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Jealous Heroes -- What's the Attraction?
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 606

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Jealous Heroes -- What's the Attraction? Reply with quote

A lot of readers love jealous heroes -- and many despise those stories especially when the hero takes out his problems on the heroine). So if you love jealous heroes, what is the attraction? Do you seek these stories out, or do you just welcome them when you find them? Are there certain authors you turn to for this type of story? Also, are there limits in how the hero treats the heroine? Or do you want these stories to be as dark as intense as possible? If the story is dark or the hero is very jealous, do you ever have problems believing in the HEA?

Also, if you hate jealous heroes, what makes you hate them? If you only like them some of the time, what makes one jealous hero OK and the other a jerk? Are there any stories that you liked despite the jealous hero? If so, what made them different? And if you hate jealous heroes, then is it OK if the hero grows away from the jealousy during the course of the story? Or does it depend on the writing?

One of my problems with jealous heroes is that the jealousy is really just a "guilty pleasure" factor. His jealousy creates conflict and angst, and then he realizes he's in love and suddenly trusts her. While these stories can be like a thrill ride, like a thrill ride, they're over quickly, and sometimes, I even feel nauseated afterwards. Wink So can you recommend stories where the jealousy is a real issue in the story, and where it is dealt with realistically? For example, are there stories where the hero recovers from his jealousy over the course of the novel, just as a hero who is an alcoholic has to recover slowly over the book. How many "jealous hero" books truly deal with the jealousy, and how many make it a part of a big misunderstanding plot and never truly get deeply into the problem of jealousy?

And what about jealous heroines? They exist, but do they interest us nearly as much? On message boards, plenty of fans request lists of books with jealous heroes, but I've never seen anyone ask for a list of jealous heroes. Is this because jealous heroes give so many readers a sense of a primal alpha force, and jealous heroines don't have that same impact? Are there jealous heroine books out there, and if so, how do those heroines come across?
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Retrograde



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 458

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was in my early teens and reading romances for the first time, I enjoyed those stories which had domineering, jealous heroes - but I have no patience with them nowadays. I guess my main problem is that jealousy and possession go hand in hand - and I'd hate for someone I'm in a relationship with to think he possesses me. And so, I hate to read about it. I think that jealousy is a sign of an unhealthy relationship, especially with "alpha" heroes who are often so violent. An extreme example that comes to mind is Donovan from The Burning Point by Mary Jo Putney. Jealousy eventually led to violence, and the focus of his violence was the woman he claimed to love above anything or anyone else. However, when we talk about jealous heroes, we normally mean less dramatic and damaging examples of jealousy - perhaps a bit of sulking or smack talk. It can be endearing sometimes...but more often not.

With heroines, it's a little different - because women don't tend to go overboard with it. They might glare or stomp off, but I haven't come across anything more than that.
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoy jealousy ONLY as a plot device to get the hero or heroine to realise their feelings for the other, and then only when it doesn't go too far. For example, Heroine is sure that she thinks of her friend of three years only as a friend (even though he's obviously in love with her!) until he starts dating someone new, and she starts having little pangs of jealousy..eventually they let her realise that she actually sees him as more than a friend. Or, Hero has broken it off with his ex-girlfriend because he's not looking for anything serious...then when he hears she's got a new guy, gets jealous and realises, hey, maybe he IS interested in something serious.

I absolutely hate it where the hero thinks thoughts of killing any man who touches the heroine, and we're supposed to find this charming. And books where the hero threatens guys off the heroine, when they're not actually together, make me extremely angry!

So yeah, jealousy as plot device can be ok, but not as a permanent character trait, thanks.
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ladynaava



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 938
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind reasonable jealousy. A jealous reaction to a specific event. Everyone feels spurts of jealousy from time to time.

I dislike intensely possessive mean, psychotic jealousy "Oh my God, I saw you with the family doctor, you must be cheating you harlot!" Eh.

There is also the overly posessive freakout carpathian male jealousy which is over-the-top where the woman can't even be touched by another man, before the male flips out

So: situational jealousy is fine, as long as its not some big mis, and the reaction is reasonable.

Jealousy as a character trait? Not hot. steer clear
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

Anne Marble wrote:
One of my problems with jealous heroes is that the jealousy is really just a "guilty pleasure" factor. His jealousy creates conflict and angst, and then he realizes he's in love and suddenly trusts her. While these stories can be like a thrill ride, like a thrill ride, they're over quickly, and sometimes, I even feel nauseated afterwards. Wink


Yeah, it's just a guilty pleasure for me, too--like Lisa Kleypas' heroes--but not necessarily something I'd want in my own love life.

Anne Marble wrote:
And what about jealous heroines? They exist, but do they interest us nearly as much? . . . Is this because jealous heroes give so many readers a sense of a primal alpha force, and jealous heroines don't have that same impact?


