Asian or Pacific Islander Heroes in Retro Romance

Heroes of East Asian or Pacific Islander Heritage

Sweet Savage Flame highlights heroes in old-school or retro romance books who were of East Asian or Pacific Islander descent. In older romances, unfortunately, these heroes weren’t very prevalent.

Most heroes in older romances from the eastern continents and islands were Middle Eastern, some from the subcontinent, and many were from fictional countries.

Because of the variety, we’ll address heroes of those descents in a later compilation.

As usual, we try to separate historical romances from series and regular contemporaries.

Category/ Contemporary Romance

Love Conquers All – Roseanne Williams

  • Hero: Ty Toranaga (Japanese-American)
  • Tropes & Settings: Bodyguard, Animal Smuggling, California
  • Published: Harlequin Temptation #350, 1991
asian heroes in romance
William Dodge, cover art

Sweet Bride of Revenge – Suzanne Carey

  • Hero: Nels Seiji (Scandinavian, American, & Japanese)
  • Tropes & Settings: Revenge, Class Difference, Forbidden Love
  • Published: Silhouette Romance #1300, 1998
asian heroes in romance
cover artist unknown

Two of a Kind – Jill Bloom

  • Hero: “T.C.” (Japanese)
  • Tropes & Settings: Look-alikes, Soul Mates, Workaholics
  • Published: Harlequin Temptation #37, 1983

asian heroes in romance
cover artist unknown

Kiss of the Dragon – Barbara Faith

  • Hero: Tiger Malone (Half Chinese/ Half English)
  • Tropes & Settings: Treasure Hunt, Hong Kong, China
  • Published: Silhouette Intimate Moments #193, 1987
asian heroes in romance
George H. Jones, cover artist

Heart of the Dragon – Deborah Smith

  • Hero: Cash Santelli (half Thai/ half Italian-American)
  • Tropes & Settings: Hero Tragic Past, Investigation & Protection; Thailand
  • Published: Loveswept #503, Bantam, 1991
asian heroes in romance
Ed Tadiello, cover artist

Historical Romance

The Rising Son – Darlene Mindrup

  • Hero: Shoji Ibaragi (Japanese-American)
  • Tropes & Settings: World War II, Internment, Inspirational
  • Published: Heartsong Presents #243, Barbour, 1997
asian heroes in romance
cover artist unknown

Till Morning Comes – Han Suyin

  • Hero: Dr. Jen Yong (Chinese)
  • Tropes & Settings: Communist Revolution, War, China
  • Published: Bantam, 1983
asian heroes in romance
cover artist unknown

Miss Hungerford’s Handsome Hero – Noel Vreeland Carter

  • Hero: Sir Hannibal Cheng (English & Chinese)
  • Tropes & Settings: Love Triangle, Regency England
  • Published: Candlelight Regency Special #656, 1981
asian heroes in romance
cover artist unknown

White Fire – Fern Michaels (as Iris Summers)

  • Hero: Prince Banyan (Mongolian)
  • Tropes & Settings: Kidnapping, Bodice Ripper, Forced Seduction, Russia, Mongolia
  • Published: Ballantine, 1978
asian heroes in old school romance
cover artist unknown

Rangoon – Christine Monson

  • Hero: Richard “Ramiel” Harley (half Burmese/ half English)
  • Tropes & Settings: Revenge, Kidnapping, Bodice Ripper, Burma
  • Published: Avon, 1985
Pino cover art

Mari – Donna Anders

  • Hero: Adam Foster (half-Hawaiian/ half-Anglo-American)
  • Tropes & Settings: Worlds Apart, Class Difference, Hawaii
  • Published: Harlequin Historical, 1991
asian heroes in romance
Max Ginsburg, cover art

Your Opinion

Did I miss any heroes from romances you’ve read?

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

This entry was posted in Discussion, Romance and tagged , , on by .

About Jacqueline Diaz

Old-School, retro, and vintage romance reads are my jam, baby! The good, the bad, the cheesy, and the sleazy! I have no shame about it; I love ’em! An auto-didact, amateur historian, and reader of romance novels since 1990, I hope to offer a unique perspective on the genre. As a blogger, you may know me by several names; here, I’m Jacqueline Diaz. I’m also the aspiring author of two works-in-progress, historical romances, The Savage Noble and What She Says with Her Eyes, which hopefully will be released in 2023.

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