When I first started to read romance novels, the heroines were young and beautiful, but that seemed to be the only requirement. Most of the heroines were teenagers so didn’t have careers, and they were often times the ward of a brooding, handsome guardian whom she didn’t understand and who was attracted to her even though he knew he shouldn’t be.

Times have changed. In today’s romance novels, the women are 21st century heroines, who are strong, independent and can be financially set.

These women can still be beautiful, though I chuckle when the author describes the heroine as having too wideset eyes or lips too full. People pay big bucks for wideset eyes and full lips. In other ways, these women are beautiful though maybe in unique ways, but I digress. These heroines come in all shapes and sizes. They’re no longer petite. They can easily be six feet and taller. They don’t have to be svelte. There are genres that cater toward curvy women.

In my latest Crystal Creek novel, Imagine the Kiss, the heroine bemoans that she isn’t slim like her half-sisters. She’s curvy, but she’s accepted her physical appearance and devotes her energy to her talents—she’s a gifted violinist.

The women in today’s novels are complete without the love of a man, though loving a man does make their lives fuller. They have careers. They accept their weaknesses and strengths. They’re self-supporting. They know who they are, what they want and how they’ll get there. The men in their lives have to accept them for who they are. They don’t have to remake themselves to be attractive.  They are who they are—take it or leave it. They’re not perfect, they make mistakes, but they move on from those mistakes.

It’s refreshing to read about these women, and even at my age, I find them inspiring. I like the modern heroine. It’s nice to read about confident women who reflect the age we live in and reaffirm that we should accept ourselves for who we are because we’re perfect just the way we are.

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