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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jane Eyre --Why do Good Girls crave the Dark Hero?

This is gonna be ugly.
I know the vast, vast majority of romance readers and writers out there prefer Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
 Austen's English bucolic countryside in its summer Sunday best. The country estate... the social whirl... the snobbery... the chickens.
Mr. Darcy-- quiet, reserved,  passion simmering beneath the surface of his cool demeanor. Endearingly confused. In need of backbone to stand up to his sister.
I cannot deny... it makes a beautiful story and an even more beautiful movie.

But... I like soap operas. Melodrama. Dark, gothic, gloomy romance.
So Jane Eyre is right up my alley.
Bronte's harsh winter landscape-- grey, drizzley, drear. Gothic with a capital 'G'. Hardhearted stepmother, bully cousins, heartless headmaster.
Thornfield-- an isolated refuge. No chickens. No sunshine either. A crazy lady in the attic with a caretaker.
Mr.Rochester-- brooding, dark, tortured. Again,  passion simmering beneath the angst, but oh! when he finally confesses his feelings to Jane in the garden and kisses her.... Swoon! But Jane made a choice in the end. She broke off her arrangement with the minister to return to Mr.Rochester. She chose her HEA with the wounded, blind man who stole her heart, brutally broke it, and yet still kept it firmly in his grip. 
Jane could never have been free of Mr.Rochester, no matter how much distance she'd try to put between them.
So... I pose the question to you: Why do some of us crave the Dark Hero?

What was so appealing about Edward that Jacob couldn't overcome to win Bella's heart?
Why do I wish Stephanie Plum chose Ranger over Morelli?

Kristan Higgins-- who writes happy, light, funny romance-- anything but dark-- has a line in her book
Too Good To Be True:  "...you can't pick the one you fall for...." Is there some embedded DNA code that makes us choose the tormented hero? Or Mr.Popular Jock? Or Mr. Politician?

Who would you fall for? Team Edward? or Team Jacob?
Ranger vs. Morelli?   Rochester or Darcy?                     Or your choice....

Here's a link to the trailer for the new movie Jane Eyre. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IFsdfk3mlk&feature=player_embedded   Enjoy!

And Kristin Higgins site http://www.kristanhiggins.com/  My One and Only is set for release this spring. If you like romance with both tears of laughter and heartbreak, get her books today!


  1. Mmmm I would pick Mr. Darcy (on a side note Mr. Darcy doesn't need to stand up to his sister, that is Mr. Bingly). However, I adore Mr. Rochester as well.
    I love the dark brooding heroes. I think I like them in literature because I couldn't choose them in real life. In real life the dark brooding possible criminals are just that... criminals. So it is appealing when reading that there is this one tragically misunderstood man that could love someone so deeply he was willing to change. *swoon*

  2. I love both the light and dark. I tend to always root for the tortured hero though...they seem to always have more depth than the good guys. They just have that edge that gets under your skin, and you don't want to let them go. So, I guess I'm team Edward, Ranger and Rochester.

  3. Liz! You're right! Thanks for the correction.
    I read J.E. every June from 12yrs to 19yrs old. P&P just didn't keep me coming back for more, so I forgot Mr.Bingley.
    I think you've put your finger on something valid there too... the tragically misunderstood who loves so deeply he's willing to change. So many people make commitments thinking they'll change the other, & are devastated when they finally learn they can't change their partner. So that rarest of the rare-- the one who will change-- is the Hero we want.
    The character arc in romance we all want to see.

  4. V.K., I agree... the depth, the edge that the tortured hero has makes us want him. It's as if the pain he's scarred with has taught him to appreciate the goodness of the heroine, even if he doesn't want to allow himself to do so.

  5. I'm really looking forward to the movie. I read Jane Eyre as a young teen, and it really impacted me. I should probably read it again before I see the movie, but I'd better finish writing my fairy tale. Nice to meet someone else who appreciates them!

    P.S. I'm honored to be included in your blogroll!

  6. I have always fallen for the tortured souls, but I am OVER IT. This time I'm going for light and breezy. However, I still want to see the movie "Jane Eyre." I read the book back in high school, so I should probably read it again first. It's already on my Kindle!

  7. Debbie and Pam,
    I hope you reread J.E.-- then you'll need Kristan Higgans' to pull you out of the heavy stuff.

    Light&Breezy, yes I agree. Life's too short not to have fun!

  8. I always found Mr. Darcy to be a bit too nice for my taste. I think I would have to choose the darker Rochester.

    Great post!


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