Beauty Is in the Eye...
Romances with characters who are homely, plain, scarred, or do not meet the standards of beauty for their time. This list was originally created in 1996 and reorganized in 1999 into two sub-lists, one for "less than beautiful" characters, the other for characters with physical, mental, or emotional maladies. The lists were totally separated in 2003; click here for the "Disabilities in Romance" list. Plus-sized heroines got their own list in July 2004.
List begun 07/96, updated 06/13
||European Historical Romances
||American Historical/Frontier Romances
- The Irish Devil (2000) by Donna
Fletcher (B at AAR) - Faith is scarred on face, neck and breast.
- The Prize (1991) by Julie Garwood -
Baron Royce (A at AAR) has disfiguring facial scars.
- Tapestry of Dreams (1986) by Roberta
Gellis (B- at AAR) - Hugh Licorne is a homely knight.
- Beauty and the Beast (1992) by Hannah
Howell - Thayer Saitun is plain.
- From This Moment On (2002) by Lynn
Kurland (B at AAR) - Colin of Berkhamshire is loutish, uncouth,
- This Is All I Ask (1997) by Lynn
Kurland (A at AAR) - Gillian Warewick is plain.
- To Kiss in the Shadows in Tapestry (2002) by Lynn Kurland (B at AAR) - Lianna's face is marked.
- The Ransomed Bride (1990) by Elizabeth
Lowther - Sabina Corbyn is plain.
- A Kingdom of Dreams (1989) by Judith
McNaught (A at AAR) - Jennifer Merrick is plain.
- Lady Gallant (1992) by Suzanne
Robinson (A at AAR) - Lady Eleanora (Nora) Becket is plain.
- The Devil's Lady (1994) by Deborah
Simmons - Piers Montmorency has a scarred face.
- Lord of Danger (1997) by Anne Stuart (B- at AAR)
- Simon Navarre has a scarred hand.
- The Secret Pearl (1991) by Mary Balogh (A at AAR)
- Adam Kent, Duke of Ridgeway is hideously scarred.
- Emily and the Dark Angel (1991) by Jo
Beverley (B+ at AAR) - Emily Grantwich is plain.
- A Heart's Treasure (1993) by Teresa
DesJardien - Xavier Ackerly wears an eye patch and
has a scar.
- Her Other Thief (2004) by Glenda
Garland - Lucy Bowes is quite plain.
- Gallant Waif (2001) by Anne Gracie (A at AAR) -
Jack Carstairs has facial scars and a limp.
- Tallie's Knight (2000) by Anne Gracie (A at AAR)
- Thalia Robinson is plain.
- Sprig Muslin (1956) by Georgette Heyer
- Lady Hester Theale is plain.
- Marrying the Royal Marine (2010)
by Carla Kelly (A- at AAR) - Polly Brandon wears spectacles.
- Miss Billings Treads the Boards (1993)
by Carla Kelly (B at AAR) - Lord Henry Grayson is balding and
- Hester Waring's Marriage (2000) by
Paula Marshall - Hester Waring is plain and starving.
- Roses for Harriet (1995) by Patricia
Oliver - Harriet, Lady Egerton is plain.
- The Rake and The Reformer (1989) by
Mary Jo Putney (A at AAR) - Lady Alys is tall and odd-eyed.
- The Weaver Takes (1999) by
Sheri Cobb South (A- at AAR) - Ethan, is a self-made man, no title and average looking.
European Historical Romances
- My Darling Caroline (1998) by Adele
Ashworth (A- at AAR) - Lady Caroline Grayson is plain.
- Friday Dreaming (1994) by Elizabeth
Bailey - Frideswid (Friday) Edborough is plain and
- The Veiled Bride (2000) by Elizabeth
Bailey - Lord Raith has a scarred face.
- First Comes Marriage (2009) by Mary Balogh (A- at AAR)- Vanessa Huxtable is plain.
- Irresistible (1998) by Mary Balogh (C at AAR)-
Sophia Armitage is dowdy.
- Slightly Scandalous (2003) by Mary
Balogh (B at AAR) - Lady Freyja Bedwin is unattractive.
