Thanks to the crew of readers who forwarded me this link: the Guardian posted an article by Toni Jordan, who related her Top Ten Flawed Romantic Heroines.
For Jordan, “flawed” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and some of her examples make me want to read the book, like The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie. Bitchery favorite Ayla from the Jean M. Auel series makes an appearance, as do Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and Miss Haversham from Great Expectations.
There’s so many different ways to define “flawed,” from “Oh, honey,” to “I want to kill you because you’re an idiot,” to the heroine who makes genuine mistakes and learns from them, even through awkward scenes that are viscerally embarrassing for her and for the reader.
Among my favorites of the heroines who are far from perfect but aren’t a complete mess, either? Merlin from Midsummer Moon, who is stubborn and a genius, but often a complete ditz, is among my favorites, but with Merlin, I admire the fact that she’s light years smarter than me, but also clueless in other regards. I’m also a sucker for the “terribly stubborn” heroine who has to learn to bend, particularly when she’s set against an equally stubborn hero who also has to bend. But too much stubbornness for its own sake can easily become grating. It’s all part, I think, of the high standards to which readers hold their heroines. She can’t be too perfect, but she can’t be too stupid, either. “Flawed but still awesome” is a very, very difficult balance to strike.
What flawed heroines do you adore? And what types of flaws do you enjoy or loathe?