Romance Authors Pick Their Favorite Romance Novel Heroines

Romance Authors Pick Their Favorite Romance Novel Heroines

Here at Bookish, we adore March. Not only does it kick off the spring season, it also is a month dedicated to honoring women around the world. Last year we celebrated International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month with a feminist collage. This year, we asked beloved romance novelists like Jasmine Guillory and Lori Foster to share their favorite romance heroines.

Minerva Lane

“I will never forget how I felt when I read my first Courtney Milan book, The Duchess War. Her heroine, Minnie, is a complex, fully realized character who drew me in from the first page. She’s angry, and smart, and difficult, and scared, and despite her fear, fights for what she believes in—I adored everything about her story. I loved how real her pain felt to me, and how I understood why she did everything she did, even if I was shaking my head at the page as I read. And most of all, I loved how overjoyed I was when she found happiness; I cheered for her like I do when a good friend gets wonderful news. The humanity of this character inspires me every day.” —Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date

Sophie Dalton

“Sophie Dalton from Only With You by Lauren Layne is totally at the top of my favorite heroine list. She’s an adorable hot mess. She’s flaky, always says the wrong thing, and can’t cook to save herself. But for all her (totally relatable) flaws, she’s got a giant heart and simply wants to be accepted for who she is. I love a heroine who knows she deserves love and acceptance. Sophie is a barrel of laughs, and she also knows how to stick up for herself and those she cares about. I would absolutely want to be friends with her.” —Stefanie London, author of Bad Bachelor

Calpurnia Hartwell

“Who doesn’t adore Lady Calpurnia ‘Callie’ Hartwell, Sarah MacLean’s heroine in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake? Callie is no wallflower when she takes control of her own future. With sheer determination, she experiences a life she’s been denied but craves. She’s not going to follow society’s edicts and let life pass her by. Her resolve is one of her most attractive qualities, and the man of her dreams is completely mesmerized by her. What a great lesson Callie teaches us. When you accept yourself and make your own dreams come true, your true beauty shines through.” —Janna MacGregor, author of The Bride Who Got Lucky

Evangeline Jenner

“Romance, to me, is about a heroine finding herself. She makes the journey to embracing her own wholeness so she can fully own the love she lets into her life. The most satisfying journeys are those in which heroines resist the narrative that they can never be whole or powerful, and prove that narrative wrong in spectacular ways. Evangeline Jenner from Lisa KleypasDevil In Winter is diminutive by every definition of her time. Evangeline also is not conventionally beautiful or well born, she stutters, and is often abused at the hands of the family that should be caring for her. And yet when it comes to knowing what she wants, she’s utterly fearless. Married to a man who believes he has lost his soul and any chance at redemption, she sees the last remaining embers of decency in him and gives them a chance to rekindle. She has no qualms about using what little power she finds she has over him. Evangeline is an unabashed good girl, who is completely badass.” —Sonali Dev, author of A Distant Heart

Montana Hendrix

“I know we’re usually all about the romantic hero, but a good heroine is really the backbone of the story. Montana Hendrix from Susan Mallery’s Only Yours has stayed with me because she is a quiet yet powerful heroine, a woman trying to find her own identity in a family where she was part of a set of triplets—and had overachieving siblings to boot! Her story was relatable because you saw and felt her insecurities and her awkwardness. She was just so real that, as a reader, she was the kind of heroine you would want as your best friend. And that, of course, makes you cheer for her HEA even more!” —Samantha Chase, author of One More Promise

Frederica “Free” Marshall

“I adore Free Marshall from Courtney Milan’s The Suffragette Scandal. She’s an unapologetic idealist and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to pursue justice, even when the loudest voices tell her it’s impossible, even when she knows she’s putting herself in danger. What I love is that her HEA doesn’t involve achieving all her goals: She’s still struggling, she’s still fighting, but she’s doing it with someone she loves by her side.” —Cat Sebastian, author of Unmasked by the Marquess

Sugar Beth Carey

“Sugar Beth Carey from Susan Elizabeth PhillipsAin’t She Sweet goes against the grain of the romance heroine archetypes. She’s not a caring earth mother, endearing waif, or spunky girl-next- door. Sugar Beth was a mean girl in high school, far more like Scarlett O’Hara, but she’s hit rock bottom and come crawling back home. Sugar Beth takes her punishment on the chin, as she struggles to redeem herself. She’s not a victim, and she doesn’t make excuses or shirk what needs to be done in order to claim her happy ending. The heart-wrenching revelation of Sugar Beth’s past cements her as one of the great modern heroines.” —Lori Wilde, author of How the Cowboy Was Won

Elizabeth Bennet

In the expansive cast of romance heroines, Elizabeth Bennet stands out as a classic I admire, a model of feminism who skillfully challenged societal norms. She’s opinionated, loyal, smart, and, like me, has faults. What truly stuck with me is her strong devotion to family, especially her father and older sister, Jane, which leads Lizzy to dismiss Mr. Darcy’s first declaration of love because of his role in causing Jane’s sorrow. Lizzy’s proud to a fault, yet her other strengths soften her pride’s rough edges, proving her an equal partner to a man who ultimately proved himself worthy of her.” —Priscilla Oliveras, author of Her Perfect Affair

Jamie Kincaid

“I’ve read so many wonderful books and authors that it should be difficult to choose a favorite heroine, but it’s not. The first book that pops into my mind is the Scottish historical The Bride by Julie Garwood. Jamie Kincaid is everything a lass shouldn’t be, at least in that time period. She’s outspoken, brave, a talented hunter and healer, and she never backs down from what she thinks is right. These are wonderful attributes, but it was her interaction with Alec that made her so special. By being herself she saved him–and in saving him, she also saved herself. Now I think I’m ready for another reread!” —Lori Foster, author of Fast Burn

Samantha Holland

I am totally biased, but my favorite fictional heroine is my very own DC Police Lieutenant Samantha Holland, who oversees the city’s homicide division while balancing marriage to an up-and-coming politician. I love Sam because she tells it like it is and doesn’t care who she might offend. She is single-minded in her pursuit of justice and is a fierce and loyal friend and wife. I’ve had the good fortune of writing many fun characters in my career, but no one is quite like Sam. Fortunately, the readers agree. They love her as much as I do! I hope to write her and Nick for many more years to come.” —Marie Force, author of Fatal Chaos

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