Now, I happen to be a naturally jealous person who has been working for years to calm down when I see a woman (apparently) moving in on my man . . . or even another woman I don't really like (seemingly) moving in on my best friend! Laughing I know that I wouldn't come across very well as a Romance heroine. Wink

From what I've read so far, jealous heroes come across as protective--very alpha. I can't remember any jealous heroines, but I imagine they'd come across as insecure.

Retrograde wrote:
When I was in my early teens and reading romances for the first time, I enjoyed those stories which had domineering, jealous heroes - but I have no patience with them nowadays.


I know that you enjoy Kresley Cole's novels, Retrograde, and her heroes strike me as very jealous. Do they seem otherwise to you?

I mean, they're certainly not irrationally jealous like Judith McNaught's notorious Clayton Westmoreland, but they don't even like it when their heroines have "Girls Night Out" without them! Laughing
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Estelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 337
Location: France

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jealous heroes are favorite of mines, especially when they're well done. Schola mentions Kresley Cole and I think she's one of the authors who does them best. You can always feel the respect and the love of her heroes for her heroines.

Also, I'm not to keen on the jealousy thing being thrown in there as a plot device to have the hero (much more rarely the heroine) realize he's in love. But then I'm not fond of books in which the epiphany comes in the last part of the book either so everything that's dragged out like this wouldn't appeal to me anyway. I prefer that the jealousy comes after the fact. It usually shows that he's really a bit insecure which makes his character more rounded since, very often, that type of hero is of the confident alpha type. That hint of vulnerability is appreciated.

And, about real life, I must not be a "modern" girl because I wouldn't want the man I'm with to be indifferent to a possible relationship with another guy. As long as there's no violence or absurdity about it I think it's the sign of a healthy relationship that the other partner shows jealousy sometime. I'd be the same myself.

In a book, if there's not that little extra spark the relationship feels very lukewarm to me and I don't want to read about lukewarm. Jealousy and other feelings of protectiveness are very attractive in a hero for me. They gives more of an emotional stake to the story, more of an edge.

Then there are the irrational heroes of the Harlequin line from the 70s/80s . Those are such a guilty pleasure of mine. I'd run the other way if I met one in real life but I just gobble those little vintage books like there's no tomorrow. I collect them in fact. I can't stand modern harlequins but the vintage ones are definitely guilty pleasures. You know, the ones in which we only get the heroine's point of view, the ones in which the heroes were still only mere millionaires instead of billionaires or sheiks or princes. The ones where you wouldn't see a "baby" "virgin" or 'secret' in the title.
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Retrograde



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
I know that you enjoy Kresley Cole's novels, Retrograde, and her heroes strike me as very jealous. Do they seem otherwise to you?

Yes, there does seem to be a flaw in my reasoning. Laughing I guess with Kresley Cole, her heroines are just as strong as her heroes, so the jealous men can huff and puff, but it's to no avail. Sometimes I do grit my teeth when they go overboard, but I know that the heroine has something up her sleeve to get back at him. I should amend my statement and say that jealous men coupled with weak heroines really don't do it for me. Also, possession is such a dominant theme with these paranormal alpha heroes, so I tend to overlook it at times. In a contemporary or historical setting, however, I have close to no tolerance for it.
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 677

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
can you recommend stories where the jealousy is a real issue in the story, and where it is dealt with realistically?


Not sure if this qualifies, but how about Jules from Suz Brockmann's 'All through the Night'?

He's jealous, and knows himself to be jealous, but sees it as a character flaw:
"But then Adam reappears and my brain shorts out, and yeah, Robin was extremely cool about it, but he's not going to be cool if it becomes this incredible, pain-in-the-ass, daily ordeal that we have to wade through - who's Crazy Jules jealous of now?"

I can believe the relationship will work despite the jealousy, because not only does Jules see the jealousy as an undesirable character trait that he needs to try and overcome, but Robin accepts that he's like that, and is prepared to deal with it (even to some extent finds it attractive: which makes sense given his childhood.)
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Estelle wrote:
Jealous heroes are favorite of mines, especially when they're well done. Schola mentions Kresley Cole and I think she's one of the authors who does them best. You can always feel the respect and the love of her heroes for her heroines.

[snip]

I prefer that the jealousy comes after the fact. It usually shows that he's really a bit insecure which makes his character more rounded since, very often, that type of hero is of the confident alpha type. That hint of vulnerability is appreciated.


That's how it is in Cole's novels! Very Happy I remember the hero of Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, in particular, being so jealous of another guy that he annoys the heroine to no end . . . and then later on, when he saves her life and she is truly grateful, he suddenly feels like the strong protector he has always wanted to be. Where Cole's heroes are concerned, jealousy is rooted in the desire to protect their vulnerable mates.

Then there's the hero of A Hunger Like No Other (if I recall correctly), who says that being in love is like having one's heart free to walk around outside of one's body.

I think that Lisa Kleypas' heroes are the same way, but I'll have to do a quick check of the novels I remember seeing this theme in before I can name examples.

