Prince Charming

I read a lot of romance novels. I think we’ve established that already, right? Right.

Anyway, I’ve decided that one of the things I find the most irksome in a romance novel is when the hero is too perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate a perfect heroine too. But usually the author will try to give the heroine SOMETHING to overcome. She is, after all, the main thrust of most romance novels. There are still a lot of heroines who are too perfect for my taste, but they usually have received a few bumps and bruises along the way. That is theoretically what makes them interesting enough to carry a book.

But the hero can easily become a cookie cutter character. Many authors seem to focus on the fact that most romance novels are written primarily for women, and try to give the readers what they think they want – Prince Charming.

The result is a hero who is handsome, built, smart (goes without saying), rich, powerful, and sexually accomplished. He’s also brave, loyal and true, kind to old women and dogs, falls madly loves the heroine, isn’t afraid to tell her. As opposed to most men who would rather have a root canal than talk about their feelings.

And here’s the problem. If the man is THAT perfect, there’s no tension between the characters unless the heroine continually finds reasons to push him away.  And that’s not realistic. Because either the heroine would be all over him because, hello! Perfect! Or Prince Charming would get tired of being pushed away and actually, well, leave. Oh, except he’s loyal. Forgot about that.

And besides, I’d like to know how a well-adjusted, handsome and studly male like the one I just described made it to his adulthood without being snapped up by some enterprising female? And where can I find one?  It only makes me bitter that he keeps chasing a woman who doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him, despite his studliness and other exceptional qualities.

I love the romances that show me the hero’s pain, that show me his bumps and bruises. If Prince Charming falls off the horse a time or two, it won’t make him less of a Prince, but to my mind it does make him more Charming. That’s because he’s more human. He’s just like the rest of us – less perfect. More real.

Well, as real as the hero of a novel ever is.

What about you? What really bothers you about characters in a novel?

And, okay, I’m asking that question to promote dialog, as instructed in most blogging books.  But I’m also asking because I’m trying to write this stuff.  Seems like it would be good to know.  LOL



  1. I agree SO much! I also hate when the man falls COMPLETELY in love with the heroine just because her hair is curly and red. And , of course, this is always a hero that was a complete TRAMP before he saw this one girl in the streaming sunlight. Ugh. Oh – and another thing? When they never, ever, ever communicate and the whole plot is based on assumptions. If you’ve been living with someone 6 months, you actually would have a clue that they aren’t horrendous monsters, wouldn’t you?

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Ann: Yeah, I agree! Sometimes I read a book and think “Really? Why in the heck did those people have more than a quick interlude? They don’t even know each other!” LOL

  2. My biggest pet peeve in a romance novel is lying for the protection of the other. I know it probably helps the book along, but it really steams me when people lie or withhold something to protect the other person.

    Oh and what both you and Ann said 🙂

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Doris Jennings: That’s another good one, Doris. I agree with you. And I also hate it when the whole problem could be solved if they would just TALK to each other. “You know, when you called me that name it really hurt my feelings.” “Really? I’m so sorry.” kiss, kiss. End of story. LOL

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