Special Heroines


For whatever reason, it seems more difficult to find a heroine who satisfies us than a hero who satisfies us. All the more reason for this list, then. The heroines from this list are special for many reasons. They have saved their heroes. They are honorable and exhibit grace under pressure. These heroines don’t whine or dwell on their pasts. Some seem flesh-and-blood and others are all-round capable, willing to go for what they want even if it’s against the dictates of society.

(List begun 09/96, updated 09/07)

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  • Velvet Bond (8/1995) by Catherine Archer – HH-282
    Lady Elizabeth never lost her dignity in teaching her husband how to trust.
  • Velvet Song (1983) by Jude Deveraux –
    Alyx Blackett had an amazing musical talent and managed to saved her hero.
  • The Warlord (1995) by Elizabeth Elliott –
    Lady Tess chose the lesser of two evils, marrying “The Butcher of Wales.”
  • The Prize (1991) by Julie Garwood –
    Lady Nicholaa was an expert with a slingshot and saved a king.
  • Lord of the Wolves (1993) by Heather Graham –
    Melissande fought for her people’s safety and risked her own life.
  • Sweet Savage Eden (1989) by Heather Graham –
    Lady Jasmine made sacrifices for those she loved.
  • Viking’s Woman (1990) by Heather Graham –
    Rhiannon didn’t hesitate to wear chain mail to defend her father’s castle.
  • This is All I Ask (1997) by Lynn Kurland –
    Gillian used love and reassurance to help Christopher see beyond his disability.
  • Highland Heather (2/1991) by Ruth Langan – HH-65
    Brenna MacAlpin was laird of her clan and came to her hero on her own terms.
  • Heart’s Aflame (1987) by Johanna Lindsey –
    Kristen Haardrad endured much.
  • His Lady’s Ransom (7/1995) by Merline Lovelace – HH-275
    Lady Madeline lived with a strong sense of honor and didn’t take the easy way out.
  • The Wolf and the Dove (1974) by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss –
    Aislinn of Darkenwald is a strong woman who exhibits grace under pressure, lobbying her new lord for compassion and justice when her home is seized by the Normans after the Battle of Hastings.
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  • Dancing with Clara (1994) by Mary Balogh –
    Clara Danford accepts a proposal of marriage from Frederick Sullivan knowing quite well that her fortune is the attraction. She’s an admirably clear-sighted woman who makes her choice, sticks with it, and fully earns her happy ending.
  • Her Other Thief (2004) by Glenda Garland –
    Lucy Bowes was intelligent and witty, had nerves of steel, and was generally a step ahead of her hero (and he was pretty intelligent too).
  • Arabella (1940) by Georgette Heyer –
    Arabella Tallant
  • Frederica (1965) by Georgette Heyer –
    Frederica Merriville
  • The Rake & The Reformer (1989) by Mary Jo Putney –
    Alys Weston had true strength of character.
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  • My Darling Caroline (1998) by Adele Ashworth –
    Caroline Grayson was a genius botanist and secretly planned to escape to study in America.
  • Silent Melody (1997) by Mary Balogh –
    Lady Emily Marlowe, blind and steadfast, never wavered in her love for her hero.
  • Bride (1995) by Stella Cameron –
    Lady Justine went out and got what she wanted, although doing so went against Society’s dictates.
  • The Iron Rose (2003) by Marsha Canham –
    Juliet Dante, daughter of of legendary privateers, rescues a British ship from a Spanish Galleon (1610s High Seas)
  • Midnight Honor (2001) by Marsha Canham –
    Lady Anne is as skillful as a general in the tactics of war
  • Lord of Scoundrels (1995) by Loretta Chase –
    Jessica Trent knew what she wanted and went after it.
  • The Scottish Bride (2001) by Catherine Coulter –
    Mary Rose Fordyce survived a harsh upbringing and didn’t turn bitter.
