Why are all female protagonists in Romance novels the same?
Ok, so that’s an overly generalised statement but you have to admit that you begin to notice a lot of shocking similarities when you’ve read enough of them. I’ve mentioned this in a few of my reviews now and began to feel a separate post coming on.
The most frequent stereotypes I find incredibly annoying:
A bored, relatively innocent woman but not necessarily a virgin, needs sexual awakening by a man who, by all written accounts, is much more interesting than her.
A relatively boring woman needs a man’s love to give her a story. Obtaining his love is therefore the defining moment in her life. He defines her.
I find that in these stories the male leads are given so much more depth. For me, a prime example of this (although Hannah will kill me for saying it) is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. I’ll put my hands up now and admit that I haven’t read every single book in this series but thanks to Hannah, I’ve read my fair share. And the reason I keep returning to them has absolutely nothing to do with the female characters. It’s the men. After all they have great histories, an interesting mythology, exciting/dangerous jobs and are extremely good looking. While their female counterparts are just a bit meh in comparison. With the exception of Artemis and Simi, (but I mean come on, over 20 books and there only 2 women of any real interest?!) they usually fit into the basic models I have summarised above.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just her. Some of the most popular books of today are predicated on this brand of basic female characterisation. E .L. James’ 50 Shades series being at the top of its game. This has led me to believe that women are more often than not, used as simple plot devices in which the reader can then encounter the real star of the show, men.
Many Romance novelists claim that this is to allow the reader to become the female character. Some of you might remember when Stephanie Meyer argued that her characterisation of Bella enabled readers to identify with her, “There’s plenty of people who look like the girl next door,” after all. Therefore the ongoing justification seems to be, if “she” remains anonymous we can easily step into her shoes. She becomes the vessel in which we can immerse ourselves within the story.
But I call bullshit!
I didn’t have this problem with The Hunger Games and Katniss kicked so much ass.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these books, my shelves are littered with them. I just wish more time was taken over the characterisation of women. I want more. I want strong, independent women. Emotional wrecks with mysterious pasts. Ambitiously driven women who conquer the boardroom. Badass heroines that save the world. Stay at home mothers who make the best apple pie in seven counties. Real women, with real problems. I don’t want the love they find to define them, but to be just another awesome chapter in the epic story of their lives. And if they just so happen to have great sex along the way then that’s just dandy! More power to you.
So here at Page One we LOVE books. But you know what we also like? Biscuits! Both Ash and I enjoy some degree of baking (we’re hoping to have a book cake-off at a later date- keep an eye out) and of course, who doesn’t like biscuits? When the books and biscuits come together to pay a yummy homage some of the greats, well, then we’re all over it.
Here are some of my favorite book biscuits:
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
These gorgeous biscuits come from Oh, Sugar! Events. Aren’t they lovely? I love how they seem to capture Scarlett’s resting bitch face.
You can find them on Facebook here: Oh Sugar! Events
You can also visit their website here: Oh Sugar! Events
Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
As you should know by now, I’m an Alice fan, so I absolutely love these! They’re dainty and elegant, plus they use the original artwork. How detailed are these?
You can find them on Facebook here: Arty McGoo
You can also visit their website here: Arty McGoo
Dr Seuss – One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
I know, I know, I’m starting to gush – but these are stunning! I think they’re from a book called One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, written in the 1960s and was meant to help improve reading through rhyme.
You can visit their website here: Ellie’s Bites Decorated Cookies
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Yet another classic (or classics) made even better by being beautiful and edible. I love how they’ve used the book covers to make some stunning looking biscuits.
You can find them on Facebook here: Songbird Sweets
You can also visit their website here: Songbird Sweets
Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
Okay, so not really classic literature and loved by some, hated by others – but there’s no denying these biscuits were made by an extremely talented lady. Look at the detail! They’re so neat too and that takes a patience that I could never have.
You can find these here: Lizy B Cookies
Do you have any yummy bakes to share?
So since Ash already shared her best and worst literary couples (read it here) I thought I’d do a little piece on my favourite couples. I’m going to avoid being stereotypical here and stay away from Elizabeth and Darcy, or Cathy and Heathcliff. Just because I have issues with both of those pairings – especially Cathy. What a spoilt, selfish woman…but let’s not go off on a tangent.
