The Heavy Hero (or Heroine)

hero I’m nattering on about Drop Dead Diva and romance again. That show is my drug.

In this past Sunday’s episode, Jane goes on her first date with a fellow lawyer, Tony. He is really cute, as you can see from the picture of him here. This is your Fat Hero.

He shows up at home to pick up Jane for their date but Jane’s mother has dropped by and he decides to stay for a home-cooked meal. I heart Tony. When he leaves, Jane’s mother tells her that he’s a keeper, and describes him as a guy who likes (I paraphrase) “women like us”. ‘Women like us’ being plus-size characters, or, Your Heavy Heroine.

Jane is upset about this possibility and towards the end of the episode, asks Tony why he’s attracted to her. I’m going to assume that if he said ‘Jane, you’re just so fat and I love that in a woman’ that they wouldn’t have shared the kiss they did to close out the hour.

Now, I’m of two minds on Jane’s negative response to the idea that Tony could have been attracted to her size. My first mind says this: “What’s the big deal here, Jane? Some men are attracted to big-breasted women, some women like the feel of a six-pack, and there are those who think green-eyed redheads are God’s Gift to Humanity. In short, we all have physical preferences. What’s wrong with liking a Fat Heroine?” My second mind says this: “God, Tony, if this is true you are such a let-down! Take your freakish, chubby-chasing ways elsewhere you unmitigated loser and blight on society!!”

Then I thought of something: why did the issue come up in the first place? Why did Jane’s mother come to the quick conclusion that Tony liked ‘women like them’? Jane felt insulted by this possibility but I think another person who had cause to feel insulted was Tony himself.  It is likely because he is not on the skinny side of the BMI chart that Jane’s mother assumed he liked ‘women like them’. Basically, she was saying, ‘he likes women like himself’. Poor Tony wouldn’t be allowed to consider Your Skinny Heroine would he? She would be out of his league.
If Grayson, Your Six-Pack Hero for whom the world is his oyster and every single body type his pearls, had asked Jane out, what could have been her mother’s response? “Oh, Jane, he must really like you!” (Read: despite your weight, and all the other pearls at his disposal, he has found something to love).

That sounds likely, but it could just have easily been: “Yep, there are guys like that who like women with a little meat on their bones!” (Read: how fortuitous that he’s a guy like that, because if he was any other type of guy, he wouldn’t be attracted to your weight. It takes a special type of Six-Pack Hero to find something to love in a Fat Heroine).

You just can’t win with Jane’s mother, can you!

And, you just can’t win with some romance readers.

In all the discussions Romanceland has had on the topic of plus-sized heroines to date, some readers introduce the idea of the romantic fantasy and the fact that a Fat Hero or a Fat Heroine get in the way of this. They might say:

Who wants to read about a woman whose legs rub (apart from women whose legs rub?)? Who wants to read about a man with a paunch (apart from women attracted to guys with paunches?)? And if we did read about these people, how are we to believe that someone ‘normal-sized’ actually found them attractive? How are we to believe that they really are happy the way they are (read: fat)? Reality will get in the way and spoil our fantasy.

If Jane was a contemporary romance heroine and Tony and Grayson formed the other points to her love triangle, a romance reader who brings her real-life conceptions on overweight people to the story might think Tony was just ‘settling’ or ‘without options’, or that Grayson was a ‘chubby chaser’ a.k.a. some sort of freak. These thoughts don’t lend themselves to delightful romance do they?

To be frank – and from my personal perspective as a plus-sized woman – I can’t get mad at those readers looking for that fantasy of physical perfection. And though I would like to think that if I had spent my entire life being on the “right” side of the BMI chart, I would still be open to reading about Fat Heroes and Heroines, I can’t say that for sure. We live in a weight-obsessive society and maybe I would have believed that fat love wasn’t as romantic as fit love; maybe I would have found it hard to believe in their Happily Ever After.

But in the here and now, I’m always happy to read about the romance of a plus-sized heroine and I am most definitely on the look-out for a plus-sized hero. Any reading suggestions?

