Historical Romance 101: What Makes a Great Heroine and Favorites

Historical Romance 101Welcome to another segment of Historical Romance 101!! Come and join along with myself, Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tales, Amanda @ On A Book Bender, and Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook. This is a special one, and I find one of my favorite things to talk about…our lovely heroines. Now we all know that it is more difficult to find a winning heroine than a hero. But it is such a special treat to find a heroine you can connect with. 

So what makes a great heroine? Well I feel there can be a variety of reasons. Now we are discussing Historical Romance, so I feel we have to take the time periods into account. In reality our heroines have a much more difficult time of being true to who they are then the heroes. Men have always in the past, had more freedom to do what they want with their own lives. However with women it’s a whole different standard. What I look for most is seeing a heroine that stands against what is expected of her. I love one that stands for what she believes (whatever that may be ), one who stands firm and strong, and holds nothing back. Some of my favorite aspects is intelligence and fiery spirit. I love those spirited heroines, that are smart and sassy and know what they want. But I also admire the quite more reserves ones, that have that inner strength that you can relate with.

1. Georgina Anderson from Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey

Gentle Rogue

Georgina is one of those heroines that stays with you. In fact she is one of my favorites of all time. Which is why she is listed as number one **grins**. We have a woman who knows her own worth and doesn’t shy away from who she is or what she wants. She isn’t shy or reserved in any way. She is feisty and tends to have those outbursts that make her character vibrant and true. She is determined to get what she wants. A fighter.

2. Judith Hampton from The Secret by Julie Garwood

The Secret

Judith is a wonderful heroine that wins your heart. She is strong and feisty, doesn’t back down from who she is, she is one I have admired because of the way she handles life. What I also loved about her was her independent streak, and wanting to stand up for not just herself, but for the other women in the clan, even though she is an outsider, she just accepts everyone and I adored her character.

3. Gillian of Warewick from This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland

This Is All I Ask

Gillian is a heroine that suffers from a past of severe abuse from her father. Then she is married to one of the most feared men in England. We see quite a bit of growth in her character. We see Gillian as a woman scared of her own shadow practically, to a woman that will fight for her family despite her fears. The reason I love her so much, is seeing that inner strength and fortitude to create a new life for herself…one that is full of love and compassion instead of fear.

4. Lillian Bowman from It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

It Happened One Autumn

Lillian is one feisty character, but how do I love her. She isn’t afraid of anything, and if she had her way she could probably run her father’s company (if he would let her near it). She tends to be willful and passionate, witty and full of life. She stands on her own, and isn’t ashamed of who she is. She fights and defends those she loves and once she makes a friend….she stays true and loyal to them no matter what.

5. Christabel the Marchioness of Haversham, from One Night With The Prince by Sabrina Jeffries

One Night With The Prince

Now I have read all the books written by this author, and out of all the heroines written by her, Christabel is by far my favorites. She is a bit different from your typical regency heroine. She is feisty….and I mean FEISTY!! She almost shoots our hero in the story. She has a gun and she knows how to use it. She is daring and willing to try anything once. She has gumption, sass, loyal and brave. I love her spirit and the way she handles any situation.

6. Annabelle, Swift, from Seducing Mister Knightly by Maya Rodale

Seducing Mister Knightly

Annabelle, is quite talented, and has that daring spirit you can’t help but admire. She goes after her man, to win him over and fight for him. I love that quality. Not willing to wait for the man to come to her, she makes sure he notices her, and isn’t reserved about it. No way…she is bold and daring at times, Even though there are times that she could get discouraged or beat herself down, she doesn’t let anything stand in her way. She has faith in the man she loves.

7. Eveline Armstrong from Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks

Never Seduce A Scot

Eveline is such a strong character…and what a heroine. She is deaf, and even though most people think she is mad, she isn’t, she reads lips so she can see what people say, she is smart and cunning, she hides parts of herself so she doesn’t have to marry a man that would be cruel to her. And when the going gets rough she gets tough. She has that sweet spirit, accepts what life has given her, and doesn’t ever give up. Even though her spirit gets battered, she keeps going. Love her strong will and tenacity.

8. Caroline Cabon from After Midnight by Teresa Medieros

After Midnight

Caroline is smart and says whats on her mind. She isn’t afraid to stand up on her own, and is quite practical in many ways. She sees things in a very logical way, and doesn’t believe in superstitions and rumors. She is quite protective toward her sisters, and would do anything for them, no matter the cost to herself. She is very easy to love, and I admire her character and strength.

9. Daphne Bridgerton from Duke and I by Julia Quinn

The Duke And I  Extended

Daphne is quite a memorable heroine, and even though its been a few years since I read this one (I am due for a re read and SOON!!) I still love her character. Daphne is a woman that loves with all of her heart and then some. She has a kind and sweet nature, but there is a tigress underneath all that sugar. She fights with every breath for her man and his struggles, and will bring him to the light no matter how long it takes. She is steadfast and true, holds nothing back, and genuine in every aspect of her character.

10. Isabelle from Jake by Leigh Greenwood

Jake 1

Isabelle is unlike any other western heroine you will ever find. She has a past and struggles with intimacy with men, due to bad past experiences. But despite her past she is strong-willed and a fighter. She will do anything for her orphans. She is courageous, a spitfire, and intelligent. She is endearing and easy to connect with.