  • Scoundrel (1996) by Elizabeth Elliott –
    Lady Lily wasn’t what she appeared to be, and she taught her hero what love can be.
  • The Spare (2004) by Carolyn Jewel –
    Miss Olivia Willow is gentry but poor and has been dealt many injustices in life, but is never self-pitying and always carries herself with grace and dignity.
  • The Anglophile (1957) by Elizabeth Linington –
    Anne Deering was a sympathetic, realistic character who overcame the prejudices of her class.
  • Flowers from the Storm (1992) by Laura Kinsale –
    Maddy Timms was brave, resolute, and stuck to the convictions of her faith.
  • The Shadow and the Star (1991) by Laura Kinsale –
    Leda Etoile had a backbone of steel and an unswerving moral compass.
  • Then Came You (1993) by Lisa Kleypas –
    Lady Lily loved her child beyond anything in life.
  • Windflower (1984) by Laura London (Sharon and Tom Curtis) –
    Merry Wilding would bend, but wouldn’t break.
  • Claire (1956) by Dorothea Malm –
    Claire Fleury, analytical and complex in her feelings, was a prostitute who married for revenge.
  • Almost Heaven (1990) by Judith McNaught –
    Lady Elizabeth Cameron possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage as well as beauty.
  • Once and Always (1987) by Judith McNaught –
    Victoria Seaton brought an emotionally wounded man the love he had always been denied.
  • Silk and Shadows (1991) by Mary Jo Putney –
    Lady Sarah St. James was a sympathetic character who overcomes the prejudices of her class.
  • Deception (1993) by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) –
    Olympia Wingfield rescued her hero, who spent his life rescuing others.
  • Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (2002) by Julia Quinn –
    Overlooked Penelope Featherington was bright, funny, talented, and beautiful.
  • The Devil Earl (5/1996) by Deborah Simmons – HH-317
    Prudence Lancaster wrote books and also managed to save herself.
  • The Vicar’s Daughter (2/1995) by Deborah Simmons – HH-258
    Charlotte Townridge brings life to the ordered, scheduled life of her hero.
  • Bed of Roses (1995) by Suzanne Simmons –
    Lady Alyssa considered the fripperies of society unimportant.
  • The Bronze Horseman (2001) by Paullina Simons –
    Tatiana Metanova was selfless and amazingly strong.
  • A Rose at Midnight (1993) by Anne Stuart –
    Ghislaine de Lorgny did what she had to in order to survive.
  • Passion (2005) by Lisa Valdez
    Passion Dare finally found love but made the decision to let him go.
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  • Thief of My Heart (1991) by Rexanne Becnel –
    Lacie Montgomery did what she had to in order to save what was important.
  • The Wedding Raffle (1996) by Geralyn Dawson –
    Honor Duvall did what she had to to protect her family.
  • Irresistible (1994) by Catherine Hart –
    Jade Donovan was a pioneer and accepted what her hero offered.
  • The Woman Question (1957) by Dorothea Malm –
    Mary Whitby was an early feminist and participated in the New York City Convention of 1853.
  • Rainbow (1991) by Patricia Potter –
    Meredith Seaton has a privileged but lonely childhood and an unloving father, but makes her own path. A talented painter, she creates a persona of “silly Miss Seaton who paints badly” to conceal her involvement in the Underground Railroad. She has honesty and the courage of her convictions.
  • Denim & Lace (1996) by Patricia Rice –
    Samantha Neely was born to lead and was able to teach her hero about trust.
  • Years (1996) by LaVyrle Spencer –
    Linnea was adventurous, intelligent and unafraid to go after what she wanted.
  • Two Texas Hearts (1997) by Jodi Thomas –
    Kora Adams’s strength held her family together while breaking through her hero’s insecurity.
  • Heaven In His Arms (1995) by Lisa Ann Verge –
    Genevieve Lalande did what she had to in order to survive. (1670s Canada)
  • Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) by Jean Webster
    Jerusha “Judy” Abbott grew up in an orphanage, but it didn’t destroy her will to survive or her sense of humor.
