Who are the five best heroes and heroines of romance novels?
The Five Best Heroes And Heroines Of Romance Novels
When tasked with uncovering the best heroes and heroines in romance novels I was a tad stumped. And as honesty is the best policy, I will state upfront that I am not a fan of contemporary romance stories. For me, romance is firmly in the past. So, to fulfil the brief, and not rely solely on my own tastes, likes or dislikes, I decided to do a survey. I began with the heroes. I Google searched as many variations on the criteria as I could. I then did the same for the heroines.
And Here’s The Interesting Thing
Actually there are two interesting things. What I discovered at first is that you can find a number of lists detailing the best romantic heroes, but virtually nary a one for romantic heroines, historical or contemporary. Google doesn’t, apparently, rate females highly when it comes to ranking them in order of romantic heroines. There’s plenty of bad-ass, dangerous, supernatural heroines, but none listed as romantic.
The second interesting thing I discovered is that contemporary heroes have to fight tooth and nail to even get a toehold within the top five. The ones in my list below far outweigh any others. Even The Times Of India put (spoiler alert) Mr Darcy at the top of their list.
The Top 5 Heroes In Romance Novels According To Google
It gladdens my heart, dear reader, to reveal that the following gentlemen are, in order from top to bottom:
- Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. I know that fans of contemporary romantic fiction, who have read any of my blogs before, will cry foul. All I can say is ‘speak to the Google’.
- Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. A step forward in time, and a completely different character to Mr Darcy.
- Edward Fairfax Rochester of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Closer to Rhett Butler in some respects, but far more tortured.
- Heathcliff of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights Personally, I disagree with putting psychopaths as romantic heroes, but others, clearly, disagree.
Coming in neck-and-neck at number five were, apart from Mr Darcy, any hero created by either Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer. So, I decided to give other characters a chance. Even then, there was no clear winner. Fifth place goes jointly to:
- Gabriel Oak in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd, Jamie Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander, John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North And South and Noah Calhoun in Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook.
The Top 5 Heroines In Romance Novels According To My Bookshelf
As I mentioned before, Google was no help here, but in any list of any description regarding best heroines, only one female consistently topped the charts, and without any challengers in sight:
- Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. I am trying, and failing, not to be smug about this as said book is one of my favourite romances of all time. It’s also why I searched Google. ‘Prove me wrong’, I cried. They couldn’t.
- Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was indubitably number two. A choice with which I also agreed.
- Sophia Stanton-Lacy in Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophie. Of all Georgette Heyer’s heroines, Sophia is the most modern.
- Laura Hewitt of Valerie Fitzgerald’s A broken-hearted young woman in a strange land who, despite everything she has to endure, including the Indian Rebellion of 1857, is a true survivor and finds a love worthy of the name.
- Lucy Waring of Madeleine Brent’s Moonraker’s Bride. A young girl who will do anything to save the starving children of a Chinese Mission. Of all the things that were to happen to turn her life around, marrying a man who is about to be executed was just the start.
The Last Word
These were the heroes and heroines that came up as favourites in romance novels. Who are your favourites?
by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series. Elaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.
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