You know how sometimes you sit around your house and wonder how you’d go about pulling off a multimillion dollar jewel heist? Well, the other day I was lounging around trying to decide which fictional heroines I’d choose for my kickass, all-girl, jewel-heisting posse if my life took a sudden turn in an Ocean’s 8 direction.
When it comes to ass-kicking women, it’s tempting to go straight for paranormal, dark fantasy heroines. It makes sense, because necromancers, shapeshifters, vampire mercenaries? They’re badass. We’d be fools not to want author Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels or author Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson on our squad, right? The book covers alone are enough to convince us these heroines are the stuff of the fantasy female posse, a league of extraordinary ass-kickers.
OK, then. Jewel heist problem solved. Time for a nap.
If I was anything other than a historical romance writer I might have left it there, but instead of drifting into the blissful sleep of one who knows they have their all-girl jewel heist posse sorted, I began to think of all the badass historical heroines out there in romance world I’d just dissed. They are, after all, my people.
Most of us don’t immediately think of the tea-sipping set as ballsy rebel types, but corsets, side-saddles and virginity aside, historical romance has its fair share of fierce ladies. Don’t forget, one of the first heroines to take down an arrogant alpha hero was a Regency-era ass kicker.
I speak, of course, of Elizabeth Bennett, heroine of author Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and one of the most famous female renegades of historical fiction. Not every heroine has the nerve to toss away a handsome suitor with 10K a year and a really cool house, especially when she’s likely to end a penniless spinster if she does. Even better? Lizzie ditches Darcy because he’s mean to her sister. That’s loyalty, and loyalty is what you want in your badass posse.
My next pick is Lady Georgina Pearson, heroine of author Sarah McLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her Cover. She’s a disgraced aristocrat, owner of a gambling conglomerate, and a single mom — if she can handle all that, and keep her three bossy male business partners towing the line, then Lady Georgina can handle a simple jewel heist, am I right? Girl knows how to keep a secret, too.
Next, we need a spy. No gang of thieves is complete without one. For my intelligence gathering, I’m going with Elle Burns, heroine of author Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union. It’s risky business, infiltrating a Confederate Senator’s house to steal secrets for the Union Army. Impersonating a mute house slave is a good way to get yourself tortured and executed, but Elle, a daring spy with an eidetic memory risks everything to help the north triumph in the American Civil War. Who doesn’t want a gutsy, gifted undercover agent in their girl gang?
What do you do when you find a naked, dead earl tied (with red ribbons, no less) to the bed of an innocent young heiress who’s shed her ballgown, and disappeared without a trace? Hide the body, lie to the guests, destroy the evidence and find the heiress, of course. It’s all in a day’s work for Iris Moore, heroine of author Kelly Bowen’s Duke of my Heart. Every squad needs a fixer, and calm, collected Iris knows just where to bury the bodies. Someone’s gotta keep her cool if the heist goes bad, right?
Olivia Holladay, the wily, statuesque red-headed heroine of Meredith Duran’s Fool Me Twice escapes an attempt on her life, slips through the fingers of a powerful assassin, and successfully poses as a housekeeper in order to steal a packet of letters from an angry, occasionally violent alpha duke who throws liquor bottles at her head when he’s in a temper. She’s quick on her feet, and she doesn’t scare easily. Olivia also happens to be a damn good housekeeper, and it’s a rookie mistake to underrate the importance of organizational skills in a jewel-heist.
Sidonie Saint-Godard, heroine of author Liz Carlyle’s The Devil to Pay is one of those ass-kicking heroines you’d never suspect of dirty deeds. By day, she’s a proper lady who teaches music and manners to schoolgirls, but at night she goes rogue, cat-woman style, and roams the London streets as the Black Angel, holding scandalous gentlemen to account for their wicked, immoral ways. How do we not love a heroine who ties up her hero, steals his most prized possession, then scales the side of his house to return it when she realizes she’s made a mistake? She has a tattoo, too, and this was way before tattoos became a thing.
It’s not every day a chance steal $150 million in jewels comes your way, you know. So, wake up, choose your posse, and choose wisely, ladies. Don’t invite just any badass into your pack, because once the heist is over and your pockets are stuffed with jewels you’ll be sharing cocktails with your squad, and no one wants to drink with a woman who won’t give you a sip of her margarita.