Do you ever thank your lucky stars you don’t live in a romance novel? For the most part, they are populated with heroines with perfect skin, tiny waists and shiny locks. There isn’t a blemish, love handle or bad hair day in sight. I admit, it gives me a complex. No wonder the beautifully sculpted hero falls madly in lust with her, I can’t help fantasizing about her, either. However, I like my heroine with some flaws. I like to read about her frizzy hair, a belly that shows her love of chocolate and some occasional lipstick on teeth. I can relate. It brings her to life in a way that a Greek goddess of a heroine never could.
As this is the case, if I see a book has been categorized as a Plain Jane or Wallflower story, I am all over it. I know I can sit down with my chocolate bar, that’s at least the size of my head, without feeling guilt, as I won’t be comparing myself to an unattainable paragon of womanhood. And anything that allows me to eat chocolate unhindered is golden. So, I have put together a top three of my favorite “Plain Janes” across three different genres to spread that love around.
Butterface by Avery Flynn
I’ve found that within a Plain Jane story the heroine will change in some way and suddenly, WHAM! Everyone realises she isn’t quite as plain as they thought. Maybe she stops wearing ugly, ill-fitting clothes, loses weight or start wearing contact lenses, whatever it is she changes. I always feel cheated when that happens. What if the heroine likes those ill-fitting clothes and prefers wearing glasses? Or doesn’t mind some extra padding? That’s why I really liked Butterface by Avery Flynn. The heroine doesn’t change in anyway, she was (and I hate saying it) unattractive at the beginning of the book and didn’t go through major reconstructive surgery to fit societal standards of beauty. Why should she? She was awesome. And, I loved reading as our straight-laced hero falls head over heels for the girl everyone else just discarded as ugly.
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean
Historical Romance has plenty of Wallflower (aka 18th Century Plain Jane stories!) books; I could populate this entire list with just my favourites in this genre. But, I wanted to pick the one that I loved the most, the one that I have reread many times and still adore it just as much. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is Sarah Maclean’s debut and it still remains my favourite of all her romances -although the rest are fantastic as well. Why does it stick out so much in my mind? The heroine, Callie. Sick of being shunted to the sides of ballrooms and overlooked she makes a list. A list of all the things she wishes to do. On top of the list, a kiss. Watching Callie fulfil the items on the list weaves from funny to romantic and is a pleasure to read.
Veronica’s Dragon by Ruby Dixon
Ruby Dixon has become a staple of my reading diet. I just love her books. Maybe part of the reason for this, aside from the sexy aliens and dragons, is because she has lots of Plain Janesque type of heroines peppered within her books. One of my recent favourites is Veronica from Veronica’s Dragon by Ruby Dixon, the second in her Icehome series. Veronica is a little clumsy, a little plain and stuck on a brand new freezing cold planet with a group of other, more attractive, women. But, the impossibly gorgeous golden man won’t stop staring at her… This whole store was adorable, Veronica was very unsure of herself at the beginning but soon came into her own. I finished reading with a massive smile on my face and a huge desire to be abducted by aliens for a chance with my very own alien dragon.