The Curious Case of the Beautiful Heroine

Anna2
Susanna here, on a deadline again, so I'm cheating a little, recycling a post that I wrote at the now-resting group blog The Heroine Addicts four years ago (almost to the day). And I have to admit, I'm still curious to know what everybody thinks…

* * * * *

Obscurewoman2I don’t know when I stopped describing heroines. Somewhere along the way between my first book and the middle ones I realized readers usually formed images themselves without my having to describe first-person narrators in detail. I might say what the colour of their hair was, or their age if it was relevant, but anything beyond that was more likely just a passing comment touching on some feature in comparison to someone else.

Celia, the heroine of Season of Storms, looking at her famous actress mother, admits: “She was lovely. I had always thought so, always wished my own eyes could have been as large, my features half as delicate. Instead I’d inherited only her small hands and her allergy to cats.”


And here’s the exchange between David Fortune, the hero of The Shadowy Horses, and the heroine Verity Grey, when they first meet:

 

“I must say,” he confessed, leaning back again, “you’re not at all as I pictured you.”
Everyone said that. Museum workers, I’d learned, were supposed to be little old ladies in spectacles, not twenty-nine-year-olds in short skirts. I nodded patiently. “I’m younger, you mean?”
“No. It’s only that, with Adrian recommending you, I’d have thought to find someone…well, someone…”
“Tall, blonde, and beautiful?”
“Something like that.”
I couldn’t help smiling. I was, to my knowledge, the only dark-haired woman who’d ever received so much as a dinner invitation from Adrian Sutton-Clarke, and I’d held his interest only until the next blonde had come along.

 

Shadowy_Horses_finalWe later learn her hair is long, and that an eight-year-old boy thinks she’s a “stoater”, but that’s it.

In The Winter Sea, I don’t think I described Carrie at all. And I know in The Firebird the only stray reference to Nicola’s looks was made at the beginning, when she says she’d got her job partly because “I had the proper look [to suit the image of the Galerie St-Croix], the proper pedigree, the right credentials, and I always dressed to fit the part.” And later we learn what her hair colour is when Rob warns her his father has “aye had a liking for blondes.”

But that’s it.

So it fascinates me to no end to see readers remark that my heroines are always beautiful. I won’t quote any particular readers’ reviews because I don’t like doing that—readers are wholly entitled to have their opinions, and authors, in my view, should not interfere with that. But the comments come up with enough regularity to make me wonder why so many people, when faced with a character who isn’t fully described, seem to want to default to the “beautiful”.

TWS SourcebooksEven more fascinating to me is that some readers seem to assume the heroine is beautiful because she manages to attract the romantic attention of one or more men in the small town she travels to, as if beauty alone is the thing that attracts men—as if no man could ever be attracted by a woman’s wit, intelligence, vivacity, or simply the sheer novelty of having her arrive in town. (I grew up in a small town and I’ve travelled to a lot of them and lived in a small village in the west of Wales—believe me when I say you do NOT have to be a beauty to attract attention when you turn up as a stranger in a local pub 🙂

The women I see in my mind when I’m writing are never what I would call “beautiful”. Pretty, perhaps, in an ordinary everyday way, but it’s my belief everyone’s pretty to somebody, and the most plain-looking face can become pretty when we have fallen in love with the person behind it.

I’m curious, though: Why do you think some readers, when faced with a blank face, are programmed to fill in the features as “beautiful”?

205 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Beautiful Heroine”

  1. Perhaps it’s because we expect only a beauty to be worth writing about? I don’t expect every heroine or hero, for that matter, to be jaw-dropping gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I tend to distrust really gorgeous people. Based on personal experience, they tend to major on their appearance and very little else. However, beauty can be a trial to them, I’m sure. I did read one novel where the heroine wished to be plainer so that she could have a conversation with people instead of having them stare at her like lack-wits. But as a person who majored on neat and clean, with a heavy dose of intellect, all that may be sour grapes.

    Reply
  2. Perhaps it’s because we expect only a beauty to be worth writing about? I don’t expect every heroine or hero, for that matter, to be jaw-dropping gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I tend to distrust really gorgeous people. Based on personal experience, they tend to major on their appearance and very little else. However, beauty can be a trial to them, I’m sure. I did read one novel where the heroine wished to be plainer so that she could have a conversation with people instead of having them stare at her like lack-wits. But as a person who majored on neat and clean, with a heavy dose of intellect, all that may be sour grapes.

    Reply
  3. Perhaps it’s because we expect only a beauty to be worth writing about? I don’t expect every heroine or hero, for that matter, to be jaw-dropping gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I tend to distrust really gorgeous people. Based on personal experience, they tend to major on their appearance and very little else. However, beauty can be a trial to them, I’m sure. I did read one novel where the heroine wished to be plainer so that she could have a conversation with people instead of having them stare at her like lack-wits. But as a person who majored on neat and clean, with a heavy dose of intellect, all that may be sour grapes.

    Reply
  4. Perhaps it’s because we expect only a beauty to be worth writing about? I don’t expect every heroine or hero, for that matter, to be jaw-dropping gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I tend to distrust really gorgeous people. Based on personal experience, they tend to major on their appearance and very little else. However, beauty can be a trial to them, I’m sure. I did read one novel where the heroine wished to be plainer so that she could have a conversation with people instead of having them stare at her like lack-wits. But as a person who majored on neat and clean, with a heavy dose of intellect, all that may be sour grapes.

    Reply
  5. Perhaps it’s because we expect only a beauty to be worth writing about? I don’t expect every heroine or hero, for that matter, to be jaw-dropping gorgeous. As a matter of fact, I tend to distrust really gorgeous people. Based on personal experience, they tend to major on their appearance and very little else. However, beauty can be a trial to them, I’m sure. I did read one novel where the heroine wished to be plainer so that she could have a conversation with people instead of having them stare at her like lack-wits. But as a person who majored on neat and clean, with a heavy dose of intellect, all that may be sour grapes.

    Reply
  6. Interesting question, Susanna. Maybe readers think your heroines are beautiful because they fall in love with the characters, and those we love are beautiful to us?
    I usually sketch in general details–height, coloring, things that might be relevant, like being a six foot tall warrior queen sort of woman. *G* I’ve occasionally had heroines who were dread-dead gorgeous (think Catherine Zeta-Jones), and their beauty ALWAYS causes them trouble. So I do some description of the person, but tend to neglect what they wear, except for the color of a gown for a really special occasion. *G*

    Reply
  7. Interesting question, Susanna. Maybe readers think your heroines are beautiful because they fall in love with the characters, and those we love are beautiful to us?
    I usually sketch in general details–height, coloring, things that might be relevant, like being a six foot tall warrior queen sort of woman. *G* I’ve occasionally had heroines who were dread-dead gorgeous (think Catherine Zeta-Jones), and their beauty ALWAYS causes them trouble. So I do some description of the person, but tend to neglect what they wear, except for the color of a gown for a really special occasion. *G*

    Reply
  8. Interesting question, Susanna. Maybe readers think your heroines are beautiful because they fall in love with the characters, and those we love are beautiful to us?
    I usually sketch in general details–height, coloring, things that might be relevant, like being a six foot tall warrior queen sort of woman. *G* I’ve occasionally had heroines who were dread-dead gorgeous (think Catherine Zeta-Jones), and their beauty ALWAYS causes them trouble. So I do some description of the person, but tend to neglect what they wear, except for the color of a gown for a really special occasion. *G*