-Abi Bishop

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57 Responses to The Heavy Hero (or Heroine)

  1. AAR Lynn says:

    I don’t have a problem reading about plus-sized characters in romance. However, the main one I remember bothered me for reasons other than her size. The book was a historical in the early/mid 90s that I read in college. I don’t recall the title, but heroine was plain, heavy and seemed unhappy. Then she meets the hero and magic lurve transforms her into a goddess with flowing hair and tiny waist. The idea that this heroine was somehow in need of being fixed up for the hero bothered me at the time, and obviously that memory lingered.

  2. Rike says:

    Well, I have spent my entire life being on the “right” side of the BMI chart, and still I love reading about plus-size heroines and heroes. For example, Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells mysteries are favorites of mine, and among Heyer heroines I am really fond of Sophy. As with other areas of “perfection”, I get the impression that a hero lacking is frowned upon even more heavily than a heroine. Where are your chubby heroes in romances?

    As for a heroine magically changing from fat to slender, like in the example Lynn mentions, that’s ridiculous (and offensive, if you think about it). What I equally dislike is a heroine who hates her body until the hero comes along and only then discovers great clothes to wear and becomes self-confident over night. (Actually, this applies to both fat and thin heroines!) In my eyes, growing self-confident with your body is a slow process, and although I am happy if the hero provides an important step in it, I am distrustful of the HEA if he is the only trigger.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Someone please recommend some excellent romances with overweight heroines! I’ve read a few by Jennifer Crusie and Lori Foster, but I’d love to read more.

  4. Katie Mack says:

    Kathryn – Have you checked out the Special Title Listing for Plus-Sized Heroines? It lists some great books, including one of my all-time favorites, “Tall Tales & Wedding Veils” by Jane Graves.

  5. Abi says:

    I really can’t think of any overweight heroine romances where I have had no niggles or complaints with the character portrayal.

    In Bet Me, I found Min whiny and her obsession with that particular pasta dish and bread in general was weird (to me).

    In He Loves Lucy, when she went on that pizza binge and he came in and looked at her all disappointed I thought: if the woman wants to drown her sorrows in food, don’t focus on the fact that her poison of choice is food, let’s deal with why she’s feeling sad!

    I think I was projecting onto Lucy but I just can’t imagine myself dating/living with/marrying someone who is obsessive about fitness when I myself am not. And though it was said (if I recall correctly and I may not) that Jane did have a natural athleticism about her, I still found it a hard road ahead to have to answer for most things you put in your mouth.

    But that’s just me.

    I’ve read several series romances with overweight heroines who you later come to realise are not that overweight at all, but what I consider ‘normal’ in US size 12 range. Though I don’t discount the issues with their weight, that size doesn’t classify for me as an overweight woman.

    As for overweight heroes – where are they? I certainly wouldn’t mind reading about them.

  6. MB says:

    Abi, re overweight heroes, try “The Taming of the Duke” by Eloisa James. (He doesn’t stay that way…)

  7. Katie Mack says:

    I’m God’s Gift to Humanity? Awesome! ;D

    I enjoy reading about plus-sized heroines — actually, I enjoy reading about all characters who, for whatever reason, don’t fit our society’s beauty standards — even though I fall on the “right” side of the BMI. Maybe it’s because I also don’t meet society’s beauty standards, albeit in a different way, that those characters’ journeys are compelling to me.

    That said, there are several books with physically “perfect” heroes/heroines that I love too. So maybe it does come back to that fantasy aspect. I don’t read romances for the fantasy, so maybe that’s why I like all different kinds of characters? Hmm, food for thought. I’m going to have to think on that some.

    As for recommendations, in addition to “Tall Tales and Wedding Veils” by Jane Graves, I also recommend the following: “Bet Me” by Jennifer Crusie (of course), “He Loves Lucy” by Susan Donovan, and “Burning Up” by Sarah Mayberry.

  8. Lynn M says:

    Speaking as someone on the wrong side of the BMI (so living in a glass house, here), I personally don’t find overweight people attractive, male or female. I also don’t find extremely thin women or bulked-up muscle men attractive, nor do I think disproportional curves (read: extreme breast enhancements) make someone better-looking. What I prefer is healthy, fit people. And I admit that in order for me to “fall in love” with a hero/heroine, I need to believe they fall into my parameters of what I consider attractive. It’s part of the fantasy aspect, I suppose. I need to find the hero/heroine hot if in order to believe the heroine/hero does as well.