11.  Jessye Kane from Never Love A Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

Never Love A Cowboy 2

Jessye may be a woman, but she wants to do everything a man gets to do, and she is willing to go to great lengths to achieve her goals. She won’t let her father or a certain man (our hero of the story) stand in her way. She is bold and daring, tenacious and sassy. She is a fighter to have what the men have…freedom. There are flaws in her character, but they are flaws that make her real and human, you relate with her easily, and she is a fighter which I admire especially in a heroine. I think what drew me to her, and makes her so memorable for me, is her stubborn nature (which is so me), and I feel a kinship towards her.

12. Liliana Claremont from Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow

9780451236104_SweetEnemy_CV.indd

Liliana is such an admirable heroine. And boy is she one smart tough cookie. She is determined to make a difference in the world and to save lives. She is a healer and scientist and is proud of her work. She will accept nothing less than a love match, and is willing to wait for it, no matter how long it takes.

13. Morag Cameron from To Kiss A Kilted Warrior by Rowan Keats

To Kiss A Kilted Warrior

Morag is charming in every way, and I couldn’t get enough of her. She is tough on the outside and inside, she never lets anyone get her down. She falls and she gets right back up and gets to work. I adored her strength and stubbornness, and her passion for life

14. Clio Whitmore from Say Yes To The Marquess

Say Yes To The Marquess

Clio is very original, and has her own uniqueness, that I found to be charming, she is witty and so smart, and wants to establish her own brewery….what a character right? She is strong and wanting to make her own fate.

15. Talia from The Bride Bed by Linda Needham
The Bride's Bed

I loved her strength and determination to be independent and stand for those she loves. Not wilting flower this one…definitely full of courage and I enjoyed seeing her true self shine through in this story.

16.  Bronwyn Murdoch from the Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins

The Prince Who Loved Me

Bronwyn is a heroine to admire, she stands up for herself, and true to herself, and didn’t shy away from her identity. She knew who she was and wasn’t afraid of those qualities that made her strong and determined. She isn’t the most beautiful woman, in fact she is plain and ordinary and she is fine with that. She doesn’t make herself to be someone she isn’t.

17. Grier Hadley from Wicked In Your Arms by Sophie Jordan

Wicked In Your Arms

Grier, just had my heart from the beginning, I felt it so easy to relate with her on a personal level. Grier has grown up riding astride horses, learning to fish and shoot, (nothing a proper woman should ever even think about), she likes to talk about real events instead of the weather or what needlepoint she is working on. I found her to be like a breath of fresh air. I also liked how resilient she is, pretty much everyone talks horribly behind her back, but she takes it all in stride, and puts a smile on her face even though inside she is hurting. I liked how brave she was and stood up to the hero constantly.

18. Felicia Campbell from Beloved Impostor by Patricia Potter

Beloved Imposter

Felicia is charming and creative, she is beyond endearing and she is a very strong-willed heroine, she also is fun and easy to relate with. You, the reader, you feel as if you could be best friends with Felicia.

19. Lottie Howard from Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Worth Any Price

Lottie was an admirable heroine. She is strong and accepting of the hero (who has quite the past). She gives every part of herself and doesn’t hide anything and I loved how honest and good she is.

20. Madeleine van Rowen from If You Deceive by Kresley Cole

If You Deceive

Maddy is just awesome!! i couldn’t get enough of her character. And boy she holds nothing back. She is smart and brave, and quite tough at times. she has this quick wit that draws you in.  I loved seeing her resilience, and her strong spirit.

10 thoughts on “Historical Romance 101: What Makes a Great Heroine and Favorites

  1. Heroines are many times my sticking point for a story being a good read for me. I loved Morag too. Sadly, I haven’t read these others yet, but I have four of them on my shelf so hopefully I can do something about that problem. Love how you put together your list and explanations so I can get to know your favs.

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    • Thank you Sophia. I feel like it can be difficult finding a great heroine. Because there has to be that balance. I think you would really enjoy the others. They are really great romances. Doing this has made me want to re read all of them. Despite my growing list of books I need to read.

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  2. Oh my gosh, I love so many of there heroines. Actually, any of the books I’ve read on your list, I’ve loved the heroines. I love Lillian, and JUDITH! You know how much I love The Secret. And Daphne! I actually named one of my dogs Daphne (for Daphne Bridgerton and Daphne Du Maurier). Oh and Lottie! That’s one of my favorite Kleypas novels. I haven’t read that one in years.

    Clio is great! Tessa Dare always creates these amazing heroines. And Annabelle is adorable! I need to read more Maya Rodale.

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  3. Lillian Bowman, Daphne Bridgerton and Clio Whitmore are all favourite heroines on mine too.

    I loved Portia Cabot in ‘The Vampire Who loved Me’ more than Caroline Cabot in ‘After Midnight’. She’s a beautiful, spirited and courageous heroine who never gives up on the hero even when the rest of the family doubts him.

    I love Sophy Noirot, the heroine of Loretta Chase’s ‘Scandal Wears Satin’. She’s a dressmaker, clever, vivacious, independent and determined. When it comes to saving the Maison Noirot from disaster, she has an amazing arsenal of talents – considerable guile, irresistible charm, remarkable literary talents and brilliant disguises.

    Evangeline Jenner (Evie) in Lisa Kleypas’s ‘Devil in Winter’ is another favourite heroine. She is so sweet and adorable and, despite her stammer, I like how she constantly challenges St. Vincent in her quiet determined way and refuses to back down. Any heroine who can bring St. Vincent to his knees has to be special.

    I love Silence Hollingbrook in Elizabeth Hoyt’s ‘Scandalous Desires’. She shows courage and strength of character in her defiance of feared river pirate, Charming Mickey.

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  4. I think my all time favourite heroine from a historical is Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels. Any heroine who can wing a hero when he’s being such a jerk gets major kudos from me. She handles Dain just perfectly.

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