As the early reviews began to come in for Lord Langley is Back in Town, I was quite pleased to find that all of them were very favorable. I wanted the story to be funny, but I also wanted the story to have an emotional depth, since it is a story of coming home and about discovering one’s identity, and the reviews I was reading got that. Hurrah!
But one review stood out, and not for its kind words about the book but what it said about Felicity, the heroine of Love Letters from a Duke, and a reoccurring character throughout this series. They wrote:
Felicity was mentioned several times in this book, and as I haven’t read her book yet, I’m not sure if the Felicity that is being depicted here is what I would find when I read her book. Yet, I find myself not liking this Felicity at all. I can understand why she’d want Lucy, Elinor and Minerva (widows related to her husband by marriage) to stay together in one house (to cut down expenses), but to even begrudge them the basic repairs that would make the house livable is I feel too much, especially as I’m sure she’s rich, being a duchess. What happened is that I’m not left with a charitable impression of Felicity. (Romance Reviews)
To be honest, this isn’t the first time that a reviewer or a reader review has nailed poor Felicity for her, ahem, single-mindedness.
I will say here and now, that the Felicity whom we met in This Rake of Mine, who found her heart in Love Letters from a Duke and takes her bow in the last pages of Lord Langley has never changed. Nor would I want her to.
Here is why I love Felicity: she is so wonderfully flawed. She is a determined, bossy, pain in the butt, who will stop at nothing (and I mean nothing) that crosses her plans. We all have friends like this, “my way or the highway” sort of people, who see the world through tunnel vision and have their objectives squarely in their sights. But here is why we keep them as our friends: their intentions are always well-meaning.
There isn’t a vicious bone in Felicity’s body–when she tosses the Standon widows into that tumbledown house, she hasn’t done anything to them that she hasn’t already survived herself. That was her house and she knew how much she wanted out of it, so she knew that desire to rise out of the mire would only motivate the widows to get off their duffs and find their true loves.
Yes, not to freeze, not to starve, but to move beyond the anger and stagnation that was their lives before Felicity kicks them in the butt. She is a matchmaker for one of the best reasons: she knows the redemptive powers of love. It saved her when she met Fletcher, and since then she has done her determined best to make sure everyone else discovers their own “happily ever after” as well.
Oh, her methods are a bit high-handed, I’ll give you that, but here’s my last word on Felicity.
She’s never boring.
I think that is one of the biggest flaws in romance, that we are expected to make our characters likeable, and I don’t argue with that per se, but what I don’t want to do is write about perfect heroines. The sugar sweet sort of Disney heroines of old who float through a magical world into the arms of their waiting prince.
My heroines will never float.
They will cheat, claw and fight their way to that man’s side, and he better be darn worthy of her when she gets there.
So tell me: Do you like characters with flaws? Loads of them? Or just a few? What are your favorite character flaws?
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