    Reply
  9. Interesting question, Susanna. Maybe readers think your heroines are beautiful because they fall in love with the characters, and those we love are beautiful to us?
    I usually sketch in general details–height, coloring, things that might be relevant, like being a six foot tall warrior queen sort of woman. *G* I’ve occasionally had heroines who were dread-dead gorgeous (think Catherine Zeta-Jones), and their beauty ALWAYS causes them trouble. So I do some description of the person, but tend to neglect what they wear, except for the color of a gown for a really special occasion. *G*

    Reply
  10. Interesting question, Susanna. Maybe readers think your heroines are beautiful because they fall in love with the characters, and those we love are beautiful to us?
    I usually sketch in general details–height, coloring, things that might be relevant, like being a six foot tall warrior queen sort of woman. *G* I’ve occasionally had heroines who were dread-dead gorgeous (think Catherine Zeta-Jones), and their beauty ALWAYS causes them trouble. So I do some description of the person, but tend to neglect what they wear, except for the color of a gown for a really special occasion. *G*

    Reply
  11. I don’t particularly assume beauty and I don’t have a guess as to why others would — unless they think it’s a given for all romance heroine. I assume the heroines are not ugly (because truly ugly would be a plot problem) but are what I always call “people looking people) meaning all of us between ugly and beautiful.
    But perhaps that is because that’s what I look like (or looked like — now I look like old lady). We picture what we are.

    Reply
  12. I don’t particularly assume beauty and I don’t have a guess as to why others would — unless they think it’s a given for all romance heroine. I assume the heroines are not ugly (because truly ugly would be a plot problem) but are what I always call “people looking people) meaning all of us between ugly and beautiful.
    But perhaps that is because that’s what I look like (or looked like — now I look like old lady). We picture what we are.

    Reply
  13. I don’t particularly assume beauty and I don’t have a guess as to why others would — unless they think it’s a given for all romance heroine. I assume the heroines are not ugly (because truly ugly would be a plot problem) but are what I always call “people looking people) meaning all of us between ugly and beautiful.
    But perhaps that is because that’s what I look like (or looked like — now I look like old lady). We picture what we are.

    Reply
  14. I don’t particularly assume beauty and I don’t have a guess as to why others would — unless they think it’s a given for all romance heroine. I assume the heroines are not ugly (because truly ugly would be a plot problem) but are what I always call “people looking people) meaning all of us between ugly and beautiful.
    But perhaps that is because that’s what I look like (or looked like — now I look like old lady). We picture what we are.

    Reply
  15. I don’t particularly assume beauty and I don’t have a guess as to why others would — unless they think it’s a given for all romance heroine. I assume the heroines are not ugly (because truly ugly would be a plot problem) but are what I always call “people looking people) meaning all of us between ugly and beautiful.
    But perhaps that is because that’s what I look like (or looked like — now I look like old lady). We picture what we are.

    Reply
  16. I think it comes from the movie culture in Hollywood. The heroine is always beautiful, and most times her friends are less so and older to showcase her even more.
    If the heroine has a sibling or close cousin, she’s attractive in a different way. Maybe she’s cute physically, but as far as being beautiful, that still goes to the leading lady in the movie.
    I believe it’s this strong imagery from the film industry that causes the consciousness of readers to so often think the attributes of the heroine are more than likely beautiful.

    Reply
  17. I think it comes from the movie culture in Hollywood. The heroine is always beautiful, and most times her friends are less so and older to showcase her even more.
    If the heroine has a sibling or close cousin, she’s attractive in a different way. Maybe she’s cute physically, but as far as being beautiful, that still goes to the leading lady in the movie.
    I believe it’s this strong imagery from the film industry that causes the consciousness of readers to so often think the attributes of the heroine are more than likely beautiful.

    Reply
  18. I think it comes from the movie culture in Hollywood. The heroine is always beautiful, and most times her friends are less so and older to showcase her even more.
    If the heroine has a sibling or close cousin, she’s attractive in a different way. Maybe she’s cute physically, but as far as being beautiful, that still goes to the leading lady in the movie.
    I believe it’s this strong imagery from the film industry that causes the consciousness of readers to so often think the attributes of the heroine are more than likely beautiful.

    Reply
  19. I think it comes from the movie culture in Hollywood. The heroine is always beautiful, and most times her friends are less so and older to showcase her even more.
    If the heroine has a sibling or close cousin, she’s attractive in a different way. Maybe she’s cute physically, but as far as being beautiful, that still goes to the leading lady in the movie.
    I believe it’s this strong imagery from the film industry that causes the consciousness of readers to so often think the attributes of the heroine are more than likely beautiful.

    Reply
  20. I think it comes from the movie culture in Hollywood. The heroine is always beautiful, and most times her friends are less so and older to showcase her even more.
    If the heroine has a sibling or close cousin, she’s attractive in a different way. Maybe she’s cute physically, but as far as being beautiful, that still goes to the leading lady in the movie.
    I believe it’s this strong imagery from the film industry that causes the consciousness of readers to so often think the attributes of the heroine are more than likely beautiful.

    Reply
  21. You made me think of some of Elsie Lee’s heroines who had “hair colored hair and eye colored eyes” and still made me think they were attractive because of their personalities. They were all strong and smart.

    Reply
  22. You made me think of some of Elsie Lee’s heroines who had “hair colored hair and eye colored eyes” and still made me think they were attractive because of their personalities. They were all strong and smart.

    Reply
  23. You made me think of some of Elsie Lee’s heroines who had “hair colored hair and eye colored eyes” and still made me think they were attractive because of their personalities. They were all strong and smart.

    Reply
  24. You made me think of some of Elsie Lee’s heroines who had “hair colored hair and eye colored eyes” and still made me think they were attractive because of their personalities. They were all strong and smart.

    Reply
  25. You made me think of some of Elsie Lee’s heroines who had “hair colored hair and eye colored eyes” and still made me think they were attractive because of their personalities. They were all strong and smart.

    Reply
  26. Mary Jo, I honestly don’t know.
    In the case of my own books, I often hear it in reviews as a kind of complaint, as in “Her characters are always unrealistically beautiful”, that sort of thing, so it made me curious.
    And please keep describing those special gowns!

    Reply
  27. Mary Jo, I honestly don’t know.
    In the case of my own books, I often hear it in reviews as a kind of complaint, as in “Her characters are always unrealistically beautiful”, that sort of thing, so it made me curious.
    And please keep describing those special gowns!

    Reply
  28. Mary Jo, I honestly don’t know.
    In the case of my own books, I often hear it in reviews as a kind of complaint, as in “Her characters are always unrealistically beautiful”, that sort of thing, so it made me curious.
    And please keep describing those special gowns!

    Reply
  29. Mary Jo, I honestly don’t know.
    In the case of my own books, I often hear it in reviews as a kind of complaint, as in “Her characters are always unrealistically beautiful”, that sort of thing, so it made me curious.
    And please keep describing those special gowns!

    Reply
  30. Mary Jo, I honestly don’t know.
    In the case of my own books, I often hear it in reviews as a kind of complaint, as in “Her characters are always unrealistically beautiful”, that sort of thing, so it made me curious.
    And please keep describing those special gowns!

    Reply
  31. Patricia, you’re probably right.
    That’s one of the reasons why I so love British and other non-North American films and TV shows, because the actors look more like everyday people.
    It’s easier to believe in them.

