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Friday, September 2, 2011

A Reticule Full of Kryptonite by Author Tessa Dare

I fell in love with Tessa Dare's books when I first read Goddess of the Hunt and over the past two years I've been devouring her books as soon as they're published.  Dare's books have been great from the beginning, and she keeps topping herself with each successive publication.  Her newest book, A Night to Surrender, is her best work so far.  The book is the kick-off for Dare's new Spinster Cove series, and there's already been lots of excited chatter about where Dare will take the series next.

Book cover of A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (historical romance novel in Spinsters Cove)A Night to Surrender: Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men. It is a haven for those who live there. 
Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters…and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army. 
Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle…but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

I'm ecstatic to have Tessa here to talk about creating a wounded heroine with her fabulously titled post, "A Reticule Full of Kryptonite."

Picture of historical romance author Tessa DareTessa Dare: We romance readers love a wounded hero, don’t we?  An otherwise strong, capable leader sidelined by physical injury—usually an injury incurred for a worthy cause.  Perhaps he was defending his country in battle, as in the case of Bram, hero of A Night to Surrender.  Other worthy hero injuries might be obtained whilst defending a lady’s honor in a duel, or rescuing kittens from a burning building.

A wounded hero gives us that perfect mix of strength and vulnerability.  He wants to do everything all on his own, just as he’s always done…but he can’t.  He’s like Superman, come face-to-face with his own mortality.  He’s been humbled.  And most heart-wrenching of all, he wonders… Could any woman find reason to love him as he is?

Well, hello!  That answer’s obvious.  We readers (and the heroine) are there to shout a loud, emphatic YES.  We will not be deterred by his gruff, prickly manner.  We will see through his every attempt to hold us at a distance.  And oh yes, we will love him just as he is.  We will love him in the sea, we will love him ‘neath a tree. We will love him here or there, and we will love him everywhere.

Easy answer. 

But what about wounded heroines? 

I’ve written heroines of all sorts, but A Night to Surrender was my first time writing a truly wounded female lead.  Following her mother’s death, young Susanna Finch was sent to live with relatives.  These relations interpreted Susanna’s emotional turmoil to be the sign of some physical ailment, and they called in doctors who subjected her to a number of (by our modern standards) barbaric quack treatments.  Bleeding, purging, leeches, baths in ice-cold water, and more.  In essence, she was tortured by the same people who were meant to protect her, and as an adult she still bears the scars—inside and out. 

And as much as I enjoy reading or writing a story where the hero learns that yes, he is still lovable even in his wounded state…boy, did I ever love giving Susanna her well-deserved partner.  A hero bent on convincing her that yes, he will love her just as she is.  Imperfections and all.  He will love her in the sea, he will love her ‘neath a tree.  (You may think I’m kidding, but I’m not!  I’m being quite literal.)

Who are some of your favorite wounded heroes or wounded heroines in romance?

Answer Tessa's question in the comments below and be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate!  The more times you enter on Tessa's blog tour, the more chances you have to win!  My answer: I love Abigail Cabot from Susan Wiggs' Halfway to Heaven and Sydnam Butler from Mary Balogh's Simply Love.

Thanks to Judy and Marianne from Goddess Fish Promotions for arranging Tessa Dare's visit. And don't forget to support Tessa, Avon Books and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in supporting the K.I.S.S. and Teal campaign!  Enter the giveaway for TWO K.I.S.S. and Teal books here!

Romance Novel Book Reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm (tessa dare spindle cove historical romance)


  1. I have just re-read GONE WITH THE WIND, so Scarlett is very fresh in my mind. I know some people don't like her, but she was just trying to survive. Definitely wounded to my way of thinking.


  2. The first book that came to mind was Mary Balogh's Simply Love where Sydnam Bulter was an artistic man who felt he needed to go war to prove himself just like his brother. He comes back home severely burned on one side of his body and his right arm amputated.

  3. The one who comes to my mind from recently read romances is Robert Carroway from England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch. He comes home from Napoleonic wars wounded and not speaking to anyone and obviously having a secret that troubles him.

