So far, 2019 is turning out to be a wonderful romance release year. More importantly in my opinion is the heroines we are seeing in these romances. We are seeing such strong, intelligent heroines who persevere against the odds set against them and the icing on the cake is they get their happily ever after in the end.
Here are 3 heroines who I really admired and feel have set the standard for what I will look for in heroines to come:
First up I have Reggie Hobbs who is the heroine in Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole which is a novella in her Reluctant Royals series. There are times when a novella leaves you yearning for more but Alyssa Cole has mastered how to give you everything you need in a short amount of time. Reggie is a nerdy by nature, woman of color. She is a business woman who has created a pop-culture center media enterprise called Girls With Glasses. I loved that Reggie is a self-proclaimed, loud and proud, nerd. She navigates some pretty white male spaces with no f’s given but what I love most about her is that she navigates through the world yet refuses to let that define her or hinder her in any way. Lesson learned, you are not your circumstances.
My next heroine is Esme Trahn from The Bride Test by Helen Hoang which was a huge release in the romance world this year. We all loved Hoang’s previous release, The Kiss Quotient and though the vibe of The Bride Test felt a tad bit different than it’s predecessor, Helen Hoang graced us with another unforgettable heroine. Esme is a mixed race young woman who immigrates to America from Ho Chi Minh City after meeting Khai, our heroes mother, who convinces Esme to come to the states and do what she has to do to have Khai fall in love and marry her. Esme leaves behind her daughter, mother and grandmother. The journey really does begin with the focus being on getting Khai to fall in love but it becomes so much more than that. Esme is pushed in ways to take advantage of where she is, the people whose paths she has crossed and to use all this to her advantage. We see her blossom from barely making it by back home scrubbing toilets and sleeping on the floor to hustling, taking classes and getting her education. She does achieve a better life but it is through hard work. I remember thinking as I finished the last page of this book, “this is what a heroine in 2019 looks like!”
My last heroine’s romance was published in 2019 but takes place in the years after the Civil War. If you haven’t read Rebel by Beverly Jenkins which is the first book in her new series, Women Who Dare, let me introduce you to New York City born, New Orleans residing, Valinda Lacey aka Val. Val is a teacher living in New Orleans with a mission to help teach the newly freed. Shortly after getting into the groove of things, thugs ruin the barn she was using for her classroom. As I read this book I couldn’t get off my mind the fact that Val really has no ties to New Orleans. With supremacist groups roaming the streets, the classist system amongst people of color, it’s a dangerous place and I kept asking, “why stay?” Remembering this series is about Women Who Dare, things came full circle for me. Val was able to see the impact she was making. Newly freed people of color were so eager to learn, to better themselves and flourish and Val played an important part in their journey. I loved that she refused to take the easy route and just leave because of the other nonsense going around her because she came to New Orleans with a purpose. It’s hard to walk away from Val’s story transcends time and will stick with me for a long time.
I highly recommend becoming acquainted with these ladies if you haven’t already. What bad ass heroines have you been introduced to this year that you want more people to read?