    If a heroine’s (or hero’s) weight is extreme enough in any direction to warrant mention in the story, then for me it’s all a matter of how it’s approached. If the woman is voluptuous and perhaps a little on the plump side of average, I don’t mind at all unless it’s constantly brought up, because then, for me, it becomes not simply one aspect of that person but an actual capital-I Issue. I’m just not interested in that as a story conflict/premise just like I don’t prefer secret baby plots. If, however, weight is just one of many characteristics described and simply accepted by everyone and subsequently ignored, I’m satisfied and can enjoy the book.

    And I’d be likely to read a book about a heavy heroine if I liked everything else about the story, but I would put down a book about a heavy hero like it was on fire no matter what the premise or how well written. It would be nearly impossible for me to ignore the fact that I would not find him attractive if he were to pop out of the book and stand in front of me. He may be a great guy who’d make a fab male friend, but not a love interest.

  9. Katie Mack says:

    Also, I forgot “Take a Chance on Me” by Susan Donovan.

  10. Lynn M says:

    I should qualify – In my first paragraph, I meant to say extremely overweight people. There are a lot of people who probably are technically overweight by today’s standards that are drop dead gorgeous, both male and female. But when the numbers get into the extremes, even a beautiful face or smile or eyes or hair gets lots, IMO.

  11. Maria F says:

    I like Justine Davis’s A Whole Lot of Love (silhouette desire 1281). There the heroine is large, but fit and strong. Yet some characters see her as undesirably big. Laura Kinsale also had a heavy heroine, Olympia, I think, in Seize the Fire? And the heroine in Eloise James’ Pleasure for Pleasure thinks she’s unpleasingly plump, but then it turns out she’s lusciously curvy…
    Not thinking of any heavy men, although there are big, burly, even awkward or clumsy men…but no one that anyone in the books seems to consider fat.
    It is a tricky line, though, I imagine, to write characters who must a) be made specifically for each other and see in each other what other people may not value or appreciate and at the same time b) not jar readers out of the romantic fantasy!

  12. Elaine S says:

    Henry Tewksbury-Hampton, 5th Marquess of Grayson, the hero of Carla Kelly’s “Miss Billings Treads the Boards” is both overweight and (gulp!) balding.

  13. AAR Rachel says:

    I couldn’t date him no matter his weight. Not after he was so mean to Pam! :)

  14. AAR Sandy says:

    LOL, Rachel. That Roy is a bastard. (So happy that Pam and Jim are getting their HEA. And I think they really are.)

  15. Nana says:

    I agree with Abi’s comment on Min from Bet Me. She was whiny and neurotic. I understand that being overweight can be significant part of a person’s self-image; however, with Min, it felt like it was her entire character. What does she like to do? Eat. Why does she hate Female Character X? Female Character X is skinny. Why is Cal the right man for her? Because he brings her food. What’s the tension between Min and her mother over her sister’s wedding? Min is the wrong dres size. For a fat girl, her character was pretty darn thin.

    I like Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. She is a “traditionally built African woman,” and it does appear in her character when she thinks about being attractive or liking a particular man, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of her identity. She’s also shaped by her love for her father, her patriotism, her good sense, her divorce, her feminism (even if it’s not called that), etc.

    Carla Kelly has another heavy hero – Scipio Butterworth in Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind (he’s supposed to be simply a large man everywhere – the tallest man in the room, but also a man of some heft, I think). I think he’s my favorite romance hero.

  16. Janet W says:

    You guys all said it better than I could about Min of Bet Me — enough with the constant push/pull between her mum and her boyfriend on what she should wear. And all the food stuff, I just didn’t buy it. She did have cute shoes though!

    OK, how about Jude Deveraux’s The Raider? That hero is F A T and prissy, and yet the heroine eventually falls for him PRE-revelation that he’s a hunk-a-saurus :). I didn’t think Heyer’s Sophy was fat, just queenlike/statue*esque. For fat heroines, Jenny of Civil Contract comes to mind … and how about Jo Beverley’s heroine (Christmas Angel I think), she marries the earl from abroad, he’s gorgeous and foreign and she’s a vicar’s widow. You see her later and she’s spreading out a bit but clearly he finds her most attractive. Oh, another fat heroine — Anne — but sadly the bastard hero (Alex of The First Snowdrop) treats her so badly altho I do eventually like him, magically, the fat melts off. That would be the misery diet :)

    GREAT blog — thank you :)

    Text from Amazon below …

    Jude Deveraux continues her beloved Montgomery saga in America with this dramatic, passion-filled tale of rebellion and love — a breathtaking adventure to be savored all over again — or discovered for the first time!

