Category romance

5 Great Vintage Romance Heroines and 5 Great Romances

Great Romance Heroines and Their Stories In Depth

My Name is Clary Brown

The heroine, a failed actress, is dumped by her “protector” and must return to her hometown in disgrace. Plus, she’s part Roma, so her mixed heritage has always made her an outsider. Mysterious disappearances and murders start to occur, and there are a couple of people who are suspects. The way Clary stands up for herself is thoroughly in keeping with her time period (the 1700s). A great vintage romance heroine, for sure.

Promise of Summer

Topaze, the heroine, is a poor thief on the streets of 18th century France, trying to support her large family. A calculating anti-hero propositions her to pose as a long-lost heiress so he can retain his family fortune. She’s young, cheerful, and despite what she’s involved in very innocent, with a dark past that comes to the forefront. She’s quite powerless in the grand scheme of things. She carries herself with dignity, showing an inner strength greater than the aristocrats she finds herself mingling among.

Silver Linings

“Low Down” Louise works in a mining community with men. She’s not a beauty but simple, hard-working, and positive. Low Down Louise vows to care for a child when a baby is born to a dying mother. Lousie nursed the miners through a terrible sickness, saving their lives. So the miners feel they owe it to Lou to marry her. They draw straw, and the hero, who is already engaged, is picked. He reluctantly weds her. When he brings her home to his family, they’re aghast at this low-class woman who talks boldly. They find she’s a wonderful human being beneath her undignified airs as they get to know her.

Temporary Wife

I have reviewed Temporary Wife for this site, so please see that for more details. In brief: she’s a practical woman in a marriage of convenience to a man in love with another woman. Her frank, realistic attitude about the bitter truths of life doesn’t prevent her from being positive. She has a joie de vivre that’s infectious. This is a great vintage romance.

Lady’s Choice

Juliana is a more modern, independent character. She’s different from the previous heroines but still a woman of her time. She proposes to her lover, who wants nothing to do with marriage, so she wants nothing to do with him. Later he tries a business takeover, and she meets him head-on. Her family is horrendously greedy. The hero is an overbearing, macho hunk who tries to steamroll her, but Juliana will have none of that! She’s no shrew but secure in who she is and what she wants. She’s probably the only pick who comes under the modern definition of “strong heroine.” However, it is nowhere as annoying as most of them.

5 Great Romance Heroines and 5 Great Vintage Romances List Greatest romance heroines great vintage romance

5 replies »

  1. Thanks, Jacqueline. Nice cover pics.

    But I have questions. Who are these great heroines? Why are they great heroines?

    What makes a heroine great? What separates a bad heroine from a good one, and a good one from a great one?

    And should all heroines be essentially the same? Or is there room for variety? Can two heroines be very different, even in the ways that really count, and still be great, both of them?

    As I’ve already stated in my “Why Romance? Why Vintage?” article, one of my problems with today’s romances is that the heroines all seem to belong to one type. The strong woman—strong in the rom fic sense, not according to my definition. Nowadays the typical romance heroine can control anything and anybody. With the emphasis on her greatest challenge: a man who’s trying to control her. Guess who always wins.

    It’s a kind of heroine I don’t care for. I know, millions of readers do. But I wonder: what if we were offered a variety of heroines? Would alternate heroines go over well?

    Unless and until that happens, we still have access to vintage romances. With more variety in heroines. Some don’t work with me. But I can’t get enough of those that do!

    • Ok, let’s try this reply again.

      Ooh boy, that’s one of the problems posting an Instagram message on this blog. What works for Insta, may not work here. I’ll try to tweak any future Instagram lists with more info, and this one if I can. My intent was to link each image to a book, but couldn’t do that, and only one of those books on the list, Temporary Wife, by Roberta Leigh has been reviewed on SSF.

      These heroines are from different backgrounds and time periods with unique love stories. What makes them “great heroines” to me is their resilience and how they face obstacles with a can-do ​attitude.

      – In My Name is Clary Brown, the heroine who is a failed actress is dumped by her “protector” and must return to her hometown in disgrace. Plus she’s part Roma so her mixed heritage has always made her an outsider. Mysterious disappearances and murders start to occur and there are a couple of people who are suspects. The way Clary stands up for herself is thoroughly in keeping with her time period (1700s).

      -In Promise of Summer, the heroine is a poor thief on the streets of 18th century France, trying to support her large family. A calculating anti-hero propositions her to pose as a long-lost heiress so he can retain his family fortune. She’s young, cheerful, and despite what she’s involved in quite innocent, with a dark past that comes to the forefront. She’s quite powerless in the grand scheme of things, but the way she carries herself shows an inner strength that is greater than the aristocrats’ she finds herself mingling among.

      -Low Down Louise works in a mining community with men. She’s no beauty, but simple, hard-working, and positive. When a baby is born to a dying mother, Low Down Louise vows to care for the child. Because Lousie nursed the miners through a terrible sickness, saving their lives, the miners feel they owe it to Lou to marry her. They draw straw and the hero, who is already engaged is picked. He reluctantly weds her. When he brings her home to his family they’re aghast at this low-class woman who talks boldly. As they get to know her, they find she’s a wonderful human being beneath her undignified airs.

      -Temporary Wife, I have reviewed on this site, but in brief, she’s a practical woman in a marriage of convenience to a man in love with another woman. Her frank, realistic attitude about the bitter truths of life doesn’t prevent her from being positive and she has a joie de vivre that’s infectious. This is a great vintage romance.

      -Lady’s Choice is a more modern, “independent” character, different from the previous heroines, but still a woman of her time. She proposes to her lover who wants nothing to do with marriage, so she wants nothing to do with him. Later he tries a business takeover, and she meets him head-on. Her family is horrendously greedy, and the hero is an overbearing, macho hunk who tries to steamroll her, but Juliana will have none of that! She’s no shrew, but secure in who she is and what she wants. She’s probably the only one of my picks who comes under the modern definition of “strong heroine,” but is nowhere as annoying as most of them.

      The way I formatted this post, I can’t make edits, so hopefully, readers will see in the comment why I chose these women.

    • HI, Mary Anne/Arkansas Annie:

      “But I have questions. Who are these great heroines? Why are they great heroines?

      What makes a heroine great? What separates a bad heroine from a good one, and a good one from a great one?

      And should all heroines be essentially the same? Or is there room for variety? Can two heroines be very different, even in the ways that really count, and still be great, both of them?”

      “But I wonder: what if we were offered a variety of heroines? Would alternate heroines go over well?

      I highlighted your questions because I have some of the same questions when I read this post. I wanted to know what it is is about these books and these heroines that make them special.

      I also wanted to mention this to you, Mary Anne. I love the fact that you ask such incisive, insightful questions in your replies and posts. Hopefully, we can-whether through answers to this post in the comment section or in blog posts, to use a current term, run it back and try to find answers to some of these questions. I for one would be very willing to participate in such a discussion.

      • Dear Blue Falcon, I posted to Mary Anne why I chose these heroines. My bad for not delineating more clearly why these heroines were chosen. I had uploaded this to Instagram, but I see Instagram posts don’t necessarily work as blog posts. I’ll make sure in the future to add more descriptions if I create this sort of content.

        Sometimes things seem like a good idea, but in this case, I should have eschewed the cool looking and made a standard post. I thank you and Mary Anne for pointing out where I could have clarified this better. This is why feedback from you guys (youse guys, y’all, yinz) is so helpful and essential to me! 🙂

  2. Hi, Jacqueline.

    Thank you for expanding the article. I know when I read it, I wanted to know more about both the books and the heroines, and you have provided the information I needed. Thank you again.

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