In Praise of Plumpness

French.mistress.front cover
By Susan Holloway Scott

I promise this won’t be another rant about whether Jessica Simpson is too fat, or Katie Holmes too thin.  It’s our historical heroines that concern me.  I worry about them.  Are they eating enough to catch the eye of historical heroes, or are they languishing into 21st century waifs? 

Yes, I know, in every age there are thin women and not-so-thin women, tall women and short women and every other variation between.  If you’re lucky, you live in an age when your particular “look” is in vogue, but even if you’re not, odds are you’ll still find love and happiness.   And I’ll also discount the bodacious babes shown on most romance book covers, because they seldom bear much resemblance to the heroines inside. 

But the truth is that for most of the historical past that our characters call home (England from the Lolamontezphoto.com

middle ages until 19th century), the fashionable ideal was considerably more upholstered than in our own 
time.  A voluptuous figure was a sign of health and prosperity, desirability and fertile youth, and a well-rounded wife was a status symbol for many husbands, proof before the world that he could afford to keep her gloriously well-fed.  The famous/infamous courtesan Lola Montez (1821-1861), right, wrote a bestselling advice book that included the perfect proportions for a Victorian beauty: hips that must be wider than shoulders.

The seventeenth-century women painted by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) such as the Three Graces, left, are notoriously mocked in our own time.  For most modern women, being called "Rubensesque" is not exactly a compliment. Yet when this picture was new, in the middle of the Thirty Years War, most of Europe was 486px-Peter_Paul_Rubens_026
suffering from famine and deprivation, and all that creamy, dimpled pulchritude was doubly desirable for being so scarce.

The ample young woman drawn by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), right, in the Regency period would have represented the heights both of beauty (she is wickedly based on Emma, Lady Hamilton) and longing.  Most young Englishmen were engaged in fighting at some point in the interminable wars with France, and Rowlandson’s women represented allThomas rowlandson
that was most alluring about the English girls at home, with their wholesomely ample figures and rosy cheeks the products of good English beef and country air.

In my last blog, I mentioned that the real-life heroine of my July book (The French Mistress), Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649-1734), was fondly called Fubs by her lover, King Charles II of England (1630-1685), on account of her famously chubby cheeks and figure.  He even named a royal yacht "Fubsy" in her honor.  At least one blog-reader found this offensive, but I’m willing to bet that Louise was pleased, not insulted.  I wrote her that way, too: thin as a teenager, growing rounder and rounder as time progresses, especially after the birth of her son, and I also wrote how charmed Charles was by her increasingly curvaceous figure. (Here's Louise a little later in life.) In the 1670s, plump women were prized and admired, and gentlemen sighed as they watched a lady work through a hearty meal 462px-Lely_Kéroualle_1671
with gusto, an encouraging sign of being a “woman of appetites” in other areas as well. 

In fact it’s really only been since the flappers of the 1920s that a boyish figure has been considered fashionable, and that the full cheeks that Regency ladies “improved” with cork were replaced by the hollowed high cheekbones of Vogue models.  Now it’s a size zero that represents luxury and wealth: the income to support a gym membership, a personal trainer, liposuction and lifts, and a personal chef preparing a gourmet low-fat diet of costly organic vegetables and wild salmon.  In a time of fast-food excess, indulgent deprivation has become the new sign of class-conscious status.  Go figure.

But what has this done to the heroines in historical romances?  Most readers augment the descriptions in books with what they see in movies.  Like it or not, one picture will always be worth a thousand words, and there are plenty of writers who keep pictures of various movies stars before them as models for their characters.  But Hollywood (and even the BBC) is more concerned with audience than accuracy.  The current queen of historical movies is Keira Knightly, whose now-fashionably-skeletal figure would have horrified Almack’s; as lovely as Ms. Knightly’s face may be, compare her in evening dress to Sir Thomas Lawrence’s 1819 portrait of the lushly beautiful Countess of Blessington, Maguerite,_Countess_of_Blessingtonright.  When then-unknown Kate Winslett was cast as the lead in Titanic, snarky critics faulted her appropriately Gibson-Girl figure as being grossly overweight. 

While there are a few notable exceptions, many historical romance heroines follow twentieth century tastes rather than those of her own time.  They’re described as willowy, slender, elegantly thin, sylph-like.  They have long, tapering legs that stride along with the hero’s.  They don’t need the corsets that propriety forces them to wear.  Though they generally have ample bosoms, they also often have waists so small that the hero’s hands can “span” them (which, when you think about it, makes them sound like Barbie, or at least credits the hero as having stupendously large hands.)  They never have rounded bellies or dimpled thighs or pillowy bottoms, and they never, ever have hips broader than their shoulders.  Sorry, Lola.

I'm not excluding myself, either. I've written my share of historical romance heroines who were tall and slender, even athletic to the point of being called Amazons.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, for there have been Amazons in every generation.  But I never used the same adjectives I've used to describe Louise de Keroualle, and I didn't imagine any of my romance heroines resembling Rubens' Graces; unconscious self-editing, I suppose, or simply following the writing crowd.

So why is this?  Certainly most romance writers do their research, and know how their heroines “should” look to be considered great beauties of their time.  Are writers seeing something different in their heads when they describe their heroine as fashionably thin, imagining her thinness as relative?  Are editors insisting on thin heroines, or do reader expectations demand the ladies must look a certain way to be worthy of love?  There’s always a certain element of fantasy to romances, no matter how well-researched.  Are always-thin heroines like never-bald heroes?  

What are your thoughts?  How many lushly proportioned heroines can you remember in your favorite historical romance?  Would you like to see more, or would you rather stick to modern  ideals of a beautiful figure, however anachronistic?

90 thoughts on “In Praise of Plumpness”

  1. I’ve read quite a few books that have plusher heroines. I think it’s only natural when the 30% of Americans were considered obese in 2000. Bigger girls want to know they can be heroines, too, have that unconditional love. Have the hero love them precisely for their curves. Now, I’m not sure a pudgy rake will ever cut it—I guess there will always be some sort of double standard. But I welcome diversity in all things, and love the idea that a plump heroine is anatomically and historically correct!

    Reply
  2. I’ve read quite a few books that have plusher heroines. I think it’s only natural when the 30% of Americans were considered obese in 2000. Bigger girls want to know they can be heroines, too, have that unconditional love. Have the hero love them precisely for their curves. Now, I’m not sure a pudgy rake will ever cut it—I guess there will always be some sort of double standard. But I welcome diversity in all things, and love the idea that a plump heroine is anatomically and historically correct!

    Reply
  3. I’ve read quite a few books that have plusher heroines. I think it’s only natural when the 30% of Americans were considered obese in 2000. Bigger girls want to know they can be heroines, too, have that unconditional love. Have the hero love them precisely for their curves. Now, I’m not sure a pudgy rake will ever cut it—I guess there will always be some sort of double standard. But I welcome diversity in all things, and love the idea that a plump heroine is anatomically and historically correct!

    Reply
  4. I’ve read quite a few books that have plusher heroines. I think it’s only natural when the 30% of Americans were considered obese in 2000. Bigger girls want to know they can be heroines, too, have that unconditional love. Have the hero love them precisely for their curves. Now, I’m not sure a pudgy rake will ever cut it—I guess there will always be some sort of double standard. But I welcome diversity in all things, and love the idea that a plump heroine is anatomically and historically correct!