    The Raider

    In colonial New England, the British are hunting a fearless, masked patriot whose daring foils them at every turn. He’s known simply as the Raider.

    Jessica Taggert, a proud-tempered beauty, thrills to the Raider’s scorching midnight embrace, but despises Alexander Montgomery, the drunken town buffoon.

    In truth, the cleverly disguised Montgomery lives two lives…and only his triumph over the hated Redcoats will free him, at last, to know the full pleasure of Jessica’s love.

  17. AAR Lynn says:

    Oh, Precious Ramotswe! What a great character.

  18. Kate Hewitt says:

    I think someone was referring to the overweight heroine in Jude Devereaux’s novel Wishes, which has her magically (an angel’s wish) losing weight at the end of the book–I found it really annoying too. She got the guy when she was ‘fat’, why did she have to shed the pounds?!

    I just wrote a book with a ‘full-figured’ heroine; I think it’s interesting to explore the heroine’s perception of her own body, and how the hero’s love can help her see herself in a new and better way.

  19. JMM says:

    The thing is – what IS plus-sized? I’ve seen Kate Winslet characterized as fat. Normal women don’t look like super-models.

    Some people are naturally skinny. Some people are not. It’s that simple.

    I tend not to read romances with “plus-sized” heroines for the simple reason that her size is the entire. damn. story. She’s big (or bigger than most models) and it’s the only thing we know about her; she’s big and thus insecure and whines about it.

  20. Laure says:

    I also am on the wrong side of the BMI scale and have struggled with it most of my life. I agree with Lyn. I need to feel the hero/heroine falls into my vision of what is attractive or “hot” to believe the hero/heroine does as well. I admit to not being comfortable in my own skin so I tend to read romance for fantasy reasons – therefore I gravitate towards what I guess would be considered thinner characters. That sounds awful I know but it’s what I do.

    One book that comes to mind for me is Lisa Kleypas’ “Suddenly You”. There the heroine is described as on the voluptuous, plump side. But that certainly doesn’t prevent her from living her life. What I like about it is that the hero, Jack, doesn’t love her in spite of her body or because of her body, he loves HER.

  21. MaryK says:

    Beautiful Stranger (SIM 1011) – Ruth Wind

    “When Mona Lisa Smiles” from Love Goddesses – Carol Buck

  22. Abi says:

    Laure: What I like about it is that the hero, Jack, doesn’t love her in spite of her body or because of her body, he loves HER.

    I think that makes the best type of ‘plus-size’ heroine romances.

    JMM, I guess a plus-size romance is when the book features a heroine who either is described as plus-size or believes she is plus-size.

    So, though I don’t consider a size 12 plus-size nor can I – ever – conceive of Kate Winslet as fat, if this is how a character or a size is portrayed in a book, then that’s what it ‘is’.

    I have read plus-size heroine chick-lit type romances where her weight does not make for an issue at all – it’s just stated along with facts like ‘her hair is blonde’; then I’ve read romances where the heroine’s weight is an issue for her and the hero is the one to tell her ‘baby girl, you’re beautiful but you need to believe it yourself’; and yes I’ve read romances where the heroine’s weight is the entire.damn.story.

    Not to get TMI on you fine folks here, but I’m a big daydreamer and my dreams usually take the form of whatever fantastic event may be happening. So, when a tennis grand slam is going on, you betcha in my dreams I am the sexiest, hottest, most intelligentest, but *nicest* player on the tour. I win all the slams, have lots of adoring fans and some player on the male tour or some random hottie from some random place (a scientist? a politician? a guy who used to go to my school? an actor? these are interchangeable) is desperately in love with me and we have our romance dramas out on the court (when we play doubles). And when I envision myself, you betcha there’s not an extraneous fat particle in sight!

