Change is inevitable, and in this latest poll for Top Ten Heroes a few newcomers made their presence known. That being said, there are other men who just won’t let go of our imaginations and our hearts.
It seems that we as readers have a standard for our heroes and it’s quite a feat to knock them from their pedestal once they find their place in our hearts. For this poll, that magic number is seven. Seven heroes from the previous poll managed to remain on the list with little to no movement from their previous ranking. That left three places for new heroes to make their mark and these slots were filled by heroes who are in vogue for their time.
Roarke from the In Death series once again landed in first place followed closely by Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series. Both series are still going strong to this very day and it seems that readers aren’t ready to give them up or let these characters leave the stage.
The next three heroes all held their previous places in the list. Sebastian Ballister from Lord of Scoundrels, Derek Craven from Dreaming of You, and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice remain swoon-worthy heroes.
Then there were the movers. Rupert Carsington from Mr. Impossible fell one spot into eighth place followed closely by the last hold out from our previous poll, Matthew Farrell from Paradise.
Three newcomers came on very strong to crack the top ten: Wulfric Bedwyn from Slightly Dangerous, Sebastian St. Vincent from Devil in Winter and Hardy Cates from Blue-Eyed Devil.
It could be argued that the newcomers to the list are from more recent releases, as were the three heroes who fell from the list. From those previous titles on the list, As You Desire (Harry Braxton) was the oldest of the three from 1997, while Lover Awakened (Zsadist) was published in 2006 and Devilish (Bey Malloren, Marquess of Rothgar) was released in 2005 versus the three newer titles, Slightly Dangerous from 2005, Devil in Winter from 2006 and Blue-Eyed Devil from 2008. Are the heroes new to the list just that much better than the ones they knocked off the list, or are we as readers constantly on the prowl for a new love in romance?
Note that only two contemporary heroes (Matthew Farrell and Hardy Cates) made the list, while Roarke resides in the future and Jamie Fraser continues to time travel. The other six heroes are all from UK-set historicals, arguably the mainstay of romance reading.
Looking at this list, it has to be noted that Lisa Kleypas is the creator of three of our favorite heroes which is a staggering accomplishment while Loretta Chase has two heroes on the list. That means half the heroes on the list have been created by two authors alone.
As we look at the Top Ten Heroines below, it’s interesting to note that Julia Quinn’s male counterparts to Penelope Featherington and Kate Sheffield didn’t crack the Top Ten Heroes.
Changes continued to occur in your favorite top ten heroines. Most notably, Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels took over first place, receiving 14% more votes than the previous winner, Eve Dallas, who is now in second place. This years third through sixth place finishers also finished in the top ten in 2006. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) and Penelope Featherington (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton) switched places, as did Claire Randall (Outlander series) and Sara Fielding (Dreaming of You).
Evie Jenner from Devil in Winter has made her first appearance in the poll in the 7th slot. Christine Derrick from Slightly Dangerous landed in 8th place. Kate Sheffield from The Viscount Who Loved Me also made her first appearance on the list in 9th place. Of the four “newcomers,” only one heroine – Annique Villiers from The Spymaster’s Lady – was from a book published since our last poll.
What do these heroines have in common? All but one (Penelope Featherington) was the heroine of a book that achieved DIK status at AAR. Most notably, eight of the ten are heroines from historical romances. Not a single heroine from a contemporary romance made the top ten this poll. In contrast, in the 2006 poll, three heroines from contemporary romances were in the top ten.
Top Ten Couples
Eve & Roarke
In Death series (1995 – current)
Jessica & Sebastian
Lord of Scoundrels (1995)
Claire & Jamie
Outlander series (1991 – current)
Sara & Derek
Dreaming of You (1994)
Elizabeth & Darcy
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Wulfric & Christine
Slightly Dangerous (2005)
Evie & Sebastian
Devil in Winter (2006)
Daphne & Rupert
Mr. Impossible (2005)
Anthony & Kate
The Viscount Who Loved Me (2000)
Penelope & Colin
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (2002)
When we last polled for couples, Eve and Roarke pulled away easily for Favorite Duo. And though they repeated again this year, it was quite a battle with Dain and Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels. In fact, the last four ballots determined the top two places.
Jamie and Claire from Outlander and its sequels were far back in the voting for favorite couple but landed solidly in third place. Derek and Sara took fourth place, as they did in 2006, and Darcy and Elizabeth moved up one place.
New to the poll are Wulfric and Christine from Slightly Dangerous, as well as Evie and Sebastian from Devil in Winter, and Anthony and Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me. Daphne and Rupert from Mr. Impossible and Penelope and Colin from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton repeated their appearances in the poll from 2006.
Many authors received votes for their popular couples, though they didn’t make it to the top ton. Those couples were: Blair & Wyatt and Sam & Jane (Linda Howard); Matt & Meredith and Ian & Elizabeth (Judith McNaught); and Sam & Alyssa and Robin & Jules (Suzanne Brockmann).
One of the interesting aspects of being an AAR pollster is to follow our favorite characters. This time, while some of us were happier with the results than others, we each had some disappointments. LinnieGayl was particularly disappointed that Harry and Desdemona from Connie Brockway’s As You Desire failed to make it into the top ten in any category. Lee was pleased with the results as she loves historicals. She hopes in our next poll that Dain and Jessica finally overtake Eve and Roarke as favorite couple. Cindy was surprised that not one paranormal hero, heroine or couple cracked any of the lists this time around.