    Reply
  5. I’ve read quite a few books that have plusher heroines. I think it’s only natural when the 30% of Americans were considered obese in 2000. Bigger girls want to know they can be heroines, too, have that unconditional love. Have the hero love them precisely for their curves. Now, I’m not sure a pudgy rake will ever cut it—I guess there will always be some sort of double standard. But I welcome diversity in all things, and love the idea that a plump heroine is anatomically and historically correct!

    Reply
  6. Your Rubens women, and the Rowlandson one too, have tiny breasts compared to the ample hip area. I expect that is a rare combination too. Those slender medieval ladies you see in pictures with the round bellies and tiny round breasts must have been few and far between as well.
    That’s the trouble with beauty ideals, they’re rare.
    As to pretty faces: in my opinion many actresses get less pretty as they lose weight. As their cheeks disappear their noses and mouths seem to become too large for their faces, which makes them look plainer. But being fashionably thin is no doubt a lot more important.
    I never pay that much attention to the way heroines look. They usually have eyes and hair of unusual colours (purple eyes and dark red hair), and are tiny with long legs. I suppose most people more or less adjust the hero and heroine to their own preferences. This is a bit harder with actual historical people with known portraits, of course.

    Reply
  7. Your Rubens women, and the Rowlandson one too, have tiny breasts compared to the ample hip area. I expect that is a rare combination too. Those slender medieval ladies you see in pictures with the round bellies and tiny round breasts must have been few and far between as well.
    That’s the trouble with beauty ideals, they’re rare.
    As to pretty faces: in my opinion many actresses get less pretty as they lose weight. As their cheeks disappear their noses and mouths seem to become too large for their faces, which makes them look plainer. But being fashionably thin is no doubt a lot more important.
    I never pay that much attention to the way heroines look. They usually have eyes and hair of unusual colours (purple eyes and dark red hair), and are tiny with long legs. I suppose most people more or less adjust the hero and heroine to their own preferences. This is a bit harder with actual historical people with known portraits, of course.

    Reply
  8. Your Rubens women, and the Rowlandson one too, have tiny breasts compared to the ample hip area. I expect that is a rare combination too. Those slender medieval ladies you see in pictures with the round bellies and tiny round breasts must have been few and far between as well.
    That’s the trouble with beauty ideals, they’re rare.
    As to pretty faces: in my opinion many actresses get less pretty as they lose weight. As their cheeks disappear their noses and mouths seem to become too large for their faces, which makes them look plainer. But being fashionably thin is no doubt a lot more important.
    I never pay that much attention to the way heroines look. They usually have eyes and hair of unusual colours (purple eyes and dark red hair), and are tiny with long legs. I suppose most people more or less adjust the hero and heroine to their own preferences. This is a bit harder with actual historical people with known portraits, of course.

    Reply
  9. Your Rubens women, and the Rowlandson one too, have tiny breasts compared to the ample hip area. I expect that is a rare combination too. Those slender medieval ladies you see in pictures with the round bellies and tiny round breasts must have been few and far between as well.
    That’s the trouble with beauty ideals, they’re rare.
    As to pretty faces: in my opinion many actresses get less pretty as they lose weight. As their cheeks disappear their noses and mouths seem to become too large for their faces, which makes them look plainer. But being fashionably thin is no doubt a lot more important.
    I never pay that much attention to the way heroines look. They usually have eyes and hair of unusual colours (purple eyes and dark red hair), and are tiny with long legs. I suppose most people more or less adjust the hero and heroine to their own preferences. This is a bit harder with actual historical people with known portraits, of course.

    Reply
  10. Your Rubens women, and the Rowlandson one too, have tiny breasts compared to the ample hip area. I expect that is a rare combination too. Those slender medieval ladies you see in pictures with the round bellies and tiny round breasts must have been few and far between as well.
    That’s the trouble with beauty ideals, they’re rare.
    As to pretty faces: in my opinion many actresses get less pretty as they lose weight. As their cheeks disappear their noses and mouths seem to become too large for their faces, which makes them look plainer. But being fashionably thin is no doubt a lot more important.
    I never pay that much attention to the way heroines look. They usually have eyes and hair of unusual colours (purple eyes and dark red hair), and are tiny with long legs. I suppose most people more or less adjust the hero and heroine to their own preferences. This is a bit harder with actual historical people with known portraits, of course.

    Reply
  11. Susan here:
    Maggie, I totally agree. Love should not come in sizes!
    Ingrid, you’re right: smallish breasts and larger lower half is just as incongruous as large breasts and no hips. Fashion never quite makes sense, does it?
    One of my favorite “makes you think” books is “Seeing Through Clothes” by art historian Anne Hollander (http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Through-Clothes-Anne-Hollander/dp/0520082311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173028&sr=1-1)
    This is not so much a history of costume or fashon, but a series of essays relating dress to the bodies inside the clothes, and the “messages” that are sent by how we dress. One of Ms. Hollander’s observations is that most nudes in art are wearing invisible corseting to make them conform to contemporary standards of beauty. I find this fascinating; certainly if you look again at the Rowlandson woman, it’s very easy to imagine one of the high-waisted white gowns of the Regency era gliding over her body. A thought, anyway. *g*

    Reply
  12. Susan here:
    Maggie, I totally agree. Love should not come in sizes!
    Ingrid, you’re right: smallish breasts and larger lower half is just as incongruous as large breasts and no hips. Fashion never quite makes sense, does it?
    One of my favorite “makes you think” books is “Seeing Through Clothes” by art historian Anne Hollander (http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Through-Clothes-Anne-Hollander/dp/0520082311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173028&sr=1-1)
    This is not so much a history of costume or fashon, but a series of essays relating dress to the bodies inside the clothes, and the “messages” that are sent by how we dress. One of Ms. Hollander’s observations is that most nudes in art are wearing invisible corseting to make them conform to contemporary standards of beauty. I find this fascinating; certainly if you look again at the Rowlandson woman, it’s very easy to imagine one of the high-waisted white gowns of the Regency era gliding over her body. A thought, anyway. *g*

    Reply
  13. Susan here:
    Maggie, I totally agree. Love should not come in sizes!
    Ingrid, you’re right: smallish breasts and larger lower half is just as incongruous as large breasts and no hips. Fashion never quite makes sense, does it?
    One of my favorite “makes you think” books is “Seeing Through Clothes” by art historian Anne Hollander (http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Through-Clothes-Anne-Hollander/dp/0520082311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173028&sr=1-1)
    This is not so much a history of costume or fashon, but a series of essays relating dress to the bodies inside the clothes, and the “messages” that are sent by how we dress. One of Ms. Hollander’s observations is that most nudes in art are wearing invisible corseting to make them conform to contemporary standards of beauty. I find this fascinating; certainly if you look again at the Rowlandson woman, it’s very easy to imagine one of the high-waisted white gowns of the Regency era gliding over her body. A thought, anyway. *g*