    Reply
  32. Patricia, you’re probably right.
    That’s one of the reasons why I so love British and other non-North American films and TV shows, because the actors look more like everyday people.
    It’s easier to believe in them.

    Reply
  33. Patricia, you’re probably right.
    That’s one of the reasons why I so love British and other non-North American films and TV shows, because the actors look more like everyday people.
    It’s easier to believe in them.

    Reply
  34. Patricia, you’re probably right.
    That’s one of the reasons why I so love British and other non-North American films and TV shows, because the actors look more like everyday people.
    It’s easier to believe in them.

    Reply
  35. Patricia, you’re probably right.
    That’s one of the reasons why I so love British and other non-North American films and TV shows, because the actors look more like everyday people.
    It’s easier to believe in them.

    Reply
  36. I think a lot of people, both men and women, identify with the leading characters while they’re reading (or watching) a good story. We expect them to be special. It’s why we go there in the first place. Haven’t we all, at least occasionally, yearned to be the strong/handsome/beautiful/clever/witty man/woman who always says and does the perfect thing, who inevitably attracts the best mate, has the biggest adventures, etc., instead of the humdrum klutz we see in the mirror of daily life?
    Maybe readers complain about the beautiful heroine because they know, despite their desire, that real life is seldom like that. “If I can’t be like her, why should she be like her?”

    Reply
  37. I think a lot of people, both men and women, identify with the leading characters while they’re reading (or watching) a good story. We expect them to be special. It’s why we go there in the first place. Haven’t we all, at least occasionally, yearned to be the strong/handsome/beautiful/clever/witty man/woman who always says and does the perfect thing, who inevitably attracts the best mate, has the biggest adventures, etc., instead of the humdrum klutz we see in the mirror of daily life?
    Maybe readers complain about the beautiful heroine because they know, despite their desire, that real life is seldom like that. “If I can’t be like her, why should she be like her?”

    Reply
  38. I think a lot of people, both men and women, identify with the leading characters while they’re reading (or watching) a good story. We expect them to be special. It’s why we go there in the first place. Haven’t we all, at least occasionally, yearned to be the strong/handsome/beautiful/clever/witty man/woman who always says and does the perfect thing, who inevitably attracts the best mate, has the biggest adventures, etc., instead of the humdrum klutz we see in the mirror of daily life?
    Maybe readers complain about the beautiful heroine because they know, despite their desire, that real life is seldom like that. “If I can’t be like her, why should she be like her?”

    Reply
  39. I think a lot of people, both men and women, identify with the leading characters while they’re reading (or watching) a good story. We expect them to be special. It’s why we go there in the first place. Haven’t we all, at least occasionally, yearned to be the strong/handsome/beautiful/clever/witty man/woman who always says and does the perfect thing, who inevitably attracts the best mate, has the biggest adventures, etc., instead of the humdrum klutz we see in the mirror of daily life?
    Maybe readers complain about the beautiful heroine because they know, despite their desire, that real life is seldom like that. “If I can’t be like her, why should she be like her?”

    Reply
  40. I think a lot of people, both men and women, identify with the leading characters while they’re reading (or watching) a good story. We expect them to be special. It’s why we go there in the first place. Haven’t we all, at least occasionally, yearned to be the strong/handsome/beautiful/clever/witty man/woman who always says and does the perfect thing, who inevitably attracts the best mate, has the biggest adventures, etc., instead of the humdrum klutz we see in the mirror of daily life?
    Maybe readers complain about the beautiful heroine because they know, despite their desire, that real life is seldom like that. “If I can’t be like her, why should she be like her?”

    Reply
  41. The human mind evolved to interpolate and extrapolate to achieve speed of response. We often ‘see’ things that aren’t there, in optical illusions for example or from brief glimpses of a person’s shape. If people see beauty in a heroine when it hasn’t been described then it is because they expect the heroine to be beautiful, for whatever reason. Personally I give my heroines beautiful smiles unless informed otherwise!

    Reply
  42. The human mind evolved to interpolate and extrapolate to achieve speed of response. We often ‘see’ things that aren’t there, in optical illusions for example or from brief glimpses of a person’s shape. If people see beauty in a heroine when it hasn’t been described then it is because they expect the heroine to be beautiful, for whatever reason. Personally I give my heroines beautiful smiles unless informed otherwise!

    Reply
  43. The human mind evolved to interpolate and extrapolate to achieve speed of response. We often ‘see’ things that aren’t there, in optical illusions for example or from brief glimpses of a person’s shape. If people see beauty in a heroine when it hasn’t been described then it is because they expect the heroine to be beautiful, for whatever reason. Personally I give my heroines beautiful smiles unless informed otherwise!

    Reply
  44. The human mind evolved to interpolate and extrapolate to achieve speed of response. We often ‘see’ things that aren’t there, in optical illusions for example or from brief glimpses of a person’s shape. If people see beauty in a heroine when it hasn’t been described then it is because they expect the heroine to be beautiful, for whatever reason. Personally I give my heroines beautiful smiles unless informed otherwise!

    Reply
  45. The human mind evolved to interpolate and extrapolate to achieve speed of response. We often ‘see’ things that aren’t there, in optical illusions for example or from brief glimpses of a person’s shape. If people see beauty in a heroine when it hasn’t been described then it is because they expect the heroine to be beautiful, for whatever reason. Personally I give my heroines beautiful smiles unless informed otherwise!

    Reply
  46. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Susanna. I agree with Patricia that Hollywood has something to do with it, but I’d also cite the fairytales that most of us consumed as impressionable children. A fairytale heroine is almost always beautiful, isn’t she? Cinderella may have been a dirty skivvy dressed in rags but when she got to the ball, she was beautiful. And the prince was enchanted by — guess what? — her beauty.
    This post has given me an idea for my next blog on Libertabooks.com. I’d been struggling for a theme. Now I have one, thanks to you, Susanna. It’ll be published on Sunday (and will link back to this blog 😉 of course)

    Reply
  47. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Susanna. I agree with Patricia that Hollywood has something to do with it, but I’d also cite the fairytales that most of us consumed as impressionable children. A fairytale heroine is almost always beautiful, isn’t she? Cinderella may have been a dirty skivvy dressed in rags but when she got to the ball, she was beautiful. And the prince was enchanted by — guess what? — her beauty.
    This post has given me an idea for my next blog on Libertabooks.com. I’d been struggling for a theme. Now I have one, thanks to you, Susanna. It’ll be published on Sunday (and will link back to this blog 😉 of course)

    Reply
  48. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Susanna. I agree with Patricia that Hollywood has something to do with it, but I’d also cite the fairytales that most of us consumed as impressionable children. A fairytale heroine is almost always beautiful, isn’t she? Cinderella may have been a dirty skivvy dressed in rags but when she got to the ball, she was beautiful. And the prince was enchanted by — guess what? — her beauty.
    This post has given me an idea for my next blog on Libertabooks.com. I’d been struggling for a theme. Now I have one, thanks to you, Susanna. It’ll be published on Sunday (and will link back to this blog 😉 of course)

    Reply
  49. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Susanna. I agree with Patricia that Hollywood has something to do with it, but I’d also cite the fairytales that most of us consumed as impressionable children. A fairytale heroine is almost always beautiful, isn’t she? Cinderella may have been a dirty skivvy dressed in rags but when she got to the ball, she was beautiful. And the prince was enchanted by — guess what? — her beauty.
    This post has given me an idea for my next blog on Libertabooks.com. I’d been struggling for a theme. Now I have one, thanks to you, Susanna. It’ll be published on Sunday (and will link back to this blog 😉 of course)

    Reply
  50. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Susanna. I agree with Patricia that Hollywood has something to do with it, but I’d also cite the fairytales that most of us consumed as impressionable children. A fairytale heroine is almost always beautiful, isn’t she? Cinderella may have been a dirty skivvy dressed in rags but when she got to the ball, she was beautiful. And the prince was enchanted by — guess what? — her beauty.
    This post has given me an idea for my next blog on Libertabooks.com. I’d been struggling for a theme. Now I have one, thanks to you, Susanna. It’ll be published on Sunday (and will link back to this blog 😉 of course)

    Reply
  51. Thanks for the post. I wish we all were as beautiful as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. But, I would hope that women are found attractive because of their wit, humor and humanity.
    But, I do like to picture the characters in a story on my own. I think that is why if a book I have enjoyed is made into a film, I always am pretty certain they have gotten the casting all wrong.