- The Proposal (2012) by Mary
Balogh (B+ at AAR) - Gwendoline, has a damaged leg.
- Dreaming (1994) by Jill Barnett -
Letitia Hornsby is plain.
- A Scandalous Countess (2012) by Jo
Beverley (B at AAR) - Lord Dracy's face is scarred from a burn.
- Secrets of the Night (1999) by Jo
Beverley (B+ at AAR) - Rosamunde has a scarred face.
- Bridal Favors (2002) by Connie
Brockway (A at AAR)- Lady Evelyn is referred to as a "golem" by
- Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte (A at AAR)-
Jane Eyre is plain and mousy.
- Beauty in Black (2004) by Nicole Byrd (B- at AAR)
- John Sinclair, is disfigured
by smallpox scars.
- Only in my Dreams (1998) by Eve Byron
- Baroness Lorelei Winters is overweight.
- Stealing Heaven (1995) by Kimberly
Cates lo- Norah Linton is plain.
- Lord of Scoundrels (1995) by Loretta
Chase (A/B- at AAR) - Sebastian, Marquess of Dain is homely.
- The Sherbrooke Bride (1992) by
Catherine Coulter (A at AAR) - Alexandra Chambers is plain.
- Never a Gentleman (2011) by Eileen Dreyer (B at AAR) - Grace Fairchild is very plain and slightly lame.
- When You Wish (1997) Bewitched by Elizabeth Elliot- Faro Burke is plain.
- The Perfect Rake (2005) by Anne Gracie (B- at AAR) - Prudence Merridew is plain and plump.
- A Gentleman Undone (2012) by Cecilia Grant (B+ at AAR) - Lydia Slaughter's face is described as hawkish.
- Beauty and the Baron (2003) by Deborah Hale - Lucius Daventry is scarred.
- The Raven Prince (2006) by Elizabeth Hoyt (A- at AAR) - Edward de Raaf, is horribly scarred from smallpox.
- Beast (1997) by Judith Ivory (A at AAR) - Charles Harcourt is blind in one eye, scarred, has a
bad knee, and limps.
- The Ugly Duchess (2012) by Eloisa James (B at AAR) - Theodora Saxby, strong features and boyish figure - dubbed as the 'Ugly Duchess' by the tabloids.
- Entwined (1997) by Emma Jensen (B- at AAR) -
Isobel MacLeod is plain with carrot colored hair and
large nose and Nathan Paget, Marquess of Oriel is
scarred and blind.
- Moonlit (2002) by Emma Jensen (B- at AAR) - Trevor
Robard, Viscount St. Wulfstan has a scarred face.
- The Music of the Night (2005) by Lydia
Joyce (A- at AAR) - Sarah Connolly has a scarred face from
- Suddenly You (2001) by Lisa Kleypas (B at AAR) - Amanda Briars, overweight, dowdy.
- The Mystery Kiss (2001) by Judith
Lansdowne (B- at AAR) - Atticus Howard, Earl of Hartshire is
abnormally large with huge ears and Fleur Avondale is
- The Cad (1998) by Edith Layton (B+/C- at AAR) -
Bridget Cooke has a scarred face.
- Blame It On Bath (2012) by Caroline Linden - Lady Katherine Howe considered plain and quiet.
- Secret Fire (1987) by Johanna Lindsey
- Lady Katherine St. John is plain.
- With This Kiss (1999) by Victoria
Lynne (B- at AAR) - Morgan St. James, Viscount Barlowe is
disfigured by burns.
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Duke (2010) by Sarah Maclean (B at AAR) - Lady Callie Hartwell is a bit plain & more full-bodied than current fashion.
- Once and Always (1987) by Judith
McNaught (A at AAR) - Lord Jason Fielding has a scarred back.
- Heather and Velvet (1991) by Teresa
Medeiros (A at AAR) - Prudence Walker is plain and
- Yours until Dawn (2004) by Teresa
Medeiros (B at AAR) - Gabriel Fairchild was scarred in the war
and is blind.
- The Duchess War (2012) by Courtney Milan (B+ at AAR) - Wilhelmina Pursling is scarred.
