I’m a heroine-centric reader. Heroes are great and all, but when reading m/f, it’s the heroine I fall in love with, every time. Sometimes it’s because I relate to them, sometimes it’s because they shock me and I love it, and other times I admire them fiercely. But when I finish a book I love, it’s usually the heroine I gush about to anyone who will listen. So here are the five heroines I love to the moon and back.
🌺 Hester Wyatt, Indigo, Beverly Jenkins
I have a complicated relationship with historical fiction of any sort. I have a PhD in History and I read to escape. Reading fiction for fun about things that I regularly teach can feel uncomfortable. And then I read Indigo. I love so much about this story: the setting, the historical detail, the love story, THE PROLOGUE. Ms. Bev writes so many brash, take-no-prisoners characters, but Hester’s strength is quiet. She is smart and brave in the face of her own fear and dedicated to her community and her people. The reader is Galen, as he realizes that there’s more to this woman than meets the eye and every new discovery about her makes him (and me) fall in love. Hester was the reason that I read the last page of this book and then flipped it over to start again, immediately.
🌺 Elle Burns, An Extraordinary Union, Alyssa Cole
If you had told me a year ago that I would ever give up a weekend to read about spies during the Civil War, I’d have laughed in your face. But when I finished the first book in The Loyal League series, I messaged the friend who recommended it and let her have all of my FEELINGS. And most of those feelings were about Elle. In so many action movies, especially about the past and war, men get to be brave and bold. But from the very first page, Elle is the hero of her life and the Civil War. And I love her. I decided to stan Elle and Alyssa forever after I read this book.
🌺 Devorah Lee, Adore You, Nicole Falls
I love a good friends-to-lovers romance, but this one hit me right in the intimacy issues and I felt attacked. But in a great way. I completely related to Devorah’s reticence to be in a relationship, because she’s worried about and focused on literally everything else but her own happiness. What will happen when they inevitably break up? What will their families think? Devorah so thoroughly gets in her own way, that my second-hand embarrassment transformed into just embarrassment. I have been that person. Devorah thankfully gets past it. I haven’t, but there’s hope! Also there’s a plane ride that…*chef’s kiss*
🌺 Keira Kenney, Sated, Rebekah Weatherspoon
Sated was the first Rebekah Weatherspoon book I ever read. I love pretty much all of Rebekah’s heroines. She writes women that I can usually relate to on some level. Keira is both relatable and completely aspirational (and not because she obviously has insane abs). She’s adorable and open and enthusiastic and right from the beginning I admired her, even as my anxiety spiked for her. There were moments where I just wanted to crawl into this book and stand in between Keira and everyone else’s good intentions. She’s too precious. But I think the think I love and admire most about Keira is the way she faces life’s challenges head on, even if she might get hurt.
🌺 Mia, Beyond Solitude, Kit Rocha
In a series with so many amazing heroines, it should be hard to choose my favorite. But it’s not. I’ve read and re-read Beyond Solitude so many times that it’s probably imprinted on my eyelids. I love Mia for all the reasons it’s easy to love most Kit Rocha heroines: she’s brilliant, she takes no shit, she makes demands of herself and everyone around her and she wants to believe in the good in people, even though she’s seen the worst. But the thing I love most about her is that she’s afraid. She’s terrified of her new life in this new world, but she relishes all the new possibilities like a woman who is just tasting freedom. Because she is. Mia is fully alive and it’s wonderful to live in that for these few pages that I absolutely wish were a full novel.