    Reply
  52. Thanks for the post. I wish we all were as beautiful as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. But, I would hope that women are found attractive because of their wit, humor and humanity.
    But, I do like to picture the characters in a story on my own. I think that is why if a book I have enjoyed is made into a film, I always am pretty certain they have gotten the casting all wrong.

    Reply
  53. Thanks for the post. I wish we all were as beautiful as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. But, I would hope that women are found attractive because of their wit, humor and humanity.
    But, I do like to picture the characters in a story on my own. I think that is why if a book I have enjoyed is made into a film, I always am pretty certain they have gotten the casting all wrong.

    Reply
  54. Thanks for the post. I wish we all were as beautiful as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. But, I would hope that women are found attractive because of their wit, humor and humanity.
    But, I do like to picture the characters in a story on my own. I think that is why if a book I have enjoyed is made into a film, I always am pretty certain they have gotten the casting all wrong.

    Reply
  55. Thanks for the post. I wish we all were as beautiful as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. But, I would hope that women are found attractive because of their wit, humor and humanity.
    But, I do like to picture the characters in a story on my own. I think that is why if a book I have enjoyed is made into a film, I always am pretty certain they have gotten the casting all wrong.

    Reply
  56. Well, you have to play the hand that genetics gives you. As my DH says, “Beauty doesn’t last. Character does.” He is very wise.

    Reply
  57. Well, you have to play the hand that genetics gives you. As my DH says, “Beauty doesn’t last. Character does.” He is very wise.

    Reply
  58. Well, you have to play the hand that genetics gives you. As my DH says, “Beauty doesn’t last. Character does.” He is very wise.

    Reply
  59. Well, you have to play the hand that genetics gives you. As my DH says, “Beauty doesn’t last. Character does.” He is very wise.

    Reply
  60. Well, you have to play the hand that genetics gives you. As my DH says, “Beauty doesn’t last. Character does.” He is very wise.

    Reply
  61. I agree with Joanna M who indicated fairy tales as the origin for the “beautiful” heroine. Disney carried that theme into its cartoon versions of the Grimms stories. I’m odd in that I rarely picture characters in a book except in vague ways….she was tall or small and he was Asian or Slavic….just impressions that ground them in the story. I tend to view the characters in relation to others in the story.

    Reply
  62. I agree with Joanna M who indicated fairy tales as the origin for the “beautiful” heroine. Disney carried that theme into its cartoon versions of the Grimms stories. I’m odd in that I rarely picture characters in a book except in vague ways….she was tall or small and he was Asian or Slavic….just impressions that ground them in the story. I tend to view the characters in relation to others in the story.

    Reply
  63. I agree with Joanna M who indicated fairy tales as the origin for the “beautiful” heroine. Disney carried that theme into its cartoon versions of the Grimms stories. I’m odd in that I rarely picture characters in a book except in vague ways….she was tall or small and he was Asian or Slavic….just impressions that ground them in the story. I tend to view the characters in relation to others in the story.

    Reply
  64. I agree with Joanna M who indicated fairy tales as the origin for the “beautiful” heroine. Disney carried that theme into its cartoon versions of the Grimms stories. I’m odd in that I rarely picture characters in a book except in vague ways….she was tall or small and he was Asian or Slavic….just impressions that ground them in the story. I tend to view the characters in relation to others in the story.

    Reply
  65. I agree with Joanna M who indicated fairy tales as the origin for the “beautiful” heroine. Disney carried that theme into its cartoon versions of the Grimms stories. I’m odd in that I rarely picture characters in a book except in vague ways….she was tall or small and he was Asian or Slavic….just impressions that ground them in the story. I tend to view the characters in relation to others in the story.

    Reply
  66. This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your books and concentrated on whether they were beautiful or not. I think part of my problem is that I allow my brain to create them and the “scene” in my head and I don’t really think about their beauty. They just “become” in my minds eye. Interesting enough, I have been jolted out of a story because halfway through there is a comment about the color of someone’s hair and I “saw” them as completely different. Just funny the way our minds work isn’t it?

    Reply
  67. This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your books and concentrated on whether they were beautiful or not. I think part of my problem is that I allow my brain to create them and the “scene” in my head and I don’t really think about their beauty. They just “become” in my minds eye. Interesting enough, I have been jolted out of a story because halfway through there is a comment about the color of someone’s hair and I “saw” them as completely different. Just funny the way our minds work isn’t it?

    Reply
  68. This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your books and concentrated on whether they were beautiful or not. I think part of my problem is that I allow my brain to create them and the “scene” in my head and I don’t really think about their beauty. They just “become” in my minds eye. Interesting enough, I have been jolted out of a story because halfway through there is a comment about the color of someone’s hair and I “saw” them as completely different. Just funny the way our minds work isn’t it?

    Reply
  69. This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your books and concentrated on whether they were beautiful or not. I think part of my problem is that I allow my brain to create them and the “scene” in my head and I don’t really think about their beauty. They just “become” in my minds eye. Interesting enough, I have been jolted out of a story because halfway through there is a comment about the color of someone’s hair and I “saw” them as completely different. Just funny the way our minds work isn’t it?

    Reply
  70. This is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read one of your books and concentrated on whether they were beautiful or not. I think part of my problem is that I allow my brain to create them and the “scene” in my head and I don’t really think about their beauty. They just “become” in my minds eye. Interesting enough, I have been jolted out of a story because halfway through there is a comment about the color of someone’s hair and I “saw” them as completely different. Just funny the way our minds work isn’t it?

    Reply
  71. I get tired of reading about stunningly beautiful heroines and equally handsome heroes. It often distracts from other aspects of who they really are and puts the secondary characters in lesser light. But more importantly to my enjoyment of the story, is that I often like to feel this could my story, but that definitely cannot be when beauty is one of the attributes.
    I prefer it when I get to picture the characters, without descriptions of how attractive they are.

    Reply
  72. I get tired of reading about stunningly beautiful heroines and equally handsome heroes. It often distracts from other aspects of who they really are and puts the secondary characters in lesser light. But more importantly to my enjoyment of the story, is that I often like to feel this could my story, but that definitely cannot be when beauty is one of the attributes.
    I prefer it when I get to picture the characters, without descriptions of how attractive they are.

