Irredeemable Rakes and Rogues
What makes a rake or rouge irredeemable? Is there such a thing? If so, what is it?
Those are questions I asked myself as I created Heath, Earl of Ravensdale, my darkest hero yet. His story, Wagers Gone Awry (Conundrum of the Misses Culpepper, Book 1) just launched, and I do worry readers won’t warm up to him.
Like most haunted heroes, he has redeeming qualities, but are his strengths enough to overcome his blatant faults? I don’t see Heath as the classic anti-hero, like Erik, the phanton from the Phantom of the Opera or Jason Bourne in The Bourne Trilogy, but Heath’s not the smiling conqueror to the rescue either.
He’s more likely to say, “Bloody hell, won’t do to send five penniless females packing, more’s the pity,” than, “You’ll never have another worry again.”
Perhaps the humanity of rakes and rogues, those rakehells who are often perceived as part rebellious, part selfish, and part bad boy is what makes them so intriguing. But at what point do they cross the line into hopeless creeps? Is that a purely individual perception of each reader?
Romance readers enjoy escaping from reality by delving into a well-written story, yet the characters must still be believable and that means they have flaws. Oh, we’ve all read about the swearing, cocky, indifferent hero who will watch his enemy perish with a half-smile on his perfectly molded mouth, yet he’ll rush to the aid of a duckling crossing the road.
Flaws make our champions human, but how human do we want them? Let’s face it, the world is full of scumbags (rich, sexy, handsome and poor, balding, and pudgy). Do readers want to read about those kinds of lowlifes? More on point, can readers relate to them as the protagonist? Libertines do exist, after all.
If the roué is contrite and apologetic, can we let him start anew? What if he repeats his poor behavior? Again and again?
I know the troll reviewer who insists every woman born since the inception of time who doesn’t bash men over their heads when they do something she doesn’t like is screeching, “Off with his…”
Well, you get the idea.
She’s also calling the rest of us, and our kindhearted heroine’s, doormats. Is she right? Are we doormats for forgiving the cur? When is enough, enough?
What about the average reader? You know, the one who if he/she doesn’t want a happily-ever-after, at least wants to like the hero by the end of the story.
I’ve read a few books where I didn’t like him (or her) even after I reached the last page. I’m not sure that’s the author’s fault. After all, don’t we each have some things that bother us more about people than others? I’ve had readers rave over a hero while others have basically said he was a sorry sot. Still, I don’t like how I feel after finishing a story when I didn’t care for the hero.
Here’s an Excerpt from Wagers Gone Awry
It seemed most unfair that he should be gifted with wealth, looks, and a physique to rival a Greek god’s. An attractive package on the exterior perhaps, but the trappings hid a blackguard’s treacherous heart.
With a great deal of difficulty, he struggled into his coat, the wetness and tight fit presenting a humorous challenge. Swearing beneath his breath, he wriggled and twisted. Had her life not been shattered, she might’ve chuckled at his antics.
His elbow caught at an awkward angle near his ear, and he curled his lip in irritation. He glanced her way and opened his mouth.
She arched a brow.
Don’t you dare ask for my assistance.
Freddy would fart feathers before she offered to help the earl.
He snapped his mouth shut and a closed expression settled on his features. “You know nothing of me, Miss Culpepper, and your blame is sorely misplaced.”
“Indeed. And on whom shall I place the blame then?”
“If you must blame someone, blame your confounded cousin for being a self-centered sot. Blame your father for not providing for you.” At last, he rammed his arm into the sleeve. He waved a hand in the air. “Blame The Almighty for making you a woman, and not a man capable of providing for himself and his family.”
Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25.00 gift card and two autographed copies of Wagers Gone Awry HERE:
For me, an irredeemable rake or rogue is one who continues to put his needs and wants above everyone else’s not caring who he hurts, and he’s also unreliable and untrustworthy.
What about you? What’s your deal-breaker, the thing that makes you want to slap a hero upside the head and say, “Wake up, you insufferable cad!”?