The Hero. That paragon of virtue and upstanding manhood, whose gruff exterior belies his sensitive, courageous heart. Sometimes. Whose motivations are always pure. Usually. The gentleman who never causes harm, most especially to his beloved’s delicate heart. Maybe.
Love them or hate them, all men are flawed. Yes, that means even Mr. Darcy had his off days. After all, his overweening pride certainly got in the way of his feelings for Elizabeth Bennett for quite a while.
But what about the truly flawed hero? The man who has a weakness that has driven him to commit the cardinal sin in any romance: causing true emotional pain and suffering, not just to the heroine, but to others as well. Can such a hero be redeemed? And is it worth potentially alienating a reader to craft such a hero?
The answer is both yes and no. Which answer works best for you depends on the story you wish to tell. Flawed heroes work well in some situations, but not necessarily all. Over the next few posts, I’ll take a look at hero types, including the flawed hero, and examine the situations where I think they work best.
Of course, I’m partial to flawed heroes myself. My Regency novel, An Unintended Seduction, has such a hero, and I’ve gotten mixed reviews on his popularity. Some people consider him too flawed, others consider him adequately redeemed, and still others are happy to read about a hero who’s not the perfect, flawless peer of the realm. None of these are wrong, because everyone reads for pleasure, and what brings pleasure to a person is highly individual.
However, if you are considering crafting the flawed hero, remember, not everyone will love him, but not everyone will hate him, either. So craft him well, make him realistic and three-dimensional, and your readers might forgive his flaws and embrace his human frailties as worthy of redemption.