How do you feel about a hero or heroine who isn’t physically perfect? As a reader, are you interested in those kinds of characters? What about as a writer—are these the kinds of characters you want to introduce and develop in your storylines?


The first book I ever read with an “imperfect” hero was THE TIGER’S WOMAN, by Celeste De Blasis. The story takes place in San Francisco, 1869, and seems to be one of those that people either love or hate. For me, it was an eye-opener—I’d never read a strong, masculine, virile hero who had any kind of infirmity. Jason Drake’s is a limp.                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Tigers-Woman-Celeste-Blasis/dp/038529042X/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431908341&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=The+Tiger%27s+Woman+by+Celeste+DeBlassis  

The Tiger's Woman








Another one that comes to mind is A ROSE IN WINTER by Kathleen Woodiwiss. The heroine is “sold” by her father to pay his gaming debts to a mysterious man, Lord Saxton, who keeps himself covered to hide disfiguring scars from a terrible fire. I can’t say too much about these books without giving away spoilers, but both of them have many reviews that speak for them and their quality.











Mary Balogh’s book SIMPLY LOVE (one of the “Simply” quartet) is the story of an English aristocrat who has lost his arm and eye, and his face has been disfigured on one side. These are war injuries from “the Peninsula Wars”—and of course, he believes no woman will ever want him. He’s become reclusive. Enter Anne Jewell, mother of a nine-year-old son. UNWED mother, to be exact. http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Love-Quartet-Mary-Balogh/dp/0440241979/ref=sr_1_23?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431908938&sr=1-23&keywords=mary+balogh










Our own Kathleen Rice Adams has a short story, THE LAST THREE MILES, in the Prairie Rose Publications anthology, WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS (yep, another Christmas story!) “Can a lumber baron and a railroad heiress save a small Texas town?” With Kathleen writing it, you can bet they’re going to give it their best shot, even though Kathleen’s hero in this one is confined to a wheelchair!


Available in paperback and e-book
Available in paperback and e-book








My own foray into writing a hero with a physical impairment is more modern. It’s a Christmas short story called THE WISHING TREE. Our hero, Pete Cochran, has been to the Middle East and suffered a devastating wound—the loss of an eye—shortly before he was to come home. Now, he works at his dad’s Christmas tree lot, just trying to heal his own mind and spirit…and then, a miracle happens. Maria Sanchez and her son, Miguel, stop by the lot one day and everything changes. You all know I believe in happy endings, but I don’t want to give any spoilers!


FSPThe Wishing Tree Web

What about heroines? I’ve read books about heroines who have been lame—I can’t remember the titles right now. How do you feel about “imperfect” heroines? Are those more interesting than the heroes who suffer a permanent wound?

I would love to hear from everyone about this. I’m very curious as to what y’all think. So let’s hear it—and if you have read any books to add to this list please DO!

I know it’s not Christmas, but I will be giving away 2 digital copies of THE WISHING TREE to two lucky commenters today! Thanks so much for coming by!

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
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  1. These sound like really good books. I like a hero or heroine who isn’t perfect. It makes them more real and loveable to me.

    • Janine, I think that’s true, too. Of course, so many of our heroes are emotionally wounded, but physically perfect–or nearly so. I really like these ones that aren’t the “norm”.

  2. I have read both Rose in Winter and Simply Love.. Both of those books were wonderful stories.. My take, we all have some flaw we see, but people who really love and care about us don’t see the flaws, whether they are physical or spiritual. I always say you have to open the book, not just look at the cover, to discover the beauty inside.

    • Kathleen, the way you phrased that is just beautiful. And it’s so true — literally and metaphorically. No one knows what’s inside until he or she has looked beyond the cover. 🙂

      • Yes…I sometimes picture every book in the world with the same cover–just a solid color, like blue or red or green. What would make us pick up one book from another? These are good thoughts, you two Kathleens!

  3. I like to see a character show their flaws whether they are physical or not… it makes them who they are… and I like to see how they overcome obstacles to find happiness.