    Reply
  14. Susan here:
    Maggie, I totally agree. Love should not come in sizes!
    Ingrid, you’re right: smallish breasts and larger lower half is just as incongruous as large breasts and no hips. Fashion never quite makes sense, does it?
    One of my favorite “makes you think” books is “Seeing Through Clothes” by art historian Anne Hollander (http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Through-Clothes-Anne-Hollander/dp/0520082311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173028&sr=1-1)
    This is not so much a history of costume or fashon, but a series of essays relating dress to the bodies inside the clothes, and the “messages” that are sent by how we dress. One of Ms. Hollander’s observations is that most nudes in art are wearing invisible corseting to make them conform to contemporary standards of beauty. I find this fascinating; certainly if you look again at the Rowlandson woman, it’s very easy to imagine one of the high-waisted white gowns of the Regency era gliding over her body. A thought, anyway. *g*

    Reply
  15. Susan here:
    Maggie, I totally agree. Love should not come in sizes!
    Ingrid, you’re right: smallish breasts and larger lower half is just as incongruous as large breasts and no hips. Fashion never quite makes sense, does it?
    One of my favorite “makes you think” books is “Seeing Through Clothes” by art historian Anne Hollander (http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Through-Clothes-Anne-Hollander/dp/0520082311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236173028&sr=1-1)
    This is not so much a history of costume or fashon, but a series of essays relating dress to the bodies inside the clothes, and the “messages” that are sent by how we dress. One of Ms. Hollander’s observations is that most nudes in art are wearing invisible corseting to make them conform to contemporary standards of beauty. I find this fascinating; certainly if you look again at the Rowlandson woman, it’s very easy to imagine one of the high-waisted white gowns of the Regency era gliding over her body. A thought, anyway. *g*

    Reply
  16. I think part of the reason so many heroines are thin is because they’re young. Everyone starts out slim, and in an age where food was scarce, the younger heroine would tend to be thin.
    I am not a fan of those young heroines paired with much older men. I really hate teenage heroines paired with 35 year old heroes. Ugh. I want my HH to be close in age, with both of them a little older. And older will mean a little plumper, but not too much. I still want the fantasy of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero mostly by today’s standards. And I realize HH closer in age may not be historically correct.
    And please, no bald heroes! I want to imagine the hero aging gracefully, with a full head of white hair into his dotage.

    Reply
  17. I think part of the reason so many heroines are thin is because they’re young. Everyone starts out slim, and in an age where food was scarce, the younger heroine would tend to be thin.
    I am not a fan of those young heroines paired with much older men. I really hate teenage heroines paired with 35 year old heroes. Ugh. I want my HH to be close in age, with both of them a little older. And older will mean a little plumper, but not too much. I still want the fantasy of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero mostly by today’s standards. And I realize HH closer in age may not be historically correct.
    And please, no bald heroes! I want to imagine the hero aging gracefully, with a full head of white hair into his dotage.

    Reply
  18. I think part of the reason so many heroines are thin is because they’re young. Everyone starts out slim, and in an age where food was scarce, the younger heroine would tend to be thin.
    I am not a fan of those young heroines paired with much older men. I really hate teenage heroines paired with 35 year old heroes. Ugh. I want my HH to be close in age, with both of them a little older. And older will mean a little plumper, but not too much. I still want the fantasy of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero mostly by today’s standards. And I realize HH closer in age may not be historically correct.
    And please, no bald heroes! I want to imagine the hero aging gracefully, with a full head of white hair into his dotage.

    Reply
  19. I think part of the reason so many heroines are thin is because they’re young. Everyone starts out slim, and in an age where food was scarce, the younger heroine would tend to be thin.
    I am not a fan of those young heroines paired with much older men. I really hate teenage heroines paired with 35 year old heroes. Ugh. I want my HH to be close in age, with both of them a little older. And older will mean a little plumper, but not too much. I still want the fantasy of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero mostly by today’s standards. And I realize HH closer in age may not be historically correct.
    And please, no bald heroes! I want to imagine the hero aging gracefully, with a full head of white hair into his dotage.

    Reply
  20. I think part of the reason so many heroines are thin is because they’re young. Everyone starts out slim, and in an age where food was scarce, the younger heroine would tend to be thin.
    I am not a fan of those young heroines paired with much older men. I really hate teenage heroines paired with 35 year old heroes. Ugh. I want my HH to be close in age, with both of them a little older. And older will mean a little plumper, but not too much. I still want the fantasy of a beautiful heroine and a handsome hero mostly by today’s standards. And I realize HH closer in age may not be historically correct.
    And please, no bald heroes! I want to imagine the hero aging gracefully, with a full head of white hair into his dotage.

    Reply
  21. I’m with Maggie, too!! Love comes in all sizes. And with America growing larger and older, I think our heroines should too. I distinctly remember MJ’s heroine in The Marriage Spell and how deeply I connected with her because of her Rubensesque size. Who wants to read about fey little sprites, or a tall willowy reeds with perfectly rounded breasts finding love? Of course they’re going to find love! But, tell me a story about women like me living in the much-less-than-perfect crowd who find love and I’m yours for life.

    Reply
  22. I’m with Maggie, too!! Love comes in all sizes. And with America growing larger and older, I think our heroines should too. I distinctly remember MJ’s heroine in The Marriage Spell and how deeply I connected with her because of her Rubensesque size. Who wants to read about fey little sprites, or a tall willowy reeds with perfectly rounded breasts finding love? Of course they’re going to find love! But, tell me a story about women like me living in the much-less-than-perfect crowd who find love and I’m yours for life.

    Reply
  23. I’m with Maggie, too!! Love comes in all sizes. And with America growing larger and older, I think our heroines should too. I distinctly remember MJ’s heroine in The Marriage Spell and how deeply I connected with her because of her Rubensesque size. Who wants to read about fey little sprites, or a tall willowy reeds with perfectly rounded breasts finding love? Of course they’re going to find love! But, tell me a story about women like me living in the much-less-than-perfect crowd who find love and I’m yours for life.

    Reply
  24. I’m with Maggie, too!! Love comes in all sizes. And with America growing larger and older, I think our heroines should too. I distinctly remember MJ’s heroine in The Marriage Spell and how deeply I connected with her because of her Rubensesque size. Who wants to read about fey little sprites, or a tall willowy reeds with perfectly rounded breasts finding love? Of course they’re going to find love! But, tell me a story about women like me living in the much-less-than-perfect crowd who find love and I’m yours for life.

    Reply
  25. I’m with Maggie, too!! Love comes in all sizes. And with America growing larger and older, I think our heroines should too. I distinctly remember MJ’s heroine in The Marriage Spell and how deeply I connected with her because of her Rubensesque size. Who wants to read about fey little sprites, or a tall willowy reeds with perfectly rounded breasts finding love? Of course they’re going to find love! But, tell me a story about women like me living in the much-less-than-perfect crowd who find love and I’m yours for life.