    I know about fantasy :P

    But in my romance books, I don’t require a steady diet of physical perfection fantasy. Sometimes I like to connect with a character on physical, not just emotional grounds.

    Thanks for commenting everybody!


  23. silver_miko says:

    I don’t know about heavy hero, but as for heavy heroine…I have a few I adore!

    Firstly and probably most of all, Penelope Featherington from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of novels. She’s the one I identify most with and it was wonderful seeing that she never had to change who she was and found her happy ending with the person she always loved. Even if Colin acted like a brat here and there, I still adore him too and how much he came to be totally devoted to her. (Which is later reinforced in one of the more hilarious scenes in To Sir Philip With Love).
    Another is Gwedolyn from Teresa’s Medeiros The Bride and The Beast. She’s spent all her childhood into adult life being teased for being plump from the local bullies and it doesn’t help she has two beautiful sisters to be compared to. However, she’s one of the only people in her village who can read, and is a clever woman at that. I won’t give away much of the plot, but the hero in the book seems to not care about her size.

    Eloisa James’ Pleasure for Pleasure features Josie Essex, who is a heavy heroine who is told early on by the hero of the book that her voluptuousness is attractive….and then borrows her dress to put on and show her how to swish her hips…
    Then there’s Gabby in Enchanting Pleasures who is also on the plus size whose story was a nice read and gets her HEA with a great hero.

  24. AAR Lynn says:

    >>I’ve seen Kate Winslet characterized as fat.

    I’ve seen that said of her, too, and I would never consider Winslet fat. I read somewhere that she is 5 foot 6 and about 120 pounds. That’s roughly a size 4-6. If society is starting to consider that overweight, I think perceptions are getting a little skewed somewhere.

  25. maggie b. says:

    AAR Lynn: >>I’ve seen Kate Winslet characterized as fat.I’ve seen that said of her, too, and I would never consider Winslet fat.I read somewhere that she is 5 foot 6 and about 120 pounds.That’s roughly a size 4-6.If society is starting to consider that overweight, I think perceptions are getting a little skewed somewhere.

    James Cameron spent the whole time on Titanic calling her “Kate Weighsalot”. What a charmer, eh?

    I haven’t given much thought to the whole plus sized issue. What does bother me is when an author lingers on a character trait — if the heroine is small and the author goes on and on about how big the hero is compared to her, then the small/heroine big hero combo will get to me, even though normally it wouldn’t.

    I also don’t like tiny heroines (and I am short myself) who can beat up a six foot tall male with no combat training whatsoever. Don’t buy it for a minute. My 5’7 son and I have wrestled and tussled before and he can kick my butt easy. And he’s just a junior high kid! I’d hate to see what he could do to me as a full grown male. Don’t think we’ll be play fighting too much longer!

    With size, Jen in “Hot Pursuit” comes to mind not because her size was such an issue but because I never really got a clear image of it. Gilmann and the cop seemed to find her attractive so I never really thought of her as big.

    Boyish figures and A cups tend to yank me out of story or if the heroine is described as childlike. I can remember a book where the hero (in his thirties) very nearly salivated over the heroines (18) innocence. In that particular case the author carried the point far too far, it came up over and over again in various conversations — that the heroine had fierce intelligence in her eyes but was so young and innocent looking you knew it to be a “pure” intellectual sort of intelligence. I don’t mind virgin stories but when the virginity is what is prized that bugs me. In this case I found the hero a complete lecher. Just my .02 of course.

    So in conclusion, for me it goes back to the old “how the author handles it”. If the point is over emphasized, it’s a turn off. But I can read just about any size so long as it is not lingered over.

  26. bungluna says:

    I myself happen to love “Bet Me”. I’ve always been big, though it took two kids to push me into the heavy category. In real life, I think people are attracted more to character once they get to know each other, though physical appearance does play an initial part in the attraction.

    I have a pet peeve with the heavy heroine/gorgeous hero trope: it’s like she’s not validated unless she can attach a gorgeous hero! Why can’t she be happy with an average or heavy hero? To me this is like reverse discrimination. That said, I find myself reading more about the characters than their physical traits. I don’t want to know how BLUE their eyes are, or how impresive the 6 pack is. I want to know what makes them tick so I can believe in their HEA.

