No, I’m not referring to hot flashes. I’m talking about the moment when a heroine realizes she has room to grow. Perhaps she’s misjudged the hero, or learned that she can handle a gun or a roomful of snobs. There comes in every story, a moment when the heroine comes to a life-changing peak in her journey. We read for it. We wait for it. We live for it. Why? Because we can identify. Even if we haven’t gone through the trauma or joy of these moments, we know we might someday.
I think Elizabeth Bennet said it best when she observed, “Until this moment, I never knew myself.” If that doesn’t put a knot in your throat, you’ve never screwed up a relationship. Falling in love with a heroine is a journey. We love to read about women we either want to be, or would like to be friends with. Even those we don’t care for initially, we want and almost need, for them to change.
A great heroine doesn’t have to be beautiful or have special powers. All we need is for her to conquer, and if that means conquering herself, then all the better. For some of us, empowerment is finding the man of our dreams. For others, it’s grabbing one by the collar and giving him a good shake until he can see straight. No matter how fanciful, I believe the (romance) books we seek out reflect our life experiences or desires. By living through a heroine we can relate to, we may just find the courage to become more than we ever knew we could.
In my romantic adventure novel, By Heart and Compass, Lacey is just plain average. She isn’t super talented or hot, and she doesn’t carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. Lacey lets her high school years haunt her, and she struggles with accepting what she wants out of life, because it doesn’t follow the norm. Believe it or not, those were questions I needed to answer.
Reading about a heroine is one thing. Writing, or creating a heroine is quite another. You can’t get mad and throw the book down. I had to journey along with Lacey as she came to a critical point in her life and her feelings for a stranger. I ached with her as she held on to what she believed could come true. Her courage and success were something we shared together. I was given hope. I was made braver. Heroines give us that. Isn’t it a part of why we love to read?
Both writing and reading By Heart and Compass gave me something to smile about, but it many ways it meant much more. I took another baby step forward in conquering myself. I couldn’t have done that without a heroine leading the way.
So here’s to your favorite heroine. And here’s to you, simply for having the courage to understand that we all have room and the capacity to change.
Find out more about By Heart and Compass!
When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again. But will finding it cost her heart?
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