    Reply
  26. Frankly, I think authors spend too much of their word count on physical descriptions of the H/H. If I read about another small-breasted heroine and her hero who wonders why he’s attracted to her “when he usually preferred voluptuous women” I think I’ll scream. All too often it seems somehow like pandering to modern readers, a way of saying “you too may find true love even if you’re only an A cup.” I tend to use Jennifer Crusie’s description of Phin, the hero of “Welcome to Temptation” as the Gold Standard: “He had broad shoulders, mirrored sunglasses, no smile, and Sophie could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in her head. . .He looked like every frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Crusie doesn’t have to tell you hair or eye color to let you know exactly what Phin looked like and the powerful physical impression he made. Mary Stewart often did the same in her books. In “Madam Will You Talk” for example, when the hero finally runs down the heroine, who in typical Gothic fashion thought he was the villain so has been hiding his son, his opening line is: “All right, you beautiful bitch, where’s David?” He’s never met her before, she’s not been described to us, yet immediately we know an immense amount about them and I, for one, have a vivid sense of who they are and what they look like, even if I haven’t been repeatedly told her eye color using 32 synonyms for blue.
    OTOH, physical description is sometimes appropriate or even necessary. In Mary Balogh’s “The Temporary Wife”, when Anthony first sees Charity he thinks she is exactly what he wants, a timid brown mouse. But when she stands in the light and truly looks at him for the first time, he realizes that her eyes are the vivid blue of a spring sky. The information is his first clue that Charity is not the colorless character he took her for. Or in Celeste Bradley’s “The Pretender”, Agatha doesn’t dwell on whether she likes or dislikes her body, but she’s definitely unafraid to use her generous curves to befuddle the men around her.
    So, after having ranted long enough, the answer comes down to: it depends. It depends on the author’s skill and on the needs of that particular story. Not very helpful, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  27. Frankly, I think authors spend too much of their word count on physical descriptions of the H/H. If I read about another small-breasted heroine and her hero who wonders why he’s attracted to her “when he usually preferred voluptuous women” I think I’ll scream. All too often it seems somehow like pandering to modern readers, a way of saying “you too may find true love even if you’re only an A cup.” I tend to use Jennifer Crusie’s description of Phin, the hero of “Welcome to Temptation” as the Gold Standard: “He had broad shoulders, mirrored sunglasses, no smile, and Sophie could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in her head. . .He looked like every frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Crusie doesn’t have to tell you hair or eye color to let you know exactly what Phin looked like and the powerful physical impression he made. Mary Stewart often did the same in her books. In “Madam Will You Talk” for example, when the hero finally runs down the heroine, who in typical Gothic fashion thought he was the villain so has been hiding his son, his opening line is: “All right, you beautiful bitch, where’s David?” He’s never met her before, she’s not been described to us, yet immediately we know an immense amount about them and I, for one, have a vivid sense of who they are and what they look like, even if I haven’t been repeatedly told her eye color using 32 synonyms for blue.
    OTOH, physical description is sometimes appropriate or even necessary. In Mary Balogh’s “The Temporary Wife”, when Anthony first sees Charity he thinks she is exactly what he wants, a timid brown mouse. But when she stands in the light and truly looks at him for the first time, he realizes that her eyes are the vivid blue of a spring sky. The information is his first clue that Charity is not the colorless character he took her for. Or in Celeste Bradley’s “The Pretender”, Agatha doesn’t dwell on whether she likes or dislikes her body, but she’s definitely unafraid to use her generous curves to befuddle the men around her.
    So, after having ranted long enough, the answer comes down to: it depends. It depends on the author’s skill and on the needs of that particular story. Not very helpful, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  28. Frankly, I think authors spend too much of their word count on physical descriptions of the H/H. If I read about another small-breasted heroine and her hero who wonders why he’s attracted to her “when he usually preferred voluptuous women” I think I’ll scream. All too often it seems somehow like pandering to modern readers, a way of saying “you too may find true love even if you’re only an A cup.” I tend to use Jennifer Crusie’s description of Phin, the hero of “Welcome to Temptation” as the Gold Standard: “He had broad shoulders, mirrored sunglasses, no smile, and Sophie could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in her head. . .He looked like every frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Crusie doesn’t have to tell you hair or eye color to let you know exactly what Phin looked like and the powerful physical impression he made. Mary Stewart often did the same in her books. In “Madam Will You Talk” for example, when the hero finally runs down the heroine, who in typical Gothic fashion thought he was the villain so has been hiding his son, his opening line is: “All right, you beautiful bitch, where’s David?” He’s never met her before, she’s not been described to us, yet immediately we know an immense amount about them and I, for one, have a vivid sense of who they are and what they look like, even if I haven’t been repeatedly told her eye color using 32 synonyms for blue.
    OTOH, physical description is sometimes appropriate or even necessary. In Mary Balogh’s “The Temporary Wife”, when Anthony first sees Charity he thinks she is exactly what he wants, a timid brown mouse. But when she stands in the light and truly looks at him for the first time, he realizes that her eyes are the vivid blue of a spring sky. The information is his first clue that Charity is not the colorless character he took her for. Or in Celeste Bradley’s “The Pretender”, Agatha doesn’t dwell on whether she likes or dislikes her body, but she’s definitely unafraid to use her generous curves to befuddle the men around her.
    So, after having ranted long enough, the answer comes down to: it depends. It depends on the author’s skill and on the needs of that particular story. Not very helpful, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  29. Frankly, I think authors spend too much of their word count on physical descriptions of the H/H. If I read about another small-breasted heroine and her hero who wonders why he’s attracted to her “when he usually preferred voluptuous women” I think I’ll scream. All too often it seems somehow like pandering to modern readers, a way of saying “you too may find true love even if you’re only an A cup.” I tend to use Jennifer Crusie’s description of Phin, the hero of “Welcome to Temptation” as the Gold Standard: “He had broad shoulders, mirrored sunglasses, no smile, and Sophie could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in her head. . .He looked like every frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Crusie doesn’t have to tell you hair or eye color to let you know exactly what Phin looked like and the powerful physical impression he made. Mary Stewart often did the same in her books. In “Madam Will You Talk” for example, when the hero finally runs down the heroine, who in typical Gothic fashion thought he was the villain so has been hiding his son, his opening line is: “All right, you beautiful bitch, where’s David?” He’s never met her before, she’s not been described to us, yet immediately we know an immense amount about them and I, for one, have a vivid sense of who they are and what they look like, even if I haven’t been repeatedly told her eye color using 32 synonyms for blue.
    OTOH, physical description is sometimes appropriate or even necessary. In Mary Balogh’s “The Temporary Wife”, when Anthony first sees Charity he thinks she is exactly what he wants, a timid brown mouse. But when she stands in the light and truly looks at him for the first time, he realizes that her eyes are the vivid blue of a spring sky. The information is his first clue that Charity is not the colorless character he took her for. Or in Celeste Bradley’s “The Pretender”, Agatha doesn’t dwell on whether she likes or dislikes her body, but she’s definitely unafraid to use her generous curves to befuddle the men around her.
    So, after having ranted long enough, the answer comes down to: it depends. It depends on the author’s skill and on the needs of that particular story. Not very helpful, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  30. Frankly, I think authors spend too much of their word count on physical descriptions of the H/H. If I read about another small-breasted heroine and her hero who wonders why he’s attracted to her “when he usually preferred voluptuous women” I think I’ll scream. All too often it seems somehow like pandering to modern readers, a way of saying “you too may find true love even if you’re only an A cup.” I tend to use Jennifer Crusie’s description of Phin, the hero of “Welcome to Temptation” as the Gold Standard: “He had broad shoulders, mirrored sunglasses, no smile, and Sophie could hear ominous music on the soundtrack in her head. . .He looked like every frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.” Crusie doesn’t have to tell you hair or eye color to let you know exactly what Phin looked like and the powerful physical impression he made. Mary Stewart often did the same in her books. In “Madam Will You Talk” for example, when the hero finally runs down the heroine, who in typical Gothic fashion thought he was the villain so has been hiding his son, his opening line is: “All right, you beautiful bitch, where’s David?” He’s never met her before, she’s not been described to us, yet immediately we know an immense amount about them and I, for one, have a vivid sense of who they are and what they look like, even if I haven’t been repeatedly told her eye color using 32 synonyms for blue.
    OTOH, physical description is sometimes appropriate or even necessary. In Mary Balogh’s “The Temporary Wife”, when Anthony first sees Charity he thinks she is exactly what he wants, a timid brown mouse. But when she stands in the light and truly looks at him for the first time, he realizes that her eyes are the vivid blue of a spring sky. The information is his first clue that Charity is not the colorless character he took her for. Or in Celeste Bradley’s “The Pretender”, Agatha doesn’t dwell on whether she likes or dislikes her body, but she’s definitely unafraid to use her generous curves to befuddle the men around her.
    So, after having ranted long enough, the answer comes down to: it depends. It depends on the author’s skill and on the needs of that particular story. Not very helpful, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  31. Hmmm…a fat sister named Frances and a ‘pony girl’ named Pru come to mind, two of my favorite heroines 😀
    I prefer more historically accurate body images for my H/Hn, but I guess I’ve just learned to ‘fill in the blanks’ when I read. If the author describes the heroine as lithe, well, I can picture lithe within the timeframe of the novel. Lithe then won’t be the same as lithe now. I guess I’m not making sense here.
    As to the age differences someone mentioned, in our time period, there is a definite squick factor to a 16 or 17 year old heroine with a 28 year old husband, but the fact remains, many women during those eras were married off to much older men, in their fifties or older. And they might have three or four husbands by the time they were 25 depending on the time period because the older men died off soon after the wedding (gee, wonder why 😉 ) So to me in that respect, I don’t have a problem with the age difference. But that’s just me 😀