    Reply
  73. I get tired of reading about stunningly beautiful heroines and equally handsome heroes. It often distracts from other aspects of who they really are and puts the secondary characters in lesser light. But more importantly to my enjoyment of the story, is that I often like to feel this could my story, but that definitely cannot be when beauty is one of the attributes.
    I prefer it when I get to picture the characters, without descriptions of how attractive they are.

    Reply
  74. I get tired of reading about stunningly beautiful heroines and equally handsome heroes. It often distracts from other aspects of who they really are and puts the secondary characters in lesser light. But more importantly to my enjoyment of the story, is that I often like to feel this could my story, but that definitely cannot be when beauty is one of the attributes.
    I prefer it when I get to picture the characters, without descriptions of how attractive they are.

    Reply
  75. I get tired of reading about stunningly beautiful heroines and equally handsome heroes. It often distracts from other aspects of who they really are and puts the secondary characters in lesser light. But more importantly to my enjoyment of the story, is that I often like to feel this could my story, but that definitely cannot be when beauty is one of the attributes.
    I prefer it when I get to picture the characters, without descriptions of how attractive they are.

    Reply
  76. What an interesting post, Susanna. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought too much about what your heroines look like. If a writer is good, (and you certainly fall into that category!) I think readers inevitably form a mental picture based more on character than on physical features. (Similar to what Stephanie L said above). But I’m one who almost never enjoys a movie or tv adaptation after reading a book because I don’t want my mental picture of a character altered. My kids were always annoyed at me when I couldn’t even bear to look at the Harry Potter movies if they were playing on video in the house!

    Reply
  77. What an interesting post, Susanna. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought too much about what your heroines look like. If a writer is good, (and you certainly fall into that category!) I think readers inevitably form a mental picture based more on character than on physical features. (Similar to what Stephanie L said above). But I’m one who almost never enjoys a movie or tv adaptation after reading a book because I don’t want my mental picture of a character altered. My kids were always annoyed at me when I couldn’t even bear to look at the Harry Potter movies if they were playing on video in the house!

    Reply
  78. What an interesting post, Susanna. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought too much about what your heroines look like. If a writer is good, (and you certainly fall into that category!) I think readers inevitably form a mental picture based more on character than on physical features. (Similar to what Stephanie L said above). But I’m one who almost never enjoys a movie or tv adaptation after reading a book because I don’t want my mental picture of a character altered. My kids were always annoyed at me when I couldn’t even bear to look at the Harry Potter movies if they were playing on video in the house!

    Reply
  79. What an interesting post, Susanna. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought too much about what your heroines look like. If a writer is good, (and you certainly fall into that category!) I think readers inevitably form a mental picture based more on character than on physical features. (Similar to what Stephanie L said above). But I’m one who almost never enjoys a movie or tv adaptation after reading a book because I don’t want my mental picture of a character altered. My kids were always annoyed at me when I couldn’t even bear to look at the Harry Potter movies if they were playing on video in the house!

    Reply
  80. What an interesting post, Susanna. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought too much about what your heroines look like. If a writer is good, (and you certainly fall into that category!) I think readers inevitably form a mental picture based more on character than on physical features. (Similar to what Stephanie L said above). But I’m one who almost never enjoys a movie or tv adaptation after reading a book because I don’t want my mental picture of a character altered. My kids were always annoyed at me when I couldn’t even bear to look at the Harry Potter movies if they were playing on video in the house!

    Reply
  81. In one of my favourite Mary Balogh books Only a kiss, the hero is so good looking and rich, no-one sees who he really is. So beauty can be a curse as much as a blessing

    Reply
  82. In one of my favourite Mary Balogh books Only a kiss, the hero is so good looking and rich, no-one sees who he really is. So beauty can be a curse as much as a blessing

    Reply
  83. In one of my favourite Mary Balogh books Only a kiss, the hero is so good looking and rich, no-one sees who he really is. So beauty can be a curse as much as a blessing

    Reply
  84. In one of my favourite Mary Balogh books Only a kiss, the hero is so good looking and rich, no-one sees who he really is. So beauty can be a curse as much as a blessing

    Reply
  85. In one of my favourite Mary Balogh books Only a kiss, the hero is so good looking and rich, no-one sees who he really is. So beauty can be a curse as much as a blessing

    Reply
  86. Okay, you’re the only other person I’ve ever had say that. People in my world think I’m nuts. If I’ve read the book, I won’t allow a screen version to destroy my mental pictures.

    Reply
  87. Okay, you’re the only other person I’ve ever had say that. People in my world think I’m nuts. If I’ve read the book, I won’t allow a screen version to destroy my mental pictures.

    Reply
  88. Okay, you’re the only other person I’ve ever had say that. People in my world think I’m nuts. If I’ve read the book, I won’t allow a screen version to destroy my mental pictures.

    Reply
  89. Okay, you’re the only other person I’ve ever had say that. People in my world think I’m nuts. If I’ve read the book, I won’t allow a screen version to destroy my mental pictures.

    Reply
  90. Okay, you’re the only other person I’ve ever had say that. People in my world think I’m nuts. If I’ve read the book, I won’t allow a screen version to destroy my mental pictures.

    Reply
  91. I confess, I never thought of your heroines as beautiful so much as interesting, which is far more the type of person I want to read about. Maybe readers get the idea from the covers? That hair is soooo gorgeous!
    Since I write series, I tend to do a little more character description just so I can signal the reader who is stepping up to the plate. The plump one with the auburn hair, the blond haystack… In third person, it adds a little personality, but as everyone has said above, beauty has its downsides and needs to be part of the story.
    thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  92. I confess, I never thought of your heroines as beautiful so much as interesting, which is far more the type of person I want to read about. Maybe readers get the idea from the covers? That hair is soooo gorgeous!
    Since I write series, I tend to do a little more character description just so I can signal the reader who is stepping up to the plate. The plump one with the auburn hair, the blond haystack… In third person, it adds a little personality, but as everyone has said above, beauty has its downsides and needs to be part of the story.
    thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  93. I confess, I never thought of your heroines as beautiful so much as interesting, which is far more the type of person I want to read about. Maybe readers get the idea from the covers? That hair is soooo gorgeous!
    Since I write series, I tend to do a little more character description just so I can signal the reader who is stepping up to the plate. The plump one with the auburn hair, the blond haystack… In third person, it adds a little personality, but as everyone has said above, beauty has its downsides and needs to be part of the story.
    thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  94. I confess, I never thought of your heroines as beautiful so much as interesting, which is far more the type of person I want to read about. Maybe readers get the idea from the covers? That hair is soooo gorgeous!
    Since I write series, I tend to do a little more character description just so I can signal the reader who is stepping up to the plate. The plump one with the auburn hair, the blond haystack… In third person, it adds a little personality, but as everyone has said above, beauty has its downsides and needs to be part of the story.
    thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  95. I confess, I never thought of your heroines as beautiful so much as interesting, which is far more the type of person I want to read about. Maybe readers get the idea from the covers? That hair is soooo gorgeous!
    Since I write series, I tend to do a little more character description just so I can signal the reader who is stepping up to the plate. The plump one with the auburn hair, the blond haystack… In third person, it adds a little personality, but as everyone has said above, beauty has its downsides and needs to be part of the story.
    thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  96. Humm- interesting post. I’m not sure about other people, but unless there is an exact description, I don’t necessarily picture the heroine as being classically beautiful. Usually, I picture them as being nice but normal looking.
    There are some stories where the heroine being beautiful is relevant to the story being told. When that happens, I find I do have a type depending on the general description provided. For instance, if they are described as having dark hair and blue eyes, I picture someone looking like Elizabeth Taylor. I just now realized that (smile). How funny.

