The 1-2-3s of Romance Heroes

Now for my breakdown of the guys for romantic book trilogies.

Book 1: Alpha Male aka “The Head Honcho” – Usually in romance trilogies, the first hero is the one of the highest social rank (alpha male of the pack, king/prince/duke/earl, oldest son, leader of whatever group the trilogy heroes are a part of, etc.).  He’s the opposite of the more docile heroine he’ll be wooing – more domineering, inflated sense of his rank and never hesitant to put anyone in their place.

Book 2: Beta Male aka “The Second in Command” – This hero is usually the Head Honcho’s wingman or best friend.  He’s often also the “good guy” in the trio or the one most honor bound and solemn as a monk.  Well, I guess it does take a lot of patience to wear heroine #2 down.

Book 3: Omega Male aka “The Rebel Without a Cause” – The last story often involves the most rebellious, least mature of the trio.  Often, he’s the one getting into bad scrapes but he manages to handle himself quite well until heroine gets involved.  He is also a thwarted lover, of either one of the previous heroines or another girl from his adolescence or some years before the stories take place. Where he goes, trouble is likely to follow.

The 1-2-3s of Romance Heroines

I’ve started noticing a pattern when it comes to romance trilogy heroines, linked by male leads.

Book 1: The Outsider aka “Alice in Wonderland” – Heroine is brand new to the fold, be it a clan, coven, pack, planet, dimension, etc.  She doesn’t know the workings of the world she’s gotten into, so many of her pitfalls come from her lack of knowledge, and a majority of her role is uncovering the hero’s realm.  This heroine is more naive and docile.

Book 2: The Insider aka “The Warrior Princess” – This book’s heroine is often someone who is already part of the hero’s world, understands it but in some way has rejected it or doesn’t fit into it.  Out of the three heroines, she’s often the most independent minded.  She belongs to their world but isn’t necessary connected to the three main men until something happens to throw her into their path.  This heroine often has an axe to grind and will fight the hero of this novel more than if they were in Book 1.

Book 3: The Outlier aka “The Girl Next Door” – Often the last heroine and hero are people who were lingering around in the first and second books, that you thought would hook up then but ended up with their own stories.  Usually she’s connected to a large aspect of the previous novels – either as a sibling to one of the male leads or tied into a  overarching plot or continuing subplot device in the series. The heroine for Book 3 is well acquainted with the world she’s in (can be either an insider or outsider), but doesn’t feel like she belongs because of something in the past.  Book 3 heroines skew more toward knowing what they want but not how to get it.

How You Know You’re Reading a Cliche Romance

I’ve started noticing rather mundane patterns in  romances.  Overall, I like the quality of historical romance stories because they actually have decent plots, but after reading a couple I’ve noticed some things.  They follow the same plot line.

1) The cover is always way more salacious than the actual content of the story based on sexual content.

2) The heroine is usually some kind of redhead (auburn, strawberry blonde, orange flames).  The hero is tall, dark and handsome.

3) Her Prince Charming is an off-kilter high-ranking nobleman (frequently a duke, earl or viscount) who doesn’t like being a duke/earl/viscount and resents “society.”

4) Heroine is tomboyish, constantly getting into mischief and resents the role of being a lady.  Yet somehow she is fine with the role when she accepts to marry the hero.  She is also often an orphan or orphan-esque and acts childish for someone often over the age of twenty.

5) The heroine and her hero meet when he catches her at some type of criminal act or mischief.

6) Somehow hero and heroine don’t know each other, but they’re all over each other before exchanging names.

7) Hero and heroine get caught in a compromising situation due to trying to cover for heroine’s criminal activities, and to preserve her reputation the hero ends up telling people that they’re engaged.

8) Heroine gets into more mischief with something to do with political intrigue or property rights.

9) Hero moons over heroine and ways he will keep her safe and bed her, the conflicting notions make him crazy.  This results in several steamy make-out sessions and/or they just screw each other’s brains out.

10) Heroine tries to prove that she doesn’t need hero and does something stupid.

11) Hero steps in and saves the day, but we pretend the heroine did most of it on her own.

12) Epilogue explaining happily ever after.