    Reply
  32. Hmmm…a fat sister named Frances and a ‘pony girl’ named Pru come to mind, two of my favorite heroines 😀
    I prefer more historically accurate body images for my H/Hn, but I guess I’ve just learned to ‘fill in the blanks’ when I read. If the author describes the heroine as lithe, well, I can picture lithe within the timeframe of the novel. Lithe then won’t be the same as lithe now. I guess I’m not making sense here.
    As to the age differences someone mentioned, in our time period, there is a definite squick factor to a 16 or 17 year old heroine with a 28 year old husband, but the fact remains, many women during those eras were married off to much older men, in their fifties or older. And they might have three or four husbands by the time they were 25 depending on the time period because the older men died off soon after the wedding (gee, wonder why 😉 ) So to me in that respect, I don’t have a problem with the age difference. But that’s just me 😀

    Reply
  33. Hmmm…a fat sister named Frances and a ‘pony girl’ named Pru come to mind, two of my favorite heroines 😀
    I prefer more historically accurate body images for my H/Hn, but I guess I’ve just learned to ‘fill in the blanks’ when I read. If the author describes the heroine as lithe, well, I can picture lithe within the timeframe of the novel. Lithe then won’t be the same as lithe now. I guess I’m not making sense here.
    As to the age differences someone mentioned, in our time period, there is a definite squick factor to a 16 or 17 year old heroine with a 28 year old husband, but the fact remains, many women during those eras were married off to much older men, in their fifties or older. And they might have three or four husbands by the time they were 25 depending on the time period because the older men died off soon after the wedding (gee, wonder why 😉 ) So to me in that respect, I don’t have a problem with the age difference. But that’s just me 😀

    Reply
  34. Hmmm…a fat sister named Frances and a ‘pony girl’ named Pru come to mind, two of my favorite heroines 😀
    I prefer more historically accurate body images for my H/Hn, but I guess I’ve just learned to ‘fill in the blanks’ when I read. If the author describes the heroine as lithe, well, I can picture lithe within the timeframe of the novel. Lithe then won’t be the same as lithe now. I guess I’m not making sense here.
    As to the age differences someone mentioned, in our time period, there is a definite squick factor to a 16 or 17 year old heroine with a 28 year old husband, but the fact remains, many women during those eras were married off to much older men, in their fifties or older. And they might have three or four husbands by the time they were 25 depending on the time period because the older men died off soon after the wedding (gee, wonder why 😉 ) So to me in that respect, I don’t have a problem with the age difference. But that’s just me 😀

    Reply
  35. Hmmm…a fat sister named Frances and a ‘pony girl’ named Pru come to mind, two of my favorite heroines 😀
    I prefer more historically accurate body images for my H/Hn, but I guess I’ve just learned to ‘fill in the blanks’ when I read. If the author describes the heroine as lithe, well, I can picture lithe within the timeframe of the novel. Lithe then won’t be the same as lithe now. I guess I’m not making sense here.
    As to the age differences someone mentioned, in our time period, there is a definite squick factor to a 16 or 17 year old heroine with a 28 year old husband, but the fact remains, many women during those eras were married off to much older men, in their fifties or older. And they might have three or four husbands by the time they were 25 depending on the time period because the older men died off soon after the wedding (gee, wonder why 😉 ) So to me in that respect, I don’t have a problem with the age difference. But that’s just me 😀

    Reply
  36. I too agree love comes in all sizes I have recently read two historicals by Michele Ann Young where the heroine is bigger and I loved these books as much as I have loved books where the heroine was slim.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  37. I too agree love comes in all sizes I have recently read two historicals by Michele Ann Young where the heroine is bigger and I loved these books as much as I have loved books where the heroine was slim.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  38. I too agree love comes in all sizes I have recently read two historicals by Michele Ann Young where the heroine is bigger and I loved these books as much as I have loved books where the heroine was slim.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  39. I too agree love comes in all sizes I have recently read two historicals by Michele Ann Young where the heroine is bigger and I loved these books as much as I have loved books where the heroine was slim.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  40. I too agree love comes in all sizes I have recently read two historicals by Michele Ann Young where the heroine is bigger and I loved these books as much as I have loved books where the heroine was slim.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  41. Even when authors create heroines with lush figures, the covers show a heroine in line with the current Hollywood image. In Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie Essex’s
    struggle to accept her curvy body as beautiful is central. The first cover for PFP showed a young woman who, while considerably less curvaceous than my image of Josie, was at least not model-thin. That cover was replaced with one showcasing a much thinner female figure. I’m glad I have a copy with the first cover.

    Reply
  42. Even when authors create heroines with lush figures, the covers show a heroine in line with the current Hollywood image. In Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie Essex’s
    struggle to accept her curvy body as beautiful is central. The first cover for PFP showed a young woman who, while considerably less curvaceous than my image of Josie, was at least not model-thin. That cover was replaced with one showcasing a much thinner female figure. I’m glad I have a copy with the first cover.

    Reply
  43. Even when authors create heroines with lush figures, the covers show a heroine in line with the current Hollywood image. In Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie Essex’s
    struggle to accept her curvy body as beautiful is central. The first cover for PFP showed a young woman who, while considerably less curvaceous than my image of Josie, was at least not model-thin. That cover was replaced with one showcasing a much thinner female figure. I’m glad I have a copy with the first cover.

