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Monday, February 27, 2012


Why I Love Spinster Heroines

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! I’m really excited to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart – the proliferation of spinster heroines in Regency romances. What is it with these “on the shelf” ladies, and why are they all propping up the ballroom walls, waiting for discerning dukes to sweep them off their feet?

First, an anecdote. While I was visiting my family in Iowa over Christmas, my grandmother (a wonderful woman whom I love greatly, despite her occasional, ahem, lack of tact) asked me several times about the status of my life and relationships. Upon reminding her, yet again, that I’m currently single (the horror!), she finally said, “so you’re an old maid.” Thanks, Grandma!

My grandmother may not realize it, but women today are marrying later and later; census results show that more men and women are never marrying at all. The 2010 census found that, for what may be the first time ever, unmarried women (including divorcees and widows) outnumber married women in the US. Unmarried at 30, I’m not raising any eyebrows from a statistical standpoint.

So to me, it’s little wonder that heroines in Regency romances are trending older. I’ve always thought Regencies are popular because that time period mirrors our own time period in a lot of ways. And, as usual, the heroines of “Romancelandia” are continuing to morph into women who could be our modern-day friends, sisters, or daughters.

The latest crop of Regency heroines are older, more mature, more aware of what they want, but still facing biological/societal pressure as they get older to make the perfect match. All those spinsters feel a lot like the many 20- and 30-something women I know who have had wildly successful careers, but have found less success with the 21st century marriage mart. For me, romance novels aren’t just an escape, but an opportunity for a reader to connect emotionally with characters going through similar situations (albeit with much more fabulous wardrobes) and, through them, the reader hopefully learns more about her own heart.

In my debut book, HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE, Lady Madeleine Vaillant is a very proper spinster. But at night, in disguise, she’s the hottest actress of the Season. It was so fun to write her because she faces many of the choices we all face: between love and career, family and passion, dreams and expectations. Like all of us, there isn’t a “wrong” choice for her to make – but she has to finally, truly understand herself to be happy with the life she’s made.

What do you think about spinsters in romance novels? Do you prefer older heroines? Or do you think the trend has been overdone? A lucky commenter will win an ebook of HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE!

About the Author:
Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency historical romances. She won the prestigious 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award with her first book, Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (formerly titled An Inconvenient Marriage). The prequel, Heiress Without A Cause (formerly titled One Night to Scandal), was a 2011 Golden Heart finalist.

Sara grew up in a small town in Iowa, and her obsession with fashion, shoes, and all things British is clearly a rebellion against her hopelessly uncool youth. She graduated from Stanford University in 2003 with a degree in Symbolic Systems (also known as cognitive science) and a minor in history. Sara subsequently worked at Google for seven years in a variety of sales, management, and communications roles. She left Google in 2010 to pursue her writing career full time. Read all about her Regency obsessions and upcoming works at Or, follow her slightly ridiculous Twitter feed, @Sara_Ramsey.



Debby said...

I enjoy older heroines. They seem to know their minds and are not afraid of acting on their impulses.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Na said...

I welcome all sort of heroines and spinsters can be pretty good characters. It shows me that love can occur at any age and there'sa first and second chance for everyone. A spinster in historical times is more likely to not conform to society's norms and that makes them interesting.


Barbara E. said...

I like reading stories that feature a spinster heroine - sometimes it takes a while for the right man to come along. I enjoy reading about all different ages, but the older woman is enjoyable because she has life experiences and possibly some baggage that may cause her to give the hero a hard time getting her to fall for him. I don't think the trend has been overdone, I'm still interested. :D

Barbed1951 at aol dot com