- The Rake (1998) by Mary Jo Putney (A at AAR) -
Lady Alys is tall and odd-eyed.
- Dangerous (1993) by Amanda Quick -
Prudence Merryweather is plain and bespectacled.
- Ravished (1992) by Amanda Quick (A- at AAR) -
Gideon Westbrook is disfigured and Harriet Pomeroy is
bespectacled and plain.
- Scandal (1991) by Amanda Quick - Emily
Faringdon wears glasses .
- The Viscount Who Loved Me (2000) by
Julia Quinn (A at AAR) - Kate Sheffield is average looking and
virtually unnoticeable next to her sister.
- Tapestry (1995) by Karen Ranney (A at AAR) -
Alex, Earl of Cardiff is terribly scarred.
- The Lady's Tutor (1999) by Robin Schone (A at AAR) -
Elizabeth Petrie, plain, 33 with some gray hair and less than perfect body.
- The Lover (2000) by Robin Schone (B- at AAR) -
Anne Aimes is plain and Michel des Anges has scars on
his hands and face.
- The Devil Earl (1996) by Deborah
Simmons (B+/B at AAR) - HH-317 - Prudence Lancaster is
bespectacled and plain.
- The Last Rogue (1998) by Deborah
Simmons (A at AAR) - HH-427 - Jane Trowbridge is plain and
- Dark Wager (1997) by Mary Spencer -
Lady Clara Harkhams is plain.
- Ruthless (2010) by Anne Stuart (A at AAR) - Elinore Harriman has a long nose.
- Midnight Bandit (1996) by Marlene
Suson - Lady Daniela Winslow is plain.
- Midnight Lord (1995) by Marlene Suson
- Megan Drake is plain.
- My Only Love (1993) by Katherine
Sutcliffe - Olivia Devonshire is plain.
- The Charm School (1999) by Susan Wiggs (B at AAR)
- Isadora Peabody is plain and awkward.
American Historical/Frontier Romances
- Bitterleaf (1983) by Lisa Gregory -
Meredith Whitney is plain.
- Patterns of Love (1998) by Robin Lee
Hatcher (A at AAR) - Inga Linberg is plain one in a family of
- Once a Princess (1991) by Johanna
Lindsey (B at AAR) - Prince Stefan Barany is scarred.
- Logan's Outlaw (2012) by Elaine Levine (A- at AAR) - Sarah Hawkinds, Sioux facial tattoo.
- Reason to Believe (2007) by Maureen McKade (B- at AAR) - Rye Forrester, brand of army deserter.
- Courting Miss Hattie (1991) by Pamela
Morsi - Hattie Colfax is known as "horse-faced
- The Love Charm (1996) by Pamela Morsi
- Armand Sonnier is short and plain.
- Silver Lining (2000) by
Maggie Osborne - Louise Downe, tall, plain, strong, miner.
- The Promise of Jenny Jones (1997) by
Maggie Osborne - Jenny Jones is plain and mannish.
- Denim and Lace (1996) by Patricia Rice (B- at AAR)
- Samanatha Neely is plain.
- Nobody's Angel (1992) by Karen Robards - Susannah Redmond is plain.
- Forgiving (1991) by LaVyrle Spencer -
Sarah Merrit and Noah Campbell are both plain.
- Morning Glory (1989) by LaVyrle
Spencer (A at AAR) - Ellie Dinsmore is plain.
- His Secondhand Wife (2005) by Cheryl
St. John (B+ at AAR) - Noah Cutter is scarred.
- Land of Dreams (1995) by Cheryl St.
John - HH-265 - Thea Coulson is over 6 feet
tall with red-orange hair.
- Forever in Texas (1995) by Jodi Thomas
- Sanford Colston is the ugliest person in town.
- The Blue Castle (1929) by L.M. Montgomery - Valancy Stirling is plain and mousy.
- Going Back (7/1988) by Judith Arnold -
HAR-255 - Daphne Stoltz is plain.
- Aaron (2012) by J.P. Barnaby - Aaron, knife slash on face. (M/M)
- An Unexpected Love (1998) by Andrea