  4. What a provocative post, Cheryl. I clearly remember that Woodiwiss story and how she’d rub her hands over his scars in the dark. (Sorry if that’s a spoiler, I found it hot.) I think readers identify with heroes with imperfections; I don’t now if it’s our nurturing ways or what. I remember a college friend had a brother in a wheelchair and I found him almost irresistible. Would I if he had been on his feet? I don’t know…Just yesterday my friend Nancy told of a high school acquaintance who lost his arm and leg as a youth in an explosion on his farm and yet found love and marriage and a bunch of kids. So I myself love hearing of those things in real life, and reading them in books!

    • Tanya, I was like you–I thought those scenes in A Rose in Winter were VERY hot. I do think that heroes have so much character–both in fiction and in real like–that the physical impairments become truly forgotten in the story of life and love.

  5. A disability does not take away from the goodness of a person. I have all of Kathleene Woodiwiss’s books. She was a wonderful writer.

    • Goldie, I agree with you! It changes things for the hero/heroine and the story itself, but I like that it puts some “wondering” into the plot. Yes, I loved Kathleen Woodiwiss’s books, too!

  6. I really don’t want the hero or heroine to be perfect because in realy life no one is perfect so I don’t want it in books either. I like to read different things so if the heroine is flawed that is something a little different.

    • I think so, too, Quilt Lady. I’ve always related that to my grandmother’s younger sister, Cora, who got polio as a young child. She had to use crutches, but got around on them very well (of course) and did everything that everyone else did–cooked, held down a job, lived alone, etc. She had offers of marriage, but never would, because she “didn’t want to be a burden” on anyone! I’ve always thought that was so sad–she was such a beautiful, wonderful person.

  7. interesting post,I dont mind charactors that arent perfect,we are all non perfect though some may think they are,,each of us has our own set of issues and some impairments,,when ppl are in love they dont see the bad parts usually just the good,when my husband and I got married,,second time for each of us,,he was fully aware of some of my illnesses,,but he didnt see the sick me,he saw the other me that comes out too,,whats that saying,love is blind,,sometimes its okay to be

    • Vickie, that is just how love is supposed to be, in my book! Overlooking the flaws and seeing the “you” behind it all. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. I find imperfect characters endearing. I guess they are more like me. I am far from perfect.

    • Connie, I do, too. I’m far from perfect, for sure. And I know my capacity to love would not be held to finding a “perfect” man. Like you, I find the imperfect ones more endearing sometimes.

  9. Wonderful post, Cheryl! I read all but Kathleen Woodiwus’ last book. A Rose in Winter is one of my favorites. I too think a physical flaw, and the character finding their way around it and grasping as much joy out of life as they possibly can (at the end of the story of course!) is very endearing. Their struggle becomes that much more poignant when they have such insurmountable odds. I’m thinking there is one book I’ve heard hailed as one of the best of this sort — Laura Kinsale’s Flowers in the Storm.(Correct me if I’m wrong!)I would like to read that book!

    • Hi Kathryn! Thanks so much for stopping by today. I’ve been out of pocket most of the day and am late in my answers to everyone. I have not heard of the book you mentioned, but will add it to my list. I love these stories–sounds like another good one.

  10. Even though we all love the hunky, handsome heroes and gorgeous, perfect heroines, it is good to read about not only the “real people” like the rest of us but also those that have some kind of physical impairment that will certainly add additional challenge to the everyday challenges of life. Sometimes these are the best stories because so much has to be overcome for that happy ending. “Love is blind” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” can be true if we’re not selfish and shallow. There is a classic movie “The Enchanted Cottage” about a wounded war veteran and a very plain woman who discover their inner beauty through their love and that is how they see each other – handsome and beautiful. (I think there was a book first but from what I hear the movie is much better.)

    My husband had a co-worker years ago who would always preface his conversation about family with “I know my wife isn’t very good looking, but ….” Hubby was bewildered: how can he not think she’s beautiful, she’s his wife!

    • Sally, I felt profound sadness at the co-worker who always had to mention “I know my wife isn’t very good looking, but…” Like your husband, I would have been bewildered. (And it would have been so hard to keep from saying, “Here I was all this time, wondering how YOU caught HER!”) I remember that movie The Enchanted Cottage! Oh how wonderful it was! That was a great story, wasn’t it? Thanks for reminding me of that–I’d forgotten it. And thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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