Redeeming the Seemingly Unredeemable Heroine by Cindy Kirk
Let’s face it, as readers we love strong heroines. Even those quiet, shy Regency heroines usually end up having a spine of steel beneath their exterior softness. Or, if they don’t start out strong, we follow their journey as they stand up for themselves, become their own person and embrace their strengths.
However, sometimes, a heroine starts off being too strong, too abrasive. This happened to me in my Good Hope series, with Eliza Shaw. Here are some comments by early reviewers of SAY I DO IN GOOD HOPE about the indominable Ms. Shaw:
“In previous Good Hope books Eliza was a character I didn't really like. She came off as brusque and judgmental, sometimes just plain mean. “Marcia
“In previous books, Eliza has come off as a mean, standoffish person.” Julie
“I can honestly say I wasn’t holding out much hope for Eliza’s story as she was a character whom I disliked, she was domineering, overbearing & bossy.” Anita
Marcia, Julie and Anita were absolutely correct in their assessment of Eliza’s character. She did some VERY mean things to other characters. I didn’t much like her either… although she was lots of fun to write. ??
The problem arose when it was time to write her book and I was faced with the task of making her, well, likeable. Not easy for a character who evokes such words as “mean, domineering, overbearing and bossy.” And that’s by no means a comprehensive list of her character flaws.
What makes us change our mind about a character?
In my opinion, it’s getting to know the “WHY” of her actions, which is what these reviewers seem to be saying.
“Who suspected that Eliza was really just a "tootsie pop", hard exterior with a soft inside?” TSKnoxville
“It just proves that you really don't know someone until you understand what lies beneath the exterior.” Barb
“This novel gives insight into her past and present situations accounting for her blunt, no nonsense attitude.” Laurie
Once we understand the forces in their past that makes them the way they are, we usually cut them some slack. We find ourselves empathizing with their internal struggles, with family situations or events in the past we had no knowledge of previously.
And, like the shy Regency heroine, we root for this heroine as we see her becoming a kinder, gentler version of herself, open to love and friendship. Is she still a bit a caustic at times? Of course. For her to have a complete about-face wouldn’t be realistic.
Remember the old saying—and I’m paraphrasing here--to understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes? I believe that’s the key to understanding the seemingly unredeemable heroine.
If we as authors let the reader get into the head of the character, the odds are good the reader will understand and love her. As my editor on this project said, “our girl (which is how we referred to Eliza) deserves happiness.” If you get a chance to read her story, I think you’ll agree!
Say I Do in Good Hope - A Good Hope Novel Book 5
Sometimes love is right on your doorstep...
Eliza Shaw has never met a crisis she couldn’t manage. If her father thinks she’s going to take his attempt at selling the family home out from underneath her, then he clearly doesn’t know her at all. She‘ll chain herself to the banister if she has to...
Kyle Kendrick doesn’t have time for the hassle of an eviction. He definitely doesn’t have time for Eliza Shaw’s drama – even if she does look distractingly gorgeous when she’s furious. His sister is arriving in Good Hope and he needs a home. Now.
Neither Kyle nor Eliza is thrilled at the idea of sharing the house, but it’s the only sensible solution. Now if they could each just stop fantasizing about their new roommate this crazy plan might just work. And if they’re lucky, what started out as playing house could end up giving them the home and family they’ve both desperately yearned for.
MORE IN THE SERIES
Christmas in Good Hope - A Good Hope Novel, #1
Summer in Good Hope - A Good Hope Novel, #2
Be Mine in Good Hope - A Good Hope Novel, #3
Forever in Good Hope - A Good Hope Novel Book 4
Cindy Kirk is a lifelong Nebraska resident who started writing after taking a class at a local community college. But her interest in the written word started years before when she was in her teens. At sixteen she wrote in her diary, “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer.”
Cindy and her high school sweetheart husband live on an acreage with two dogs and two cats—Oreo--a friendly feline who loves to sit next to the computer and supervise her writing and Leo, a white devil with a raccoon-like tail.