  4. Hi Tessa! :) Lovely post. I started ANTS last night and can't wait to dive right back in!

    Lisa Kleypas did a great job of portraying a wounded heroine in Again the Magic with Lady Aline Marsden. She and the hero McKenna were separated under cruel circumstances, and she suffers severe burns on her leg after being caught in a fire. McKenna does a great job showing the leg and scars don't mean a thing to him, and he can happily make love to her despite her being "disfigured.".

  5. Off hand, Scarlett O'Hara comes to mind for the heroine..while she lived the perfect genteel life, she was wounded by the times in which she lived, but she is definetely a survivor.

    So many heroes have physical wounds but the one who comes to my mind is Ian MacKenzie, the star of Jennifer Ashley's book 'The Madness of Ian MacKenzie'. He spent his youth in an asylum, not a place you'd want to be in the 1800's..but he overcame his issues and found and married the love of his life.

  6. Loved the mind is almost blank about the wounded heroine but then I rememembered a heroine i liked who had been wounded...Countess Zosia Kwiatowska from Delilah Marvelle's book
    The Perfect Scandal ...she was physically wounded (victim of a fire)and yet so strong and I loved her!


  7. I guess for me the one that stands out is Scarlett O'Hara, a very battered soul, but a survivor.

    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  8. Wounded heroine to me is Sheridan Bromleigh from Judith McNaught's Until You! She lost her "fiance" in a terrible accident but before she even found out, she was hit on the head by a bunch of crates and lost her memory! So in a way she was physically and mentally wounded until her hero comes through of course!

    reviewsbyabby at gmail dot com

  9. Lisa ~ Yes! I forgot about Aline and McKenna! So great. Actually, Kleypas has a ton of wounded characters that really resonate. Evie from The Devil in Winter and Christopher Phelan from Love in the Afternoon.

    Karen ~ Ian is one of my favorite heroes ever! Great answer!

    Abby ~ I agree! Although I still think Stephen needs to do even more groveling at the end. I've never been satisfied with that book's resolution. If I remember correctly, he doesn't even really say, "I love you," right?

  10. Wow! What a great review and comments. And Tessa's decription of the heroine & hero really makes me want to read this book.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  11. Ian from The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, for sure! Also Z from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series :-)


  12. Heroes that I thought of immediately were Damien from Gaelen Foley's LORD OF ICE and Piers from Eloisa James WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST and Larissa Ione's Wraith from the Demonica series (mental and physical abuse). A heroine that immediately jumped in my mind was Zosia from Delilah Marvelle's THE PERFECT SCANDAL, also the hero from that book had emotional wounds. Also the hero from the first book in the scandal series PRELUDE TO A SCANDAL, Bradford had a physical scar, not caused by war though.

    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  13. Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for having me today. I'm loving all these ideas. A big YES to Lord, what a great wounded hero. And it's so interesting that Scarlett O'Hara comes to mind as the ultimate survivor heroine. She did go through a lot and is a captivating character for it.

  14. Since I'm a big fan of paranormal romance, when you talk about wounded heroes, I immediately thought about the brothers from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and specifically Zsadist as one of the ultimate survivors.


  15. I absolutely love these stories and I'm taking note of these suggestions to look up some of these books. The book that comes to my mind is a contemporary romance by Laura Leone called Fallen From Grace. The hero, Ryan, is a male prostitute, not really by choice, but after suffering through abuse as a teenager and being "rescued" by a high-class madam. He wants to escape that life, but she keeps on controlling him, until he meets the heroine and she gives him the courage to get out. It was a very intense and angsty read.
    jen at delux dot com

  16. I'm so looking forward to reading this one. I admit it will be my first Tessa Dare book - because I just haven' been drawn to the others -and I'm so excited to read about these people, whom I hear are awesome.

    Lovely interview!

  17. "My personal theory of romance, which often comes out in my novels, is that we’re all looking for the person who accepts us for our worst selves, but empowers us to be our best selves. "
    I love this! This is as about perfect a definition for romance I've ever heard.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com


  18. Some of my favorite wounded heroes are Zarek and Acheron form Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series.


  19. I agree with Jeanette... Acheron and Zarek are very wounded, probably my favorite. They not only went through so much but they finally have they're happy endings... But there are 2 more that stay on my mind, Z and V from BDB. =D

  20. Great post! This book sounds amazing and I'd love to read it!



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