For me the way I choose my favourite couples is by having a quick think and seeing which couples I remember in most detail. If I can recall them without much effort, then they obviously made an impact.
Here are my top four:
1. Elena and Clay.
Kelley Armstrong has written my favourite werewolf shifter books. With Bitten, she is just the queen of wolfy goodness. Elena and Clay are on my list not only because of their steamy, sexiness, but also because of their dynamic. Elena leaves the pack, and Clay waits for her. He always believes she’s coming back and he waits while she’s trying to move on with someone else. They have this chemistry and banter in the book as she tries to resist her feelings for him that I just love. You can never deny true love. Even if he did turn you into a wolf and keep you in a cage until you’d calmed down.
2. Aly and Nawat.
Trickster’s Choice is one of my favourite YA fantasy books. I love anything by Tamora Pierce. Aly is courageous and brave, she is captured by pirates, sold as a slave to the Balitangs and ends up making a deal with the Trickster god, Kyprioth, to keep the Balitang children alive until the autumn equinox. She’s seriously badass. To help her spy, Kyprioth sends her a flock of his crows. Nawat is one of these crows, he wants to be with Aly so much he makes his own deal with the Trickster god to become human and help her succeed, even later going to war. If that isn’t a romantic gesture, then I don’t know what is.
3. Suze and Jesse.
This is another YA choice, from The Mediator series written by Meg Cabot. While I loved The Princess Diaries books, The Mediator series was ultimately my favorite. A girl who can see ghosts and a handsome ghost – what’s not to love? Very much like Mia in the PD series, Suze gets herself into all sorts of trouble and scrapes, while trying to live a normal teenage life. Jesse tries to help, but there’s always the fact that he’s dead hanging over them.
4. Malfoy and Harry.
Yes you read that right. Harry and Malfoy. Yes, I know it isn’t an actual literary couple…but have you read Turn? You need to read it and then you’ll see why I love this pairing. I love this wonderful work of art just as much, and you’ll understand Draco’s OCD if you read it. Turn is a piece of fanfiction where the author shows what could have happened if Harry and Draco had taken different paths. It’s steamy, sexy and filled with sexual chemistry – so be warned.
The artwork is from here: Isi-Angelwings Deviantart
The fanfiction is here: Turn by Sara’s Girl
Hi. You’re reading this because you’ve discovered our blog, or you’re signed up to it – both are great. Either that or I’m bombarding you on Facebook. But as our blog grows and is taking off we need to just remind people, and ourselves, what it is we created Page One for.
Page One is for book reviews, bookish things and anything literature related. We are book addicts, that’s our motivation for working on the site and it’s why we love what we do. We operate on an honesty policy. We’ll always give you honest feedback and we aim to be constructive. We want to help authors, not tear them down. The advice and feedback we offer is as avid readers and English MA graduates.
Our rating system is fully explained in two blog posts which can be found in our archives. But let me just recap. Page One uses a star rating system and a range of symbols for a quick breakdown of what we enjoyed. We’re always looking to grow our symbols so if you think of a new one that you think should be on there then let us know.
* This was a hard and/or boring read. We wouldn’t recommend it and most likely would avoid the author in the future.
** The idea is there and there are parts we like, but needs tightening up and some revising before it becomes a good read in our opinion.
*** It was a good read, kept me entertained and/or amused. If we saw the next book or another book by the same author we would probably buy it.
**** Really good read, massively enjoyed and would definitely read again. Sequels come this way!
***** This is a masterpiece. Absolutely amazing! We are now a different people after reading it. Pre-ordered the next one 12 months before release and eagerly counting down the weeks.
If you’re after an easy, gushy 5* review then we probably aren’t suited to you and your book. However, if you’re a writer and you want honest and helpful feedback then feel free to contact us. You can tweet us @pageonebooksAH or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a specific date you want your review by (a release date maybe) you can let us know and between the two of us, we can usually work it in.
We always try to contact our authors with a copy of the review before it goes live. You can see what we’re going to say and decide whether you want it on Goodreads, Amazon or any other platform. However if you don’t agree with or like your review, then we will only post on Page One. Like I said, we want to work with writers because we love what we do.
We hope you stick around, we like knowing we’re not the only book addicts out there and we love meeting new people!