  27. JMM says:

    Another issue for me is historicals – why is the heroine’s weight brought up at all? It was fashionable to be curvy in many times.

    Ok, not the 1920′s, and the Regency Empire gowns weren’t designed for women with a normal figure – but women were supposed to have curvy figures back then. Women were supposed to have breasts and hips – childbirth, you know.

  28. Ell says:

    In Georgette Heyer’s The Masqueraders, the hero is described as a “mountain”. That implies to me that he’s not only tall, but wide as well……and all the better to squeeze.
    As far as most “fat” characters are concerned though, the extra weight doesn’t bother the fantasy for me as long as they are proportional. (I know a few people who are morbidly obese though, and that is such a serious health, and emotional issue that I think that would end the fantasy if an author went as far as that.)
    Still, I would rather have the characters be a little round than perfectly perfect in every way – that’s just annoying…..and what is the deal with the giant men, and the tiny women? Who would REALLY like to be involved with someone a foot or more either taller or shorter than they are?

  29. Catherine says:

    I have an issue with the ‘plus sized hero/heroine’ list, and that is that in many of the listed books, the heroine goes from heavy to slim during the course of the book. As the character grows and makes a good relationship with the hero, she also slims down. It’s implied that the excess weight, even when it’s only mild, is something that needs to change for the HEA.

  30. Jean Wan says:

    I read Carla Kelly’s “Libby’s London Merchant” when I was younger, and the only thing I can remember thinking is, “She dumped the hot duke for a fat doctor?!” And so I gave it away. Of course, now I’m regretting it, but I think the doctor (Anthony) is rather solid, and certainly not six-pack material.

  31. Magnolia88 says:

    Catherine: I have an issue with the ‘plus sized hero/heroine’ list, and that is that in many of the listed books, the heroine goes from heavy to slim during the course of the book.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that also. There is usually (but not always) some sort of “swan” moment when she slims down and gets her makeover, or it’s clear that she’s not really all that plump to begin with and it’s mostly her own insecurity about being “voluptuous” around some skinny sisters or something.

    And in the case of Penelope from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, I remember her as being “plump” in the earlier books, but I could have sworn that it was made clear that she was no longer plump as she had been when she was younger. I thought that was part of the H/h conflict: he continued to see her as his sister’s “plump pal” when she had grown out of that and was no longer plump, and had become a more poised woman. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong.

  32. MaryK says:

    Catherine: I have an issue with the ‘plus sized hero/heroine’ list, and that is that in many of the listed books, the heroine goes from heavy to slim during the course of the book.As the character grows and makes a good relationship with the hero, she also slims down.It’s implied that the excess weight, even when it’s only mild, is something that needs to change for the HEA.

    I’m not a fan of these either. I like the plus sized hero/heroine theme when self-acceptance is the focus and not the weight itself.

    Yesterday I posted links to two books (I was tired and didn’t feel like explaining), in both, the heroines used to be very overweight but have slimmed down somewhat by the time the story starts. They have lingering image problems though and are still considered, by family members and society, to have a weight problem. Their issues aren’t so much their weight but them coming to terms with themselves as they are. Both their heroes love them for who they are. In Beautiful Stranger, the hero explicitly says he’ll still love if she gains all the weight back.

  33. Roxanne says:

    I’m a fan of physically imperfect characters, and the bigger-than-beauty-ideal heroine is a particular favorite of mine. But, as many have said before me, it must be well handled.
    If the entire plot revolves around her weight, I’m not interested (too much diet speak makes me want to kill myself). Aside: “Bet me” is sort of an exception to this rule.
    I don’t mind a little vulnerability, but if she has absolutely no confidence that’s a problem. Then the power dynamic is unbalanced: she needs rescuing and he’s her rescuer. I like when there is strength, vulnerability, and acceptance on both sides.
    I don’t like a story where the heroine’s weight is a problem for the hero, something that he must overcome. He needs to love her for much more than her looks (obviously!), but should never be loving her in spite of her looks. I’m not saying that he always has to be instantly attracted to her, but he must become intensely so as the story moves on.
    All that said, I have some recommendations of books where the heroine is on the plump side. Some of these women could be considered plus-sized and others are just not perfectly thin (and it’s not always clear which are which). However, I’m pretty sure that none of these heroines have flat stomachs.
    I like all these books to some extent. The ones I like a lot are starred. The ones I love are starred twice.