    Reply
  44. Even when authors create heroines with lush figures, the covers show a heroine in line with the current Hollywood image. In Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie Essex’s
    struggle to accept her curvy body as beautiful is central. The first cover for PFP showed a young woman who, while considerably less curvaceous than my image of Josie, was at least not model-thin. That cover was replaced with one showcasing a much thinner female figure. I’m glad I have a copy with the first cover.

    Reply
  45. Even when authors create heroines with lush figures, the covers show a heroine in line with the current Hollywood image. In Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie Essex’s
    struggle to accept her curvy body as beautiful is central. The first cover for PFP showed a young woman who, while considerably less curvaceous than my image of Josie, was at least not model-thin. That cover was replaced with one showcasing a much thinner female figure. I’m glad I have a copy with the first cover.

    Reply
  46. A couple come to mind. Sherry Thomas’s heroine in “Delicious” is a cook who is not only a shade older than most, but a little doughier as well. And in the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie frequently expresses his appreciation for Claire’s “fine fat round arse”.

    Reply
  47. A couple come to mind. Sherry Thomas’s heroine in “Delicious” is a cook who is not only a shade older than most, but a little doughier as well. And in the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie frequently expresses his appreciation for Claire’s “fine fat round arse”.

    Reply
  48. A couple come to mind. Sherry Thomas’s heroine in “Delicious” is a cook who is not only a shade older than most, but a little doughier as well. And in the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie frequently expresses his appreciation for Claire’s “fine fat round arse”.

    Reply
  49. A couple come to mind. Sherry Thomas’s heroine in “Delicious” is a cook who is not only a shade older than most, but a little doughier as well. And in the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie frequently expresses his appreciation for Claire’s “fine fat round arse”.

    Reply
  50. A couple come to mind. Sherry Thomas’s heroine in “Delicious” is a cook who is not only a shade older than most, but a little doughier as well. And in the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie frequently expresses his appreciation for Claire’s “fine fat round arse”.

    Reply
  51. Way back in a college art history class, I remember the professor saying that in baroque periods, both houses and women got larger. And she had to color slides to prove it!
    Jenny Crusie has had heroines with lush, round Midwestern bodies, and a major theme of her wonderful BET ME is how the heroine, who is designed by nature to be full figured, is constantly starving herself to fit her mother’s ideal of skinniness.
    I’ve had my share of heroines of all sizes, not that I do a lot of description. The heroine in the book I just handed in was petite, but she had to be able to swap clothes with the heroine of the book coming out in July, so they were both small. 🙂 The next one up will be tall.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  52. Way back in a college art history class, I remember the professor saying that in baroque periods, both houses and women got larger. And she had to color slides to prove it!
    Jenny Crusie has had heroines with lush, round Midwestern bodies, and a major theme of her wonderful BET ME is how the heroine, who is designed by nature to be full figured, is constantly starving herself to fit her mother’s ideal of skinniness.
    I’ve had my share of heroines of all sizes, not that I do a lot of description. The heroine in the book I just handed in was petite, but she had to be able to swap clothes with the heroine of the book coming out in July, so they were both small. 🙂 The next one up will be tall.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  53. Way back in a college art history class, I remember the professor saying that in baroque periods, both houses and women got larger. And she had to color slides to prove it!
    Jenny Crusie has had heroines with lush, round Midwestern bodies, and a major theme of her wonderful BET ME is how the heroine, who is designed by nature to be full figured, is constantly starving herself to fit her mother’s ideal of skinniness.
    I’ve had my share of heroines of all sizes, not that I do a lot of description. The heroine in the book I just handed in was petite, but she had to be able to swap clothes with the heroine of the book coming out in July, so they were both small. 🙂 The next one up will be tall.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  54. Way back in a college art history class, I remember the professor saying that in baroque periods, both houses and women got larger. And she had to color slides to prove it!
    Jenny Crusie has had heroines with lush, round Midwestern bodies, and a major theme of her wonderful BET ME is how the heroine, who is designed by nature to be full figured, is constantly starving herself to fit her mother’s ideal of skinniness.
    I’ve had my share of heroines of all sizes, not that I do a lot of description. The heroine in the book I just handed in was petite, but she had to be able to swap clothes with the heroine of the book coming out in July, so they were both small. 🙂 The next one up will be tall.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  55. Way back in a college art history class, I remember the professor saying that in baroque periods, both houses and women got larger. And she had to color slides to prove it!
    Jenny Crusie has had heroines with lush, round Midwestern bodies, and a major theme of her wonderful BET ME is how the heroine, who is designed by nature to be full figured, is constantly starving herself to fit her mother’s ideal of skinniness.
    I’ve had my share of heroines of all sizes, not that I do a lot of description. The heroine in the book I just handed in was petite, but she had to be able to swap clothes with the heroine of the book coming out in July, so they were both small. 🙂 The next one up will be tall.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  56. Ammm.. women with small breasts and wide hips are rare? Since when, if I may ask? I always thought the so-called pear shape was the most prevailing! Women’s magazines regularly give advice about how to dress that shape to best advantage.
    And it is a complete myth that only bigger women have large breasts. Unfortunately it is wide-spread and shared by much of the clothing industry, but I know PLENTY of slender women with big boobs as well as fuller figured ones with small ones. Just sayin’.
    Generally speaking, I have a hard time believing that the ideal during the regency period was for bigger women, as the typical regency fashion is made for slender women. Later on and before, yes. But during the Empire fashion? I know I read something to that effect, somewhere, but can’t recall where and what. Sorry.
    Faces are really interesting. On covers, nearly all Romance heroines look like All American cheerleaders. I am pretty sure that’s not authentic, and certainly a lot of pictures show a different standard of beauty….
    A final thought … I am pretty sure the past had a more natural approach to acceping the changes of women’s bodies. These days, models are reed-thing and without a belly within four weeks of giving birth, but I am rather sure that people in past centuries felt it was most natural that a woman’s body would change as she aged and gave birth. I seriously doubt that the body of the Duchess of Leinster, one of the Lennox sisters who bore 22 children, was very trim – yet her first husband remained very fond of her and her second husband (her sons’ tutor, and father of the two last children) adored her…
    Sorry for the long post!

    Reply
  57. Ammm.. women with small breasts and wide hips are rare? Since when, if I may ask? I always thought the so-called pear shape was the most prevailing! Women’s magazines regularly give advice about how to dress that shape to best advantage.
    And it is a complete myth that only bigger women have large breasts. Unfortunately it is wide-spread and shared by much of the clothing industry, but I know PLENTY of slender women with big boobs as well as fuller figured ones with small ones. Just sayin’.
    Generally speaking, I have a hard time believing that the ideal during the regency period was for bigger women, as the typical regency fashion is made for slender women. Later on and before, yes. But during the Empire fashion? I know I read something to that effect, somewhere, but can’t recall where and what. Sorry.
    Faces are really interesting. On covers, nearly all Romance heroines look like All American cheerleaders. I am pretty sure that’s not authentic, and certainly a lot of pictures show a different standard of beauty….
    A final thought … I am pretty sure the past had a more natural approach to acceping the changes of women’s bodies. These days, models are reed-thing and without a belly within four weeks of giving birth, but I am rather sure that people in past centuries felt it was most natural that a woman’s body would change as she aged and gave birth. I seriously doubt that the body of the Duchess of Leinster, one of the Lennox sisters who bore 22 children, was very trim – yet her first husband remained very fond of her and her second husband (her sons’ tutor, and father of the two last children) adored her…
    Sorry for the long post!