PS--I'm not a "modern" girl either. Wink
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I don't think being 'modern' or not means someone would accept a relationship between their partner and someone else...and it's not like there are many books out there (other than erotica..) where that's really an issue. So the jealousy in romance novels generally *has* to come across as somewhat irrational, because we can't ever believe the heroine would really do anything wrong in that respect.

Jealousy can be ok in some scenarios, but when it seems the heroine couldn't have, say, a platonic male friend without the hero flipping out, that's not appealing to me at all. If the other guy is *actually* moving in on the heroine, that's one thing--but if she's obviously not responding to it and he gets angry at her, that's not cool.
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Jenny



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am one of the readers who is crazy about a jealous hero. I am compiling a list on www.romantictimes.com Themes board I am so into them.

When I started reading romances I only read about the heroine's suffering and I guess from then on I saw the hero's jealousy as the first sign of his vulnerability towards the heroine. His first realisation that she means something more to him than all the others.

And I want him to suffer just as much the heroine suffers!


I also found that I enjoy most the books in which the hero is jealous because he is starting to fall in love or is already in love with the heroine. He is jealous because he loves her and is afraid he'll lose her to another. I want that fear present!

The books in which the hero's jealousy stems from his ego trip are not appealing to me.

Lynne Graham does my kind of jealous hero perfectly. A hero who even when he is jealous he is protective of the heroine.

Anyone who has read THE SPANISH GROOM by Lynne Graham will know what I'm talking about. :)



Jenny
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind the occasional moment of jealousy, if it's at least halfway reasonable. But I hate heroes who have a jealous fit if the heroines as much as talks to another man. That's not love, that's controlling behaviour and a warning sign for domestic abuse. I don't like excessively jealous heroines either. They're less likely to become abusive, but they'll still make the hero's life miserable.

For example, the first book in the Dream trilogy by the normally dependable Nora Roberts has a hero whose jealousy makes him inacceptable to me. He is the heir of a hotel chain, she is the daughter of the housekeeper turned supermodel whom he has been in lust with since they were teens. A rather contrived scandal kills her career (which is unbelievable in itself, because real life supermodels' careers have survived worse scandals) and she is forced to make do. He talks her out of taking up the offer of a Playboy shoot, because he can't abide someone else seeing her naked, which forces her to sell off her possessions instead. Later on, he freaks out when he sees her doing a photo shoot for a charity auction dressed in nothing but a sheet and a valuable necklace and almost throws the photographer out of the room, never mind that seeing women naked is as much part of a professional fashion photographer's job as it is part of a gynaecologist's job (but maybe he threatens her doctors, too). And when he sees her hugging and kissing an old friend, he stalks off without even giving her a chance to explain. The next two parts of the trilogy (which are better) show that he gets her pregnant almost immediately, probably to keep her from going back to modelling for good. In short, a total jerk.

Besides, if a hero or heroine has jealous tendencies, I expect them to realize they have a problem and try to do something about it. I would put Jules from the Brockman books (whom I do like) into this category.

But then, I am one of the apparently few romance readers who prefer beta heroes and does not care for overly controlling alpha males.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
I also found that I enjoy most the books in which the hero is jealous because he is starting to fall in love or is already in love with the heroine. He is jealous because he loves her and is afraid he'll lose her to another. I want that fear present!

The books in which the hero's jealousy stems from his ego trip are not appealing to me.


We must have the same taste in books, Jenny! Very Happy

I was thinking some more about Cole's and Kleypas' heroes and why they don't turn me off at all. They have jealous tendencies, yes, but not double standards. That is, they're not jerks who ban the heroines from having male friends, while they themselves can be surrounded by other women because they'd never cheat and it's all perfectly innocent. (You know the type. Rolling Eyes ) On the contrary, even as they demand the heroines' time and attention, they are perfectly willing to reciprocate by giving just as much of their time and attention to their women.

Anne Marble wrote:
And what about jealous heroines? They exist, but do they interest us nearly as much?


Now that I've given it more thought, I see that Cole's and Kleypas' heroines are also pretty jealous. They're just not easily identifiable as "jealous heroines" because there's more to them than just jealousy.

It should be the same with the hero, I see. If the first word one can think of to describe the hero is "jealous," then that character trait has probably gone overboard. If he is many other things before he is jealous, then he sounds pretty well-balanced to me!
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Jenny



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes to heroine's jealousy I don't like it.

I am so much in the heroine's head, going through what she is going through and already suffering because of the hero and then she is to suffer from jealousy as well, NO THANK YOU.


Jenny


P.S. My list of jealous heroes is here: http://www.romantictimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8243


Please add to it if you can.

Thank you.

Jenny
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can really sink my teeth into a jealous hero! *G* Actually I'm not so sure it's jealous heroes I enjoy so much as possessive heroes. It's not so much an issue of trust as it is...you better step away from my man/woman. lol Sure, it's somewhat irrational but there are many times I'd love to see both H&H act in a way that isn't always perfect or logical, that's going purely on emotion even if they know deep down that they're overdoing it.

I don't equate it with real life or what I would want in a significant other. It's pure and complete fantasy.

Linda
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