    Reply
  97. Humm- interesting post. I’m not sure about other people, but unless there is an exact description, I don’t necessarily picture the heroine as being classically beautiful. Usually, I picture them as being nice but normal looking.
    There are some stories where the heroine being beautiful is relevant to the story being told. When that happens, I find I do have a type depending on the general description provided. For instance, if they are described as having dark hair and blue eyes, I picture someone looking like Elizabeth Taylor. I just now realized that (smile). How funny.

    Reply
  98. Humm- interesting post. I’m not sure about other people, but unless there is an exact description, I don’t necessarily picture the heroine as being classically beautiful. Usually, I picture them as being nice but normal looking.
    There are some stories where the heroine being beautiful is relevant to the story being told. When that happens, I find I do have a type depending on the general description provided. For instance, if they are described as having dark hair and blue eyes, I picture someone looking like Elizabeth Taylor. I just now realized that (smile). How funny.

    Reply
  99. Humm- interesting post. I’m not sure about other people, but unless there is an exact description, I don’t necessarily picture the heroine as being classically beautiful. Usually, I picture them as being nice but normal looking.
    There are some stories where the heroine being beautiful is relevant to the story being told. When that happens, I find I do have a type depending on the general description provided. For instance, if they are described as having dark hair and blue eyes, I picture someone looking like Elizabeth Taylor. I just now realized that (smile). How funny.

    Reply
  100. Humm- interesting post. I’m not sure about other people, but unless there is an exact description, I don’t necessarily picture the heroine as being classically beautiful. Usually, I picture them as being nice but normal looking.
    There are some stories where the heroine being beautiful is relevant to the story being told. When that happens, I find I do have a type depending on the general description provided. For instance, if they are described as having dark hair and blue eyes, I picture someone looking like Elizabeth Taylor. I just now realized that (smile). How funny.

    Reply
  101. Totally agree with Stephanie L as well..if I’ve read the book, no movie for me. If I’ve seen the movie, no book for me.
    If I’ve listened to the audio book, I generally can’t read the book again either…..I can listen again, but reading…not so much.
    Weird the way a person’s mind works, isn’t it.

    Reply
  102. Totally agree with Stephanie L as well..if I’ve read the book, no movie for me. If I’ve seen the movie, no book for me.
    If I’ve listened to the audio book, I generally can’t read the book again either…..I can listen again, but reading…not so much.
    Weird the way a person’s mind works, isn’t it.

    Reply
  103. Totally agree with Stephanie L as well..if I’ve read the book, no movie for me. If I’ve seen the movie, no book for me.
    If I’ve listened to the audio book, I generally can’t read the book again either…..I can listen again, but reading…not so much.
    Weird the way a person’s mind works, isn’t it.

    Reply
  104. Totally agree with Stephanie L as well..if I’ve read the book, no movie for me. If I’ve seen the movie, no book for me.
    If I’ve listened to the audio book, I generally can’t read the book again either…..I can listen again, but reading…not so much.
    Weird the way a person’s mind works, isn’t it.

    Reply
  105. Totally agree with Stephanie L as well..if I’ve read the book, no movie for me. If I’ve seen the movie, no book for me.
    If I’ve listened to the audio book, I generally can’t read the book again either…..I can listen again, but reading…not so much.
    Weird the way a person’s mind works, isn’t it.

    Reply
  106. I haven’t really thought about it, but it just seemed that they were attractive although not necessarily beautiful. Beauty is, after all, rather subjective – a raving beauty in one person’s eyes might be unattractive to another. They have all been intelligent and at least reasonably educated, but the only thing they seem to have in common is, to one degree or another, a sort of telepathy for lack of a better word. I can relate to that as I have had my moments also. Maybe it’s part of what attracts me to them. But only a part…

    Reply
  107. I haven’t really thought about it, but it just seemed that they were attractive although not necessarily beautiful. Beauty is, after all, rather subjective – a raving beauty in one person’s eyes might be unattractive to another. They have all been intelligent and at least reasonably educated, but the only thing they seem to have in common is, to one degree or another, a sort of telepathy for lack of a better word. I can relate to that as I have had my moments also. Maybe it’s part of what attracts me to them. But only a part…

    Reply
  108. I haven’t really thought about it, but it just seemed that they were attractive although not necessarily beautiful. Beauty is, after all, rather subjective – a raving beauty in one person’s eyes might be unattractive to another. They have all been intelligent and at least reasonably educated, but the only thing they seem to have in common is, to one degree or another, a sort of telepathy for lack of a better word. I can relate to that as I have had my moments also. Maybe it’s part of what attracts me to them. But only a part…

    Reply
  109. I haven’t really thought about it, but it just seemed that they were attractive although not necessarily beautiful. Beauty is, after all, rather subjective – a raving beauty in one person’s eyes might be unattractive to another. They have all been intelligent and at least reasonably educated, but the only thing they seem to have in common is, to one degree or another, a sort of telepathy for lack of a better word. I can relate to that as I have had my moments also. Maybe it’s part of what attracts me to them. But only a part…

    Reply
  110. I haven’t really thought about it, but it just seemed that they were attractive although not necessarily beautiful. Beauty is, after all, rather subjective – a raving beauty in one person’s eyes might be unattractive to another. They have all been intelligent and at least reasonably educated, but the only thing they seem to have in common is, to one degree or another, a sort of telepathy for lack of a better word. I can relate to that as I have had my moments also. Maybe it’s part of what attracts me to them. But only a part…

    Reply
  111. As a teenage girl, I was introduced to romance novels through Harlequin Romance. It drove me crazy how much detail was spent on describing how ridiculously, impossibly beautiful the woman and man were
    It seemed like such a waste of words. I want a story that takes me away to another place, that I can’t put down, with interesting characters who are realistic, quirky, fun!! I don’t care about what they look like… My mind creates that as the story progresses. I love your books because I become lost in the story and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. You are such an incredible story teller!

    Reply
  112. As a teenage girl, I was introduced to romance novels through Harlequin Romance. It drove me crazy how much detail was spent on describing how ridiculously, impossibly beautiful the woman and man were
    It seemed like such a waste of words. I want a story that takes me away to another place, that I can’t put down, with interesting characters who are realistic, quirky, fun!! I don’t care about what they look like… My mind creates that as the story progresses. I love your books because I become lost in the story and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. You are such an incredible story teller!

    Reply
  113. As a teenage girl, I was introduced to romance novels through Harlequin Romance. It drove me crazy how much detail was spent on describing how ridiculously, impossibly beautiful the woman and man were
    It seemed like such a waste of words. I want a story that takes me away to another place, that I can’t put down, with interesting characters who are realistic, quirky, fun!! I don’t care about what they look like… My mind creates that as the story progresses. I love your books because I become lost in the story and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. You are such an incredible story teller!

    Reply
  114. As a teenage girl, I was introduced to romance novels through Harlequin Romance. It drove me crazy how much detail was spent on describing how ridiculously, impossibly beautiful the woman and man were
    It seemed like such a waste of words. I want a story that takes me away to another place, that I can’t put down, with interesting characters who are realistic, quirky, fun!! I don’t care about what they look like… My mind creates that as the story progresses. I love your books because I become lost in the story and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. You are such an incredible story teller!

