Have you picked up a romance novel or two lately?
This is the perfect time of year for light, frothy books celebrating the twists and turns of the heart.
Tall, dark, brooding alpha males with a penthouse and multimillion-dollar company are out.
Warm, kind, positive male leads are in.
The New Breed of Romantic Hero
Kaitlin Olson, senior editor at Atria, calls this new breed of heroes “cinnamon rolls” and “golden retrievers.”
Cinnamon rolls are sweet, supportive, and kind.
Golden retrievers are warm, positive, and a bit goofy.
These guys may be gruff or socially inept. They may have a lot to learn.
But they’re not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve.
They take good care of their parents. They’re great with kids. They fall in love before she does.
The Kind of Man a Modern Woman Craves
Romance novels have always reflected women’s fantasies.
The first romances I ever read were Harlequin classics from the 1980s, the heydey of Fabio.
At the time, I wasn’t terribly interested in pirates, princes, and warriors. I felt sorry for women who needed saving.
I wanted to read about swashbuckling women who set off to find adventure, make their own fortune, and fall in love with a man who was in every way their partner and equal.
I’m not the only one. As I’ve aged into the romance genre’s target demographic (college-educated women in their 40s), the genre has evolved to reflect a different generation’s values, experiences, and aspirations.
The alpha male that graced the cover of my mother’s romance novels has morphed into the quintessential good guy, the kind of guy who coaches a kids’ soccer league, hits the gym, and makes time for his friends.
You might never get abducted by pirates, chosen by a prince, or wined and dined by a Christian Grey.
But that guy you bumped into at the grocery store or post office might just be the goofy and kind hero you’ve been waiting for.