    **Taming the Wolf by Deborah Simmons
    **Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
    *Tall Tales and Wedding Vales by Jane Graves
    **The In Death Books by J.D. Robb (For Peabody. I love her!)
    **Lord of Danger by Anne Stuart
    *Faking It and **Bet Me by Jen Crusie (Stuart and Crusie both like to do heroines that are a bit plump.)
    Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan
    **The Serpent Prince and *The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
    To Wed in Texas by Jodi Thomson
    Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    **Get Lucky and Taylor’s Temptation by Suzanne Brockmann
    Of Midnight Born and *The Changeling Bride by Lisa Cach
    **Clay Yeager’s Redemption and *A Man to Trust by Justine Davis
    *A Dangerous Love by Sabrina Jeffries
    *Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
    *The Wedding Ring Promise by Susan Mallery

  34. Treana says:

    The thing is (and I’ve changed the name I post under here to protect somebody else’s privacy) – my hero, in my own life, was overweight. I loved him anyway. I married him and I told him he looked just fine to me. And he did!

    Then we went for an annual physical, and the doctor told him he had to lose weight or he wouldn’t live past 50. We got on it, and bless him, my DH has literally worked his butt off: he’s fifty-five pounds lighter, feels better, and looks even better.

    But now whenever I read plus-sized heroes/heroines, I’m kind of scarred by this experience. Somebody posted that books where heroines lose weight as they fall in love are like morality tales saying you have to be skinny to have an HEA. But in my life, it’s actually been true. If my husband hadn’t lost the weight, he probably would not have lived to see our kids graduate college.

    I’m not saying that Size 12 is fat. But I’m saying that in my life, I took it too far to the other extreme. So I’m all about loving a heroine or hero with a few pounds here or there, but I don’t really care what is “normal” these days: if it’s unhealthy, it’s not okay with me anymore, and I won’t believe the HEA if it’s not dealt with.

  35. SusiB says:

    I have to defend Min from Bet Me, too. For someone who has been nagged about her weight by her mother for pretty much all of her life, she has a very healthy self-confidence. And if I recall the book correctly, there isn’t a single scene of Min thinking, “oh no, he can’t possibly be attracted to me, I’m far too ugly”. I like Min.

  36. Abi says:

    Thanks for that list Roxanne. I haven’t read many of them so I’ll get on that as well as the Eloisa one with the overweight hero.

    SusiB – Min was an annoying character to me, not an annoying plus-size character. So even though I would agree she did not have weight hang-ups when it came to romantic relationships, in many other things I thought she made her own mess and so, though I liked the book, I didn’t love it.


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  38. Carla Kelly says:

    A favorite “look” of the late Georgian/Regency era was what was referred to as “full-fleshed” for men. I have always thought it was an attractive look, personally. Skinny men have never appealed to me, and not so much to my heroines, either, and they should know, eh?

    Example: Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey in “Master and Commander.” I believe he put on weight for the part, and he looked precisely right.

  39. Nancy Lee says:

    I love all your heroes, Carla — they think and feel like real human beings, and they LOOK like real human beings, not department store mannequins!

    I loved Dr. Cook in “Libby’s London Merchant”, and I loved the WAY Libby fell in love with him. At first she didn’t think he was attractive, because he didn’t fit her preconceptions of what a handsome man should look like; but she was always hyperaware of his physical presence, and only gradually realized that she WAS strongly sensually attracted to him, but at a deeper level than she had been consciously aware of. To me that sense of gradually deepening awareness was a very believable depiction of what it’s like to fall in love.

    Re: overweight heroes — there was actually a discussion thread about overweight heroes a while back on the Romance board on… as a result of that discussion I compiled a list titled “Romances With Portly Heroes,” which you can find by doing a Listmania search on (I hadn’t heard of “The Raider” though, I will have to check that out and add it to the list.)

    In quite a few of the novels, the overweight hero is the secondary hero, not the main main. And in the novels where the overweight hero is the main hero, most of the time he’s depicted as needing to lose weight in order to become attractive to the heroine. I’m sure somebody somewhere could write a PhD thesis about that, but it won’t be me :)

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  42. Kimiko Ocana says:

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