As so many of us have blogged about our reading preferences lately, I began thinking about my own romance likes and dislikes. As I’ve gotten older or simply have read more, I’ve noticed differences in my reading preferences and have often wondered why those tastes change. Way back in the day, I loved the pregnant heroine, but now, not so much. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve passed that period in my life – a been there, done that attitude – or maybe it’s simply that there aren’t as many pregnant heroines in Romancelandia these days.
When I began reading in my early teens, I could only get my sneaky little hands on my mom’s books and, sadly, those were the old bodice rippers of the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s. The ones I remember the most were mainly the Woodiwiss and Lindsey books where the heroines were usually pregnant or at least ended up that way for a good portion of the book. They weren’t the only ones, of course, but those are the ones that standout in my memory because of the pregnancies, or maybe even because of the violence. I’m not terribly scarred – I promise. Regardless, for a younger me marriage and pregnancy were the goals I wanted to obtain after I completed my education and established my career and I gobbled up those books.
There are so many reasons to like a pregnant heroine and she’s one that is often done well. She enables the writer to show how the heroine is cared for by the hero; it allows him to be heroic. Linda Howards’s Mackenzie’s Pleasure is a perfect example of this with Zane, a tough guy hero (and one I love!), taking care of his woman, Barrie, and unborn child. It’s the ultimate culmination of a romantic relationship for many readers. A pregnant heroine can also force a couple together and cause tension/angst and sometimes humor within the story as with Kevin and Molly in This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
However, as I’ve grown older (or maybe because I’ve since had two of my own babies) I can’t seem to make myself turn off reality and find the pregnant heroine sexy. When the heroine discovers she’s pregnant, my mind automatically goes to prenatal vitamins, folic acid, or even birth defects. I can’t help it; I’m a worrier. I think about nausea, vomiting, and the even more unpleasant things that go along with late pregnancy. Yes, pregnancy is a beautiful and a life-changing experience for which little else can compare, but it’s also physically draining at times and at others downright unpleasant. For me, nowadays, it’s just not romantic in a sexy, steamy way.
But to be honest, I don’t know if I specially avoid pregnant heroines or if there simply aren’t as many out there as there used to be. Other than the Harlequin lines, the only recent pregnant heroine I can think of was a Mary Balogh heroine.
Are there fewer pregnant heroines out there? Do you like the pregnant heroine? Or, have your reading preferences changed since you’ve been reading romance? Please, tell me what you think.
– Heather AAR