  • Dear Enemy (1915) by Jean Webster
    Sallie McBride found her vocation and passion as director of an orphan asylum.
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  • My Baby, Your Child (4/1994) by Nikki Benjamin – SSE-880
    Tess McGuire was an anonymous organ donor for her biological son.
  • Trading Secrets (1985) by Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz) –
    Sabrina Chase was able to stand up for herself against her alpha hero; she was a successful businesswoman, intelligent enough to come up with a plan of action to save her hero’s teenage son from being kidnapped.
  • Woman of Honour (3/1987) by Emma Darcy – HP-960
    Molly Fitzgerald lived up to the book’s title.
  • Broken Blossom (8/1990) by Jennifer Greene – SIM-345
    Kelsey Whitfield fought her way back from addiction hell.
  • His Wedding Ring (1/1996) by Kate Hathaway – SIM-690
    Angel Martino, after a rebellious past, went on to make a worthwhile life for herself.
  • All Night Long (1999) by Michelle Jerott –
    Annie Beckett overcame a horrible childhood and substance abuse to follow her dreams.
  • Some Men’s Dreams (8/2003) by Kathleen Korbel – SIM-1237
    Genevieve Kendall always strove to do her best in overwhelming circumstances.
  • Infatuation (6/1984) by Charlotte Lamb – HP-700
    Judith Murry was a heroine with a strong ethical code.
  • Retribution (7/1981) by Charlotte Lamb – HP-442
    Laura Sloane had a spine and repeatedly called the hero’s bluff.
  • Too Hot To Handle (12/1996) by Elizabeth Lowell – SD-319
    Tory Wells survived tremendous odds and brought love to a difficult man.
  • Mouth to Mouth (2005) by Erin McCarthy –
    Though deaf, Laurel Wilkins never considers it a defect – it’s simply a part of who she is. She’s sweet and kind and extremely likable.
  • Dream a Little Dream (1998) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips –
    Rachel Stone went through hell for her child, and was willing to sacrifice more.
  • Heaven, Texas (1995) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips –
    Gracie Snow saved Bobby Tom Denton from himself and gave him a purpose.
  • The Salvatore Marriage (12/2003) by Michelle Reid – HP-2362
    Shannon Galbraith is sarcastic and verbally on her toes.
  • One Summer (1993) by Karen Robards –
    Rachel Grant believed in the hero’s innocence when no one else did.
  • Public Secrets (1990) by Nora Roberts –
    Emma McAvoy broke through a troubled past and an abusive marriage to find and accept true love.
  • Heart vs. Humbug (12/1995) by M.J. Rodgers – HI-350
    Octavia Osbourne was clever and devious and kept fighting for what was just.
  • Annie and The Outlaw (10/1994) by Sharon Sala – SIM-597
    Annie O’Brien accepted her hero for who he was.
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  • A Knight in Shining Armor (1989) by Jude Deveraux –
    Dougless Montgomery went back in time to save her hero.
  • Wolf in Waiting (10/1995) by Rebecca Flanders – SS-58
    Victoria St. Claire was smart, sophisticated, and unfailingly dignified in the face of injustice and discrimination.
  • Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon –
    Claire refused to accept her hero’s death sentence and did what she needed to do to save him.
  • The Star King (2000) by Susan Grant –
    Jas Hamilton was willing to go after what she wanted and was rewarded very well for it.
  • Son of the Morning (1997) by Linda Howard –
    Grace St. John overcame her sorrow and fears to avenge the death of her family.
  • The In Death series (1995-) by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) –
    Eve Dallas is smart, tough and has an in-your-face attitude.
  • Bride of the Mist (1996) by Christina Skye –
    Kara Fitzgerald and her hero saved each other, both from death and from themselves.
  • Tinker (2003) by Wen Spencer –
    Tinker was an intelligent, strong, brave, and compassionate beyond her years.

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