

    Reply
  51. Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates.
    I concur with Stephanie. These three traits were what I advised my daughter, because they are what best characterize her father.

    Reply
  52. Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates.
    I concur with Stephanie. These three traits were what I advised my daughter, because they are what best characterize her father.

    Reply
  53. Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates.
    I concur with Stephanie. These three traits were what I advised my daughter, because they are what best characterize her father.

    Reply
  54. Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates.
    I concur with Stephanie. These three traits were what I advised my daughter, because they are what best characterize her father.

    Reply
  55. Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates.
    I concur with Stephanie. These three traits were what I advised my daughter, because they are what best characterize her father.

    Reply
  56. From MJP:
    **The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. **
    Janga, one could guess that the heroinee was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, but it sounds like the author didn’t make the case for that. 🙂
    **And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. **
    SO true, Stephanie! I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but you’re exactly right. Why bother with an immature, self-absorbed twit, even if he does look like a studmuffin?
    **Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates**
    I don’t know, Hannah–he and I might agree too much! He’s a wise man.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  57. From MJP:
    **The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. **
    Janga, one could guess that the heroinee was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, but it sounds like the author didn’t make the case for that. 🙂
    **And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. **
    SO true, Stephanie! I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but you’re exactly right. Why bother with an immature, self-absorbed twit, even if he does look like a studmuffin?
    **Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates**
    I don’t know, Hannah–he and I might agree too much! He’s a wise man.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  58. From MJP:
    **The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. **
    Janga, one could guess that the heroinee was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, but it sounds like the author didn’t make the case for that. 🙂
    **And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. **
    SO true, Stephanie! I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but you’re exactly right. Why bother with an immature, self-absorbed twit, even if he does look like a studmuffin?
    **Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates**
    I don’t know, Hannah–he and I might agree too much! He’s a wise man.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  59. From MJP:
    **The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. **
    Janga, one could guess that the heroinee was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, but it sounds like the author didn’t make the case for that. 🙂
    **And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. **
    SO true, Stephanie! I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but you’re exactly right. Why bother with an immature, self-absorbed twit, even if he does look like a studmuffin?
    **Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates**
    I don’t know, Hannah–he and I might agree too much! He’s a wise man.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  60. From MJP:
    **The heroine has just divorced her husband and says that she should have known he was wrong for her when they never laughed together. I lost any interest in that heroine with that comment. **
    Janga, one could guess that the heroinee was young and dumb and didn’t know any better, but it sounds like the author didn’t make the case for that. 🙂
    **And it may not even be the “bad” so much as the “boy” that turns me off. There’s something fundamentally immature and selfish about someone who thinks only of his own appetites and needs and lets the rest of the world go hang. **
    SO true, Stephanie! I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but you’re exactly right. Why bother with an immature, self-absorbed twit, even if he does look like a studmuffin?
    **Thanks, Mary Jo! You and Father Connor would be a dynamic duo for a panel discussion on mates**
    I don’t know, Hannah–he and I might agree too much! He’s a wise man.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  61. Not playing favs here, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Wench books, but I discovered Anne long ago and throughout all of the novels I’ve ever read, before or since, Gideon is, to me, the perfect hero. I fell in love with him the first time I read that book and I still read it every other month or so. He’s the wounded boy who grows into the flippant rake that covers his true feelings.
    He’s just…*sigh*

    Reply
  62. Not playing favs here, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Wench books, but I discovered Anne long ago and throughout all of the novels I’ve ever read, before or since, Gideon is, to me, the perfect hero. I fell in love with him the first time I read that book and I still read it every other month or so. He’s the wounded boy who grows into the flippant rake that covers his true feelings.
    He’s just…*sigh*

    Reply
  63. Not playing favs here, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Wench books, but I discovered Anne long ago and throughout all of the novels I’ve ever read, before or since, Gideon is, to me, the perfect hero. I fell in love with him the first time I read that book and I still read it every other month or so. He’s the wounded boy who grows into the flippant rake that covers his true feelings.
    He’s just…*sigh*

    Reply
  64. Not playing favs here, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Wench books, but I discovered Anne long ago and throughout all of the novels I’ve ever read, before or since, Gideon is, to me, the perfect hero. I fell in love with him the first time I read that book and I still read it every other month or so. He’s the wounded boy who grows into the flippant rake that covers his true feelings.
    He’s just…*sigh*

    Reply
  65. Not playing favs here, I’m still working my way through the rest of the Wench books, but I discovered Anne long ago and throughout all of the novels I’ve ever read, before or since, Gideon is, to me, the perfect hero. I fell in love with him the first time I read that book and I still read it every other month or so. He’s the wounded boy who grows into the flippant rake that covers his true feelings.
    He’s just…*sigh*

    Reply
  66. I’m a therapist, so I think that people can grow and change. While I agree that it’s a mistake to be with someone because you hope that “you” can change him, I think many of the wenches’ romances show men changed by many combined circumstances— e.g. they find themselves with property and responsibilities, — playing the field has gotten old, their friends are getting married– and they are getting older. And, in addition to all that, there is the woman with whom they form a connection. While there has to be a core of honor or values that doesn’t change, — this kind of change seems to me to be very psychologically real. The more psychologically real the change, the more I enjoy the book.
    Merry

    Reply
  67. I’m a therapist, so I think that people can grow and change. While I agree that it’s a mistake to be with someone because you hope that “you” can change him, I think many of the wenches’ romances show men changed by many combined circumstances— e.g. they find themselves with property and responsibilities, — playing the field has gotten old, their friends are getting married– and they are getting older. And, in addition to all that, there is the woman with whom they form a connection. While there has to be a core of honor or values that doesn’t change, — this kind of change seems to me to be very psychologically real. The more psychologically real the change, the more I enjoy the book.
    Merry

    Reply
  68. I’m a therapist, so I think that people can grow and change. While I agree that it’s a mistake to be with someone because you hope that “you” can change him, I think many of the wenches’ romances show men changed by many combined circumstances— e.g. they find themselves with property and responsibilities, — playing the field has gotten old, their friends are getting married– and they are getting older. And, in addition to all that, there is the woman with whom they form a connection. While there has to be a core of honor or values that doesn’t change, — this kind of change seems to me to be very psychologically real. The more psychologically real the change, the more I enjoy the book.
    Merry

    Reply
  69. I’m a therapist, so I think that people can grow and change. While I agree that it’s a mistake to be with someone because you hope that “you” can change him, I think many of the wenches’ romances show men changed by many combined circumstances— e.g. they find themselves with property and responsibilities, — playing the field has gotten old, their friends are getting married– and they are getting older. And, in addition to all that, there is the woman with whom they form a connection. While there has to be a core of honor or values that doesn’t change, — this kind of change seems to me to be very psychologically real. The more psychologically real the change, the more I enjoy the book.
    Merry

    Reply
  70. I’m a therapist, so I think that people can grow and change. While I agree that it’s a mistake to be with someone because you hope that “you” can change him, I think many of the wenches’ romances show men changed by many combined circumstances— e.g. they find themselves with property and responsibilities, — playing the field has gotten old, their friends are getting married– and they are getting older. And, in addition to all that, there is the woman with whom they form a connection. While there has to be a core of honor or values that doesn’t change, — this kind of change seems to me to be very psychologically real. The more psychologically real the change, the more I enjoy the book.
    Merry

    Reply

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