    Reply
  115. As a teenage girl, I was introduced to romance novels through Harlequin Romance. It drove me crazy how much detail was spent on describing how ridiculously, impossibly beautiful the woman and man were
    It seemed like such a waste of words. I want a story that takes me away to another place, that I can’t put down, with interesting characters who are realistic, quirky, fun!! I don’t care about what they look like… My mind creates that as the story progresses. I love your books because I become lost in the story and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. You are such an incredible story teller!

    Reply
  116. That is very interesting. I never before realized that you don’t give much description of your character’s appearance. I like your heroines because they’re smart, interesting, and have a good sense of humor. I suppose I just imagine them to be, as you say, pretty in a normal sort of way. I love your stories, and can’t wait for Bellewether!

    Reply
  117. That is very interesting. I never before realized that you don’t give much description of your character’s appearance. I like your heroines because they’re smart, interesting, and have a good sense of humor. I suppose I just imagine them to be, as you say, pretty in a normal sort of way. I love your stories, and can’t wait for Bellewether!

    Reply
  118. That is very interesting. I never before realized that you don’t give much description of your character’s appearance. I like your heroines because they’re smart, interesting, and have a good sense of humor. I suppose I just imagine them to be, as you say, pretty in a normal sort of way. I love your stories, and can’t wait for Bellewether!

    Reply
  119. That is very interesting. I never before realized that you don’t give much description of your character’s appearance. I like your heroines because they’re smart, interesting, and have a good sense of humor. I suppose I just imagine them to be, as you say, pretty in a normal sort of way. I love your stories, and can’t wait for Bellewether!

    Reply
  120. That is very interesting. I never before realized that you don’t give much description of your character’s appearance. I like your heroines because they’re smart, interesting, and have a good sense of humor. I suppose I just imagine them to be, as you say, pretty in a normal sort of way. I love your stories, and can’t wait for Bellewether!

    Reply
  121. Lori, yes! I also read a lot of Harlequins when I was a teenager. But my very favorite was one where the hero was human and sweet and she wasn’t gorgeous but he found her beautiful. Going through a horrible awkward phase it was so reassuring that the plain girl could find love with a guy who was actually nice and not ‘remote’! Gave hope to all of us plain girls!! 😀

    Reply
  122. Lori, yes! I also read a lot of Harlequins when I was a teenager. But my very favorite was one where the hero was human and sweet and she wasn’t gorgeous but he found her beautiful. Going through a horrible awkward phase it was so reassuring that the plain girl could find love with a guy who was actually nice and not ‘remote’! Gave hope to all of us plain girls!! 😀

    Reply
  123. Lori, yes! I also read a lot of Harlequins when I was a teenager. But my very favorite was one where the hero was human and sweet and she wasn’t gorgeous but he found her beautiful. Going through a horrible awkward phase it was so reassuring that the plain girl could find love with a guy who was actually nice and not ‘remote’! Gave hope to all of us plain girls!! 😀

    Reply
  124. Lori, yes! I also read a lot of Harlequins when I was a teenager. But my very favorite was one where the hero was human and sweet and she wasn’t gorgeous but he found her beautiful. Going through a horrible awkward phase it was so reassuring that the plain girl could find love with a guy who was actually nice and not ‘remote’! Gave hope to all of us plain girls!! 😀

    Reply
  125. Lori, yes! I also read a lot of Harlequins when I was a teenager. But my very favorite was one where the hero was human and sweet and she wasn’t gorgeous but he found her beautiful. Going through a horrible awkward phase it was so reassuring that the plain girl could find love with a guy who was actually nice and not ‘remote’! Gave hope to all of us plain girls!! 😀

    Reply
  126. That’s interesting, Janice. I tend to notice people in parts and pieces–their general shape, their skin colour, their smiles, their eyes, their hands…that sort of thing. I have a particular “thing” for hands 🙂

    Reply
  127. That’s interesting, Janice. I tend to notice people in parts and pieces–their general shape, their skin colour, their smiles, their eyes, their hands…that sort of thing. I have a particular “thing” for hands 🙂

    Reply
  128. That’s interesting, Janice. I tend to notice people in parts and pieces–their general shape, their skin colour, their smiles, their eyes, their hands…that sort of thing. I have a particular “thing” for hands 🙂

    Reply
  129. That’s interesting, Janice. I tend to notice people in parts and pieces–their general shape, their skin colour, their smiles, their eyes, their hands…that sort of thing. I have a particular “thing” for hands 🙂

    Reply
  130. That’s interesting, Janice. I tend to notice people in parts and pieces–their general shape, their skin colour, their smiles, their eyes, their hands…that sort of thing. I have a particular “thing” for hands 🙂

    Reply
  131. Stephanie, that’s a great point. I know in Mariana, I was very careful never to mention Richard’s beard after I first described him (at least I don’t think I mentioned it again), because I figured most modern readers would “see” him as clean-shaven, and that being reminded of his beard would throw them out of the story. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t wrong in that assumption!

    Reply
  132. Stephanie, that’s a great point. I know in Mariana, I was very careful never to mention Richard’s beard after I first described him (at least I don’t think I mentioned it again), because I figured most modern readers would “see” him as clean-shaven, and that being reminded of his beard would throw them out of the story. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t wrong in that assumption!

    Reply
  133. Stephanie, that’s a great point. I know in Mariana, I was very careful never to mention Richard’s beard after I first described him (at least I don’t think I mentioned it again), because I figured most modern readers would “see” him as clean-shaven, and that being reminded of his beard would throw them out of the story. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t wrong in that assumption!

    Reply
  134. Stephanie, that’s a great point. I know in Mariana, I was very careful never to mention Richard’s beard after I first described him (at least I don’t think I mentioned it again), because I figured most modern readers would “see” him as clean-shaven, and that being reminded of his beard would throw them out of the story. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t wrong in that assumption!

    Reply
  135. Stephanie, that’s a great point. I know in Mariana, I was very careful never to mention Richard’s beard after I first described him (at least I don’t think I mentioned it again), because I figured most modern readers would “see” him as clean-shaven, and that being reminded of his beard would throw them out of the story. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t wrong in that assumption!

    Reply
  136. Alison, I think maybe that’s why I secretly prefer the Sally Hawkins TV version of Persuasion, because she’s pretty but not perfectly pretty, and I can imagine myself being HER Anne Elliot, whereas with a more classically beautiful actress I might not be able to, so I understand your point completely.

    Reply
  137. Alison, I think maybe that’s why I secretly prefer the Sally Hawkins TV version of Persuasion, because she’s pretty but not perfectly pretty, and I can imagine myself being HER Anne Elliot, whereas with a more classically beautiful actress I might not be able to, so I understand your point completely.

    Reply
  138. Alison, I think maybe that’s why I secretly prefer the Sally Hawkins TV version of Persuasion, because she’s pretty but not perfectly pretty, and I can imagine myself being HER Anne Elliot, whereas with a more classically beautiful actress I might not be able to, so I understand your point completely.

    Reply
  139. Alison, I think maybe that’s why I secretly prefer the Sally Hawkins TV version of Persuasion, because she’s pretty but not perfectly pretty, and I can imagine myself being HER Anne Elliot, whereas with a more classically beautiful actress I might not be able to, so I understand your point completely.

    Reply
  140. Alison, I think maybe that’s why I secretly prefer the Sally Hawkins TV version of Persuasion, because she’s pretty but not perfectly pretty, and I can imagine myself being HER Anne Elliot, whereas with a more classically beautiful actress I might not be able to, so I understand your point completely.