    Reply
  58. Ammm.. women with small breasts and wide hips are rare? Since when, if I may ask? I always thought the so-called pear shape was the most prevailing! Women’s magazines regularly give advice about how to dress that shape to best advantage.
    And it is a complete myth that only bigger women have large breasts. Unfortunately it is wide-spread and shared by much of the clothing industry, but I know PLENTY of slender women with big boobs as well as fuller figured ones with small ones. Just sayin’.
    Generally speaking, I have a hard time believing that the ideal during the regency period was for bigger women, as the typical regency fashion is made for slender women. Later on and before, yes. But during the Empire fashion? I know I read something to that effect, somewhere, but can’t recall where and what. Sorry.
    Faces are really interesting. On covers, nearly all Romance heroines look like All American cheerleaders. I am pretty sure that’s not authentic, and certainly a lot of pictures show a different standard of beauty….
    A final thought … I am pretty sure the past had a more natural approach to acceping the changes of women’s bodies. These days, models are reed-thing and without a belly within four weeks of giving birth, but I am rather sure that people in past centuries felt it was most natural that a woman’s body would change as she aged and gave birth. I seriously doubt that the body of the Duchess of Leinster, one of the Lennox sisters who bore 22 children, was very trim – yet her first husband remained very fond of her and her second husband (her sons’ tutor, and father of the two last children) adored her…
    Sorry for the long post!

    Reply
  59. Ammm.. women with small breasts and wide hips are rare? Since when, if I may ask? I always thought the so-called pear shape was the most prevailing! Women’s magazines regularly give advice about how to dress that shape to best advantage.
    And it is a complete myth that only bigger women have large breasts. Unfortunately it is wide-spread and shared by much of the clothing industry, but I know PLENTY of slender women with big boobs as well as fuller figured ones with small ones. Just sayin’.
    Generally speaking, I have a hard time believing that the ideal during the regency period was for bigger women, as the typical regency fashion is made for slender women. Later on and before, yes. But during the Empire fashion? I know I read something to that effect, somewhere, but can’t recall where and what. Sorry.
    Faces are really interesting. On covers, nearly all Romance heroines look like All American cheerleaders. I am pretty sure that’s not authentic, and certainly a lot of pictures show a different standard of beauty….
    A final thought … I am pretty sure the past had a more natural approach to acceping the changes of women’s bodies. These days, models are reed-thing and without a belly within four weeks of giving birth, but I am rather sure that people in past centuries felt it was most natural that a woman’s body would change as she aged and gave birth. I seriously doubt that the body of the Duchess of Leinster, one of the Lennox sisters who bore 22 children, was very trim – yet her first husband remained very fond of her and her second husband (her sons’ tutor, and father of the two last children) adored her…
    Sorry for the long post!

    Reply
  60. Ammm.. women with small breasts and wide hips are rare? Since when, if I may ask? I always thought the so-called pear shape was the most prevailing! Women’s magazines regularly give advice about how to dress that shape to best advantage.
    And it is a complete myth that only bigger women have large breasts. Unfortunately it is wide-spread and shared by much of the clothing industry, but I know PLENTY of slender women with big boobs as well as fuller figured ones with small ones. Just sayin’.
    Generally speaking, I have a hard time believing that the ideal during the regency period was for bigger women, as the typical regency fashion is made for slender women. Later on and before, yes. But during the Empire fashion? I know I read something to that effect, somewhere, but can’t recall where and what. Sorry.
    Faces are really interesting. On covers, nearly all Romance heroines look like All American cheerleaders. I am pretty sure that’s not authentic, and certainly a lot of pictures show a different standard of beauty….
    A final thought … I am pretty sure the past had a more natural approach to acceping the changes of women’s bodies. These days, models are reed-thing and without a belly within four weeks of giving birth, but I am rather sure that people in past centuries felt it was most natural that a woman’s body would change as she aged and gave birth. I seriously doubt that the body of the Duchess of Leinster, one of the Lennox sisters who bore 22 children, was very trim – yet her first husband remained very fond of her and her second husband (her sons’ tutor, and father of the two last children) adored her…
    Sorry for the long post!

    Reply
  61. I need to know how a heroine looks so I know how she reacts to the world around her. So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our looks that it’s normal for a heroine to fret over her size, whether it be too thin or too plum, or her hair or her awkward neck or whatever. And a heroine who is perfectly comfortable in her own body has other character traits that go with this confidence. So I’ve written all sorts of body types, depending on the story. But I distinctly remember my “pleasingly plump” heroine– who was quite content being what she was–questioned by my editor at the time because she didn’t think a “fat” heroine was romantic. Can we blame another flaw on marketing?

    Reply
  62. I need to know how a heroine looks so I know how she reacts to the world around her. So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our looks that it’s normal for a heroine to fret over her size, whether it be too thin or too plum, or her hair or her awkward neck or whatever. And a heroine who is perfectly comfortable in her own body has other character traits that go with this confidence. So I’ve written all sorts of body types, depending on the story. But I distinctly remember my “pleasingly plump” heroine– who was quite content being what she was–questioned by my editor at the time because she didn’t think a “fat” heroine was romantic. Can we blame another flaw on marketing?

    Reply
  63. I need to know how a heroine looks so I know how she reacts to the world around her. So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our looks that it’s normal for a heroine to fret over her size, whether it be too thin or too plum, or her hair or her awkward neck or whatever. And a heroine who is perfectly comfortable in her own body has other character traits that go with this confidence. So I’ve written all sorts of body types, depending on the story. But I distinctly remember my “pleasingly plump” heroine– who was quite content being what she was–questioned by my editor at the time because she didn’t think a “fat” heroine was romantic. Can we blame another flaw on marketing?

    Reply
  64. I need to know how a heroine looks so I know how she reacts to the world around her. So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our looks that it’s normal for a heroine to fret over her size, whether it be too thin or too plum, or her hair or her awkward neck or whatever. And a heroine who is perfectly comfortable in her own body has other character traits that go with this confidence. So I’ve written all sorts of body types, depending on the story. But I distinctly remember my “pleasingly plump” heroine– who was quite content being what she was–questioned by my editor at the time because she didn’t think a “fat” heroine was romantic. Can we blame another flaw on marketing?

    Reply
  65. I need to know how a heroine looks so I know how she reacts to the world around her. So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in our looks that it’s normal for a heroine to fret over her size, whether it be too thin or too plum, or her hair or her awkward neck or whatever. And a heroine who is perfectly comfortable in her own body has other character traits that go with this confidence. So I’ve written all sorts of body types, depending on the story. But I distinctly remember my “pleasingly plump” heroine– who was quite content being what she was–questioned by my editor at the time because she didn’t think a “fat” heroine was romantic. Can we blame another flaw on marketing?

