Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Redeeming the Bad Boy Hero in Christian Romance (plus book giveaway)

By Narelle Atkins 

If you browse a number of romance titles, you’ll find the bad boy hero is a popular story line in the romance genre. 

Why is the bad boy hero appealing to romance readers? 

I confess to having a soft spot for the bad boys in romantic fiction. They’re far from perfect and have made their fair share of mistakes. A bit rough around the edges, they’re not afraid to take on the challenges of life and they exhibit many heroic traits. I’m an Aussie and it’s a national sport to back the underdog. In a romance the underdog is often the bad boy hero, fighting seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve his goals. 

In a Christian romance, it is God’s redeeming love that saves the bad boy hero and enables him to form a lasting and loving relationship with the heroine. Of course, the heroine will usually play a role in helping the hero in his spiritual journey, but it’s his faith that gives him the strength to become a better person.

The Christian romance genre, and Christian fiction in general, has been criticized for having characters who are too perfect. Iola Goulton wrote an excellent response to an article that claimed Christian romances feature Mr Perfect. You can read Iola’s thoughts here.

We don’t need to read very far into the Bible to discover that many of our Biblical heroes were far from perfect. King David is a good example, and one of my favorite heroes from the Bible. David was a mighty warrior and a man after God’s own heart. He was also human, like the rest of us, and made his share of mistakes including an adulterous affair with Bathsheba that had deadly consequences. 

My new release, Winning Over the Heiress, features a former bad boy hero. Sean has made plenty of mistakes in his life, and you can see his bad boy past in full flight in Her Tycoon Hero, the previous book in the series. Julia, my heroine, is the good Christian girl who has mostly done everything right. Sparks fly when she ends up becoming Sean’s boss in the church office. Sean’s very aware of his need for God’s grace, and he challenges Julia’s thoughts and ideas on many levels.




CAN SEAN MITCHELL BE REDEEMED? 

His new boss, Julia Radcliffe, isn't so sure. A year ago, Sean walked out on his brother's wedding—and her. Now the bad boy with the surfer good looks is back and determined to make a new life with Julia. She wonders whether she can truly trust that he's a changed man. 

It took time and faith, but Sean is finally on the right path. And his feelings for Julia have only grown stronger. But when Sean's past threatens to jeopardize their future, can he convince Julia they both want the same thing—a love that can overcome every mistake?


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I’m giving away a print copy of Winning Over the Heiress (worldwide, wherever The Book Depository delivers) to a reader who leaves a comment on this post and enters the Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

15 comments:

  1. Hi Narelle. I recently saw a comment criticising Christian romance for relying too much on the bad boy hero. So on one hand the hero is too perfect, on the other that he is too bad! I love stories of redemption though I think in real life one needs to be very careful about giving one's heart to a "bad boy" in the hopes that you (or God) can redeem him. Sometimes that happens, often it doesn't, which can lead to a lot of heartache. However, Sean seems to want to do the right thing by Julia and God.

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    1. Hi Jeanette, it's interesting how people have different perspectives and it's great that there are a range of stories available in the Christian romance genre.

      I agree, the redemption issue needs to be handled carefully. We can't ignore the Biblical passages that talk about being unequally yoked. We also can't save our spouse or expect them to change. It's God who redeems us and that's one point where Christian romance stories are different to many of the romances available in the general market.

      I've read a few contemporary romances where I've closed the book thinking about how it was a great story, but the hero is going to make a lousy husband. The challenge for Christian romance authors is to make the happily-ever-after ending both satisfying and plausible.

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  2. This is why I like fiction, because of the "fairy tale" endings! What I see in most Christian romance books (I've read a lot), is God's redeeming grace even for the bad boys. I love reading about how they once were, living for the world & themselves to God getting a hold of their hearts & changing them completely around! I think every one of us can relate to this....we were once sinners living for ourselves & then God got a hold of us! Redeeming Grace by a loving heavenly Father.
    I say, as long as there is a balance in each Christian romance...neither too "bad" or too "perfect" (really, is there such a thing?)...it is good in my book! Thank you for a chance to win a copy of "Winning over the Heiress". I would glady add this to my collection!

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    1. Hi Trixi, I agree and I love seeing characters grow and change during the story. Characters who come across as perfect are usually boring characters. There's no room for any character growth in the story if they have it all together and don't make any mistakes. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing :)

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  3. I really like reading fiction where you can clearly see the grace and mercy of God at work in the lives of the characters. They are the kind of books that I want to share with friends - particularly where talking about God and the Bible will only alienate your friend, but where fiction is safe because you can still give them the gospel.

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    1. Hi Beth, I agree, fiction can be a wonderful way of sharing our faith with our friends. They can see how God works in the lives of fictional people by seeing His love, grace and mercy in action. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing :)

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  4. Love Christian fiction. I love the themes, the purpose and the hope that Christian fiction gives, happy feelings, and wholesome values.

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    1. Hi Sonja, I agree and I love the hope and encouragement that Christian romance stories can give readers who may be struggling with various issues. I like writing and reading happy stories with wholesome values. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing :)

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  5. Don't mind a 'bad-boy' hero myself! Much more interesting to read about than Mr Nice Guy. I've enjoyed the conflict with all your literary heroes so far, Narelle - this one will be no different :)

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    1. Hi Andrea, I agree and Mr. Nice Guy Hero needs to have a few interesting flaws to be appealing to me as a reader. I hope Winning Over the Heiress lives up to your expectations :)

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  6. I don't like a hero that is too perfect. That is not real and it is more interesting if they have their faults to overcome.

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    1. Hi Susan, I also love real characters who have faults and issues they need to overcome. Thanks for commenting and good luck in the drawing :)

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  7. This is the first time I've come across your books, looking forward to getting to know them :-)

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    1. Hi cobwebcottage, Thanks for stopping by :) I hope you'll have an opportunity to read my books. Good luck in the drawing!

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  8. Congratulations Trixi! You've won the giveaway :) I've sent you an email to organise the delivery of your book.

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