Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Uppity Women Unite!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Uppity Women Unite!

Uppity women...I love 'em. Give me a true article about a woman who stands up for herself and/or her beliefs and I'll eat it up. So, it will come as no surprise to you that one of my favorite book series is the "Uppity Women of..." you name the era. What this series shows is that women have been asserting their intelligence, their rights and their backbone for as far back as written history goes. Cool, huh?

I think so...which is why when I write a historical, I tend to write uppity women heroines. Not stuck-up heroines, but women who stand up for themselves, their loved ones and their beliefs. My motto is, "If there was one woman being this bold and daring during this era, she could have been my heroine."

But some historical readers prefer writers to stick with what they view as a more realistic portrayal of the time. Women who were not necessarily unique, or forward thinking, or confrontational. Certainly this type of heroine is more typical of the time, but she wasn't the only sort of woman who lived during *any* era. And I don't know...I can't make myself write heroines that don't get on somebody's nerves...usually the hero's, but oftentimes the rest of society's too.

What kind of historical heroine rings your chimes? The more traditional belle of the ton, or a woman who was reading "The Rights and Vindication of Women" even as the author was being killed by her government (France btw - if you are interested) for being such a blasphemous thinker?

I'll be honest and say that while I can't seem to write the more traditional heroine, I can really enjoy reading about her. But my favorite historical authors usually write outside the box too...Amanda Quick, Teresa Madeiros, Julie Garwood, Stef Ann Holm and Barbara Dawson Smith - to name a few.

What about you?



Jennifer Y. said...

I enjoy reading about a variety of heroine types. As long as the heroine is well-written and appealing to me, I don't mind what "type" she is. I really love the heroine you describe..."women who stand up for themselves, their loved ones and their beliefs." I enjoy intelligent and witty heroines who can be independent.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Especially in historical romances I like to read about heroines that aren't typical for the time, like a Regency heroine who is more like a tomboy than the perfect lady or a medieval heroine that knows her way around bow and sword. The kind of heroine that fall out of the typical cliche of the time.

They also have to stand up against the hero, especially if he is an alpha.

LuAnn McLane said...

Lucy onw of my favorite types is... and I suppose you could say uppity in a way is a heroine who has some sharp edges but you gotta love her anyway because you understand that she is really vulnerable underneath. Like Sugar Beth in Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel Ain't She Sweet.

Stacy~ said...

I agree with Jennifer - I enjoy reading about all kinds of heroines, as long as they're not stupid and don't allow themselves to be doormats.

I just finished "It Happened One Autumn" by Lisa Kleypas, and her heroine is uppity. She's an American heiress whose family brings her and her sister to London to find titled husbands, and Lillian speaks her mind, is not afraid of anyone, and definitely gets on people's nerves and under the hero's skin. My kinda girl.

I always liked the heroines that were smart (a bluestocking), and adventurous. A lot of Judith McNaught's heroines are like that, and usually branded "An Original" because of their unconventional ways. They were also the women who be-friended the wallflowers and made everyone feel important, and supported important causes. And they respected themselves. That's my type of heroine.

Nicole said...

Oh, another fan of the Uppity series! I love those books.

I love those kinds of women. They aren't always physically strong, but they take what they have and make the most out of it.

snowflake said...

I like heroines who can hold their own against the hero but are still connected to their feminine side, and witty.

When I read historical romances, there is the expectation that the heroine will be a product of her time for a sense of realism but there should also be individual characteristics that make the heroine unique and interesting. The author's job is to make it plausible.

Some of my favourite historical authors are Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught, Teresa Medeiros, Julia Quinn. Much of Julia Quinn's earlier books are quite anachronistic but she made me laugh so much that I just accepted it as her trademark. So it is possible to enjoy different type of heroines as long as the author employs it effectively within the context of the story.

Lucy Monroe said...

Jennifer...I think intelligence is the key...the sense that no matter what era, the heroine is smart enough to reason things out for herself and not automatically accept society's dictates.

Danny...Oooh...I think you hit exactly what it is that makes me want to write a heroine atypical for her time. Because writing about the unusual in any time is what really appeals to me.

LuAnn...I haven't read "Ain't She Sweet" yet. It's in my TBR bookcase though. :) But yes, that kind of heroine really gets to me too...and now you've got me wanting to read the book. Now!

Stacy...I love a heroine who lives compassion in action. She'll get my sympathy every time and it's even better if she's giving an alpha male a run for his money, huh? :)

Nicole...isn't that a fabulous series??? There's just something about a woman who would sue for the sheriffdom during the Renaissance when everybody knew that only male heirs should be sherrifs...right? LOL

Jennybrat...It *is* key for an author to set up *why* her heroine may be atypical for her time. It is also a lot of fun. I was raised by a woman who was an activist to her toenails, but a stay at home mom with no desire for a career. She didn't fit the feminist mold of our time and yet she sure didn't fit the lable "Suzy Homemaker" either. My heroines all have a little of my mom in them because to me...she is a heroine regardles of what time she would have lived in. And explaining that to the hero (and the reader) as my heroines do very interesting things can be a lot of fun for me! :)

Joni said...

Two women that stand out in my mind are of Linda Howard's historical heroines from Angel Creek and Lady of the West. What I like most about the heroine, Victoria, from Lady of the West is that she wasn't that strong of a woman at first until she meets the hero, then she decided it was time to re-invent herself and show more backbone than ever before. Dee, from Angel Creek has been running her farm for years and won't take any guff off any man. She's a survivor and a fighter through and through! Those are the type of women I love reading about although I'm not sure how I would survive running a farm or ranch on my own when even a man cannot do this alone for very long, especially if it covers over 80 acres of land. But spunky women, oh yeh, I enjoy reading all kinds that depict those sorts than I do or will meek and mild "yes" type women!

Lucy Monroe said...

lol Joni...can't imagine you enjoying a non-spunky heroine.