    Reply
  141. Margaret, for me it depends on the book. I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, and David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot for me, in the same way that Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. As a child, I almost always saw the movie first–usually at the weekly Saturday matinee in our small town movie theatre, where the owner dredged up old films and ran them with old serials and cartoons for 50 cents a show every week (bring your own popcorn if you wanted to). That was where I saw The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, The Time Machine (with Rod Taylor–swoon), The Borrowers, and a score of other movies, and then on my way home from the cinema I’d stop in at the library and get the book to read, so the first image of the characters in my mind was usually that of the film’s actors. Backwards from the usual way 🙂

    Reply
  142. Margaret, for me it depends on the book. I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, and David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot for me, in the same way that Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. As a child, I almost always saw the movie first–usually at the weekly Saturday matinee in our small town movie theatre, where the owner dredged up old films and ran them with old serials and cartoons for 50 cents a show every week (bring your own popcorn if you wanted to). That was where I saw The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, The Time Machine (with Rod Taylor–swoon), The Borrowers, and a score of other movies, and then on my way home from the cinema I’d stop in at the library and get the book to read, so the first image of the characters in my mind was usually that of the film’s actors. Backwards from the usual way 🙂

    Reply
  143. Margaret, for me it depends on the book. I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, and David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot for me, in the same way that Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. As a child, I almost always saw the movie first–usually at the weekly Saturday matinee in our small town movie theatre, where the owner dredged up old films and ran them with old serials and cartoons for 50 cents a show every week (bring your own popcorn if you wanted to). That was where I saw The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, The Time Machine (with Rod Taylor–swoon), The Borrowers, and a score of other movies, and then on my way home from the cinema I’d stop in at the library and get the book to read, so the first image of the characters in my mind was usually that of the film’s actors. Backwards from the usual way 🙂

    Reply
  144. Margaret, for me it depends on the book. I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, and David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot for me, in the same way that Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. As a child, I almost always saw the movie first–usually at the weekly Saturday matinee in our small town movie theatre, where the owner dredged up old films and ran them with old serials and cartoons for 50 cents a show every week (bring your own popcorn if you wanted to). That was where I saw The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, The Time Machine (with Rod Taylor–swoon), The Borrowers, and a score of other movies, and then on my way home from the cinema I’d stop in at the library and get the book to read, so the first image of the characters in my mind was usually that of the film’s actors. Backwards from the usual way 🙂

    Reply
  145. Margaret, for me it depends on the book. I adore the Lord of the Rings movies, and David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot for me, in the same way that Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes. As a child, I almost always saw the movie first–usually at the weekly Saturday matinee in our small town movie theatre, where the owner dredged up old films and ran them with old serials and cartoons for 50 cents a show every week (bring your own popcorn if you wanted to). That was where I saw The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, The Time Machine (with Rod Taylor–swoon), The Borrowers, and a score of other movies, and then on my way home from the cinema I’d stop in at the library and get the book to read, so the first image of the characters in my mind was usually that of the film’s actors. Backwards from the usual way 🙂

    Reply
  146. Thanks, Patricia. And I think you’re right, there is a difference when you’re writing in third person vs. first person. Third also allows you more freedom to describe, in a way, although I have to confess I still don’t often take advantage of it 🙂

    Reply
  147. Thanks, Patricia. And I think you’re right, there is a difference when you’re writing in third person vs. first person. Third also allows you more freedom to describe, in a way, although I have to confess I still don’t often take advantage of it 🙂

    Reply
  148. Thanks, Patricia. And I think you’re right, there is a difference when you’re writing in third person vs. first person. Third also allows you more freedom to describe, in a way, although I have to confess I still don’t often take advantage of it 🙂

    Reply
  149. Thanks, Patricia. And I think you’re right, there is a difference when you’re writing in third person vs. first person. Third also allows you more freedom to describe, in a way, although I have to confess I still don’t often take advantage of it 🙂

    Reply
  150. Thanks, Patricia. And I think you’re right, there is a difference when you’re writing in third person vs. first person. Third also allows you more freedom to describe, in a way, although I have to confess I still don’t often take advantage of it 🙂

    Reply
  151. This is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved reading Mary Balogh’s books. Her heroines are never drop-dead beautiful — they might be conventionally attractive, but it’s their MINDS and personalities that make them such dynamic characters. I can’t recall a single main character of hers who’s supposed to be some kind of ravishing beauty. The fact that her heroines are fairly plain, even nondescript, women who are more or less just everyday people is what makes them so instantly relatable, I think. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out! I think she’s absolutely brilliant.
    And as some people have already stated, outward beauty fades. It’s the inner beauty that really counts for something in any person, female or male. As well as their intellect. When people say that “smart is the new sexy,” they aren’t lying. It definitely is.

    Reply
  152. This is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved reading Mary Balogh’s books. Her heroines are never drop-dead beautiful — they might be conventionally attractive, but it’s their MINDS and personalities that make them such dynamic characters. I can’t recall a single main character of hers who’s supposed to be some kind of ravishing beauty. The fact that her heroines are fairly plain, even nondescript, women who are more or less just everyday people is what makes them so instantly relatable, I think. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out! I think she’s absolutely brilliant.
    And as some people have already stated, outward beauty fades. It’s the inner beauty that really counts for something in any person, female or male. As well as their intellect. When people say that “smart is the new sexy,” they aren’t lying. It definitely is.

    Reply
  153. This is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved reading Mary Balogh’s books. Her heroines are never drop-dead beautiful — they might be conventionally attractive, but it’s their MINDS and personalities that make them such dynamic characters. I can’t recall a single main character of hers who’s supposed to be some kind of ravishing beauty. The fact that her heroines are fairly plain, even nondescript, women who are more or less just everyday people is what makes them so instantly relatable, I think. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out! I think she’s absolutely brilliant.
    And as some people have already stated, outward beauty fades. It’s the inner beauty that really counts for something in any person, female or male. As well as their intellect. When people say that “smart is the new sexy,” they aren’t lying. It definitely is.

    Reply
  154. This is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved reading Mary Balogh’s books. Her heroines are never drop-dead beautiful — they might be conventionally attractive, but it’s their MINDS and personalities that make them such dynamic characters. I can’t recall a single main character of hers who’s supposed to be some kind of ravishing beauty. The fact that her heroines are fairly plain, even nondescript, women who are more or less just everyday people is what makes them so instantly relatable, I think. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out! I think she’s absolutely brilliant.
    And as some people have already stated, outward beauty fades. It’s the inner beauty that really counts for something in any person, female or male. As well as their intellect. When people say that “smart is the new sexy,” they aren’t lying. It definitely is.

    Reply
  155. This is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved reading Mary Balogh’s books. Her heroines are never drop-dead beautiful — they might be conventionally attractive, but it’s their MINDS and personalities that make them such dynamic characters. I can’t recall a single main character of hers who’s supposed to be some kind of ravishing beauty. The fact that her heroines are fairly plain, even nondescript, women who are more or less just everyday people is what makes them so instantly relatable, I think. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out! I think she’s absolutely brilliant.
    And as some people have already stated, outward beauty fades. It’s the inner beauty that really counts for something in any person, female or male. As well as their intellect. When people say that “smart is the new sexy,” they aren’t lying. It definitely is.

    Reply

Leave a Comment