Sometimes characters standout on their own separate from the story or romantic relationship, other times a character doesn't fully shine until they are paired with their partner who brings out their best, and on rare occasions a character becomes lost when they are paired up. Thus, you'll find maybe I really like a heroine but not if they are part of a couple and maybe I really like a couple but not separately. It was a little bit of a slower year for me with heroes (only 4!?) but in the next installment of Best Couple you'll see the men who shined because of their partner.
She appears cold and rigid at first but as the story goes on it is revealed the brick wall exterior is built from a horrible childhood, death of a child, and a lack of a relationship between her and her husband. She is very easy to sympathize with and as you read on you'll be wishing for her to get her happy ending.
She is a bit naïve at times, she's never been outside her town or away from her clan, a straight talker, tough, sick of men and their delusions of grandeur, and leaving the women and children behind to deal with the fallout of these delusions. The time period and Mairi's backstory really command this novel. You'll want to weep and get angry with Mairi as she deals with the realities of what happens when men go off to war and her refusal to accept certainties.
Every time she remembers a hurtful slur or beating from her father, you'll forgive her for her single-mindedness. She is blinded by the past and clings to the thought that if she could just get alcohol banned, no little girl or woman would have to suffer the way she did. Your heart is going to ache for this character.
Lauren - Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl
She often criticizes herself for not being what she thinks an ideal wife and woman should be. This is partly due to Lauren’s own insecurities and partly due to, what are hinted at, years of little digs by her ex-husband. Many women readers who are Lauren's age or have gone through a similar situation are going to feel a pang in their hearts for her. When she thinks the line "she'd hope that a happy mom was more important for Sawyer than a married one." I know many a woman who is going to have a tear in their eye.
Free is who you want to be. Her character was strong, fierce, and vulnerable; all that is woman.
Brenna - The Laird by Grace Burrowes
What a heartbreaking and inspiring character she is. The shame, guilt, anxiety, strength, heart, and endurance Brenna displays make her a character you will not soon forget.
Mairi's personal turmoil and the lingering effects of the Jacobite uprising shine an incredible light on how historical women fought right along side men, just in sometimes in different ways.
William - Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James
He is your broody, complex, and damaged character with a hint of vulnerability (a childhood trauma) that drives this market.
Cameron - The Whisky Laird’s Bed by Donna MacMeans
Cameron, ooh Cameron, you're going to love him. From the moment he teases Claire for accusing him of being a white slaver to him teaching her how to drink whiskey; you're going to be cheering for him to succeed in opening Claire's heart and mind. Even though her passion is in direct disaccord with his livelihood, he respects, admires it, and is deeply attracted.
Thorne - Into the Shadows by Carolyn Crane
Thorne basically had no family life to speak of, so he doesn't know how to express or understand normal human emotions, trust is as foreign to him as Mars. I was highly impressed with how beautifully and steadily the author portrayed this. He constantly is questioning other people's good intentions toward him and thankfully realistically, never makes a miraculous recovery. The author kept him true to his character and because of this, you just may cry a little on the inside for him (and you may think back to a certain character named Zsadists).
Cannon - No Limits by Lori Foster
Cannon must work to not only show Yvette he is truly committed to her but also help heal the wounds of that past experience they had. The way he holds himself back, the tenderness, the understanding, and how he is willing to keep fighting for Yvette, will have you enchanted and rooting for him all the way. The way Cannon loves Yvette is why the whole romance genre exists in the first place.
There is nothing more attractive than a good man and Cannon is one of the best. I followed along with this character through three books and had outrageous expectations for him in his own story, he lived up to them all.
Next time, Best Couple