Wednesday, 3 July 2013


The recent story about Nigella Lawson got me thinking. The papers said Nigella looked upset – but evidently  not angry. She should have been very angry. He may have had his hands round her throat, but she still had a knee free to use. And if she was upset, how much of her distress was caused by nearly being strangled and how much was due to the incident happening in public?
So what do women want?
James Bond doesn’t treat his women particularly well, and neither do Daniel Craig. Or Shaun Connery for that matter. Nora Roberts’ hero, Rouke, was a thief and a murderer in his early life, but he is so incredibly gorgeous we can forgive him almost anything. Superman treats Lois Lane badly, but she keeps coming back for more – and Tarzan started the whole macho thing in the first place.

So how much do we like our ‘little bit of rough’?  We obviously enjoy reading about it. Fifty Shades must be the most talked about book of the year, with Christian very much the dominant male and definitely abusive at times. But that is fiction. Women seem to prefer to take their thrills vicariously, and with our romance novels that is exactly what we provide. A few hours of vicarious pleasure. Where we draw the line is up to us. Female abuse in any form should never be condoned, but we can’t make our heroes too soft either, so we walk a tightrope every time we sit down at our computer.

What fun it is, though, to invent the perfect male. Someone who can make us go weak at the knees with just a glance, cook a perfect meal, and then whisk us away in his private jet to a tropical island.



  1. The person who can bring the perfect male you described to life would be a millionaire! I think a lot of the time the men we enjoy reading about aren't ones we'd necessarily want to make a life with.

  2. I think Angela hit the spot there. The sort of alpha male who frequents the pages of romantic novels would be insufferable in real life.

    But I don't like abusive heroes at all. I despised both Heathcliff and Christian Grey.

    However, I do think there's a slight difference between a man who physically or psychologically abuses a woman so that she feels she's worthless, and an alpha male who just likes to be in control until the feisty heroine gives him a run for his money.

    I think it is possible to create a hero who is tortured and perhaps doesn't always behave well, but who also treats the woman he loves with respect at all times, even if he's pushing her away because of his inner turmoil.

  3. I don't "do" alpha males. They may be romantic and dangerous to some women but from an author's point of view and as my own personal preference they're not my idea of what a man should be to complement and partner a woman through life AS HER EQUAL. In my novels I like SNAGS with a personal issue to resolve which is where my heroine's come into their own. And he's grateful, and they fall in love and ... well you know the rest. :)