Our last guest post before the holidays is from Becky at One Literature Nut! A few weeks ago Becky casually made an observation about romance novel covers that I thought was pretty brilliant, and I
A couple of months ago, my good friend Tasha at Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books posted a great review of the romance novel Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis. Having just come off a couple of quick contemporary romances myself, I thought it was interesting that the hero in the novel was a wounded soul. Here’s why that was interesting—the cover seemed to predict where we were headed. If our heroes could speak, here’s what I anticipate they might reveal to us:
Fully-Clothed Hero, Up Close:
"Hi. I’m a wounded soul. I’ve probably been through a terrible accident, been ditched by a woman, been a witness of a crime, or been emotionally shut down for years. Basically, someone close to me lets the girl know, and it melts her grown-girl, independent heart and allows her to wiggle into my world (take that as you will). I’m the quintessential softie that knows how to be a man’s man, but prefers to be a romantic bard at heart."
Partially-Clothed Hero, Up Close:
"I’m a bit trickier. Showing some man-flesh might just be showing my rugged, manly side to the world, but that’s not all to me. I still have a secret that keeps me aloof and yet strangely appealing to women. Even though I might act like a jerk, I’m probably profanely dedicated to my woman (to the point of murder), and once I reveal that gut-jerking wound, the bond with my woman is eternal. Don’t mess with me!"
Fully-Clothed Hero with Fully or Partially-Clothed Heroine:
"Listen, girl. I’m not the type to 'need' to chase you. I can seem intimidating in my power suit or native dress, to the point of being unapproachable, but women throw themselves at me every day. I probably 'get around' quite a bit—just enough to make YOU think I’m the ultimate bad boy that you need to tame. I like to think that you don’t get me, and I’ll hold out to the very last second to let you know what I think. In fact, you better have some serious take charge brutishness of your own or powerful boardroom woman-power to catch my attention. No worries. Once I get that we both wear the 'pants' (so to say), I’ll be your bad boy that is secretly your good guy that you managed to tame."
Partially-Clothed Hero with Fully or Partially-Clothed Heroine:
"Nowadays, I don’t like to jerk a girl to my chest just to watch her heaving bosoms rage or flowing hair escape into the moonlight. Nope. Now I like to grab a girl to me to look her in the eyes to show her she has underestimated or misunderstood me on so many levels. Yes, I might look ruthless in my bare chest and jeans or ripped open shirt and kilt, but I’m a man-beast with some serious rage over some past wrong. Oh, and don’t call me a man-whore, because it’s probably pretty likely that I’m nowhere near that title—people just think I am. Unlock my wound, show me some nurturing, and my eyes (ahem, I mean hot bod) will be yours forever."
Of course we have some funny exceptions to these general, four heroes, but when you really take a look at the romance novels you’ve read recently, you might see some of these traits playing out. Gone is Fabio with his long hair, open shirt, and half-dressed vixen. Today we’re seeing more modern themes, paranormal characters, and strong female leads to match their men. It is kind of interesting though to see covers start to reveal even more about those leading men!
Which male lead is your favorite, and have you seen any covers to match their description?
Thank you so much, Becky! I love the phrase, 'unlock my wound,' someone should definitely put that on a cover! :)
You can find out more about Becky on her Twitter page as well as her blog.