    Reply
  66. I know I am a little late to this party but some of my favorite authors feature not always perfect hero/heroines. Carla Kelly has ship’s captains losing their hair – as does Suzanne Brockmann (hero Tom Paoletti has that whole “Bruce Willis” look going on). Laura Kinsale has a heroine that the hero adores, because her cheeks remind him of soft white bread! He is heartbroken when he hasn’t been able to keep her safe and she begins to lose weight after a shipwreck.
    And of course, I just love Jennie Cruisie and her heroines – not just in Bet Me but in Agnes and the Hitman – great fun and heroes who love women they can hold onto!
    I think men find some women pretty to look at – but they prefer women who don’t look fragile to hold in their arms.
    cheers,
    poormanj7667@yahoo.com

    Reply
  67. I know I am a little late to this party but some of my favorite authors feature not always perfect hero/heroines. Carla Kelly has ship’s captains losing their hair – as does Suzanne Brockmann (hero Tom Paoletti has that whole “Bruce Willis” look going on). Laura Kinsale has a heroine that the hero adores, because her cheeks remind him of soft white bread! He is heartbroken when he hasn’t been able to keep her safe and she begins to lose weight after a shipwreck.
    And of course, I just love Jennie Cruisie and her heroines – not just in Bet Me but in Agnes and the Hitman – great fun and heroes who love women they can hold onto!
    I think men find some women pretty to look at – but they prefer women who don’t look fragile to hold in their arms.
    cheers,
    poormanj7667@yahoo.com

    Reply
  68. I know I am a little late to this party but some of my favorite authors feature not always perfect hero/heroines. Carla Kelly has ship’s captains losing their hair – as does Suzanne Brockmann (hero Tom Paoletti has that whole “Bruce Willis” look going on). Laura Kinsale has a heroine that the hero adores, because her cheeks remind him of soft white bread! He is heartbroken when he hasn’t been able to keep her safe and she begins to lose weight after a shipwreck.
    And of course, I just love Jennie Cruisie and her heroines – not just in Bet Me but in Agnes and the Hitman – great fun and heroes who love women they can hold onto!
    I think men find some women pretty to look at – but they prefer women who don’t look fragile to hold in their arms.
    cheers,
    poormanj7667@yahoo.com

    Reply
  69. I know I am a little late to this party but some of my favorite authors feature not always perfect hero/heroines. Carla Kelly has ship’s captains losing their hair – as does Suzanne Brockmann (hero Tom Paoletti has that whole “Bruce Willis” look going on). Laura Kinsale has a heroine that the hero adores, because her cheeks remind him of soft white bread! He is heartbroken when he hasn’t been able to keep her safe and she begins to lose weight after a shipwreck.
    And of course, I just love Jennie Cruisie and her heroines – not just in Bet Me but in Agnes and the Hitman – great fun and heroes who love women they can hold onto!
    I think men find some women pretty to look at – but they prefer women who don’t look fragile to hold in their arms.
    cheers,
    poormanj7667@yahoo.com

    Reply
  70. I know I am a little late to this party but some of my favorite authors feature not always perfect hero/heroines. Carla Kelly has ship’s captains losing their hair – as does Suzanne Brockmann (hero Tom Paoletti has that whole “Bruce Willis” look going on). Laura Kinsale has a heroine that the hero adores, because her cheeks remind him of soft white bread! He is heartbroken when he hasn’t been able to keep her safe and she begins to lose weight after a shipwreck.
    And of course, I just love Jennie Cruisie and her heroines – not just in Bet Me but in Agnes and the Hitman – great fun and heroes who love women they can hold onto!
    I think men find some women pretty to look at – but they prefer women who don’t look fragile to hold in their arms.
    cheers,
    poormanj7667@yahoo.com

    Reply
  71. Wasn’t the ideal type for a Regency hero quite different from what we normally see in books as well?
    I like seeing all kinds of variations in heroines and (far rarer) in heroes. Do they *all* have to have wide shoulders and narrow hips and washboard abs?

    Reply
  72. Wasn’t the ideal type for a Regency hero quite different from what we normally see in books as well?
    I like seeing all kinds of variations in heroines and (far rarer) in heroes. Do they *all* have to have wide shoulders and narrow hips and washboard abs?

    Reply
  73. Wasn’t the ideal type for a Regency hero quite different from what we normally see in books as well?
    I like seeing all kinds of variations in heroines and (far rarer) in heroes. Do they *all* have to have wide shoulders and narrow hips and washboard abs?

    Reply
  74. Wasn’t the ideal type for a Regency hero quite different from what we normally see in books as well?
    I like seeing all kinds of variations in heroines and (far rarer) in heroes. Do they *all* have to have wide shoulders and narrow hips and washboard abs?

    Reply
  75. Wasn’t the ideal type for a Regency hero quite different from what we normally see in books as well?
    I like seeing all kinds of variations in heroines and (far rarer) in heroes. Do they *all* have to have wide shoulders and narrow hips and washboard abs?

    Reply
  76. I’m in favor of nicely rounded heroines. 🙂
    My question is about self-perception and body image in ages past. Since there was no Hollywood standard, no underwear models, no pictures except formal portraits for the rich seen by the rich, few mirrors except among the wealthy, past heroes and heroines would not have been as obsessed about body size, etc. would they? Seems like there would be a little more freedom in what “pretty” meant, or in what having a pleasing figure meant.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  77. I’m in favor of nicely rounded heroines. 🙂
    My question is about self-perception and body image in ages past. Since there was no Hollywood standard, no underwear models, no pictures except formal portraits for the rich seen by the rich, few mirrors except among the wealthy, past heroes and heroines would not have been as obsessed about body size, etc. would they? Seems like there would be a little more freedom in what “pretty” meant, or in what having a pleasing figure meant.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  78. I’m in favor of nicely rounded heroines. 🙂
    My question is about self-perception and body image in ages past. Since there was no Hollywood standard, no underwear models, no pictures except formal portraits for the rich seen by the rich, few mirrors except among the wealthy, past heroes and heroines would not have been as obsessed about body size, etc. would they? Seems like there would be a little more freedom in what “pretty” meant, or in what having a pleasing figure meant.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  79. I’m in favor of nicely rounded heroines. 🙂
    My question is about self-perception and body image in ages past. Since there was no Hollywood standard, no underwear models, no pictures except formal portraits for the rich seen by the rich, few mirrors except among the wealthy, past heroes and heroines would not have been as obsessed about body size, etc. would they? Seems like there would be a little more freedom in what “pretty” meant, or in what having a pleasing figure meant.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  80. I’m in favor of nicely rounded heroines. 🙂
    My question is about self-perception and body image in ages past. Since there was no Hollywood standard, no underwear models, no pictures except formal portraits for the rich seen by the rich, few mirrors except among the wealthy, past heroes and heroines would not have been as obsessed about body size, etc. would they? Seems like there would be a little more freedom in what “pretty” meant, or in what having a pleasing figure meant.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  81. You write,
    “He even named a royal yacht “Fubsy” in her honor.”
    Pray tell me, what is your “authority” for this ?

    Reply
  82. You write,
    “He even named a royal yacht “Fubsy” in her honor.”
    Pray tell me, what is your “authority” for this ?

    Reply
  83. You write,
    “He even named a royal yacht “Fubsy” in her honor.”
    Pray tell me, what is your “authority” for this ?

    Reply
  84. You write,
    “He even named a royal yacht “Fubsy” in her honor.”
    Pray tell me, what is your “authority” for this ?

    Reply
  85. You write,
    “He even named a royal yacht “Fubsy” in her honor.”
    Pray tell me, what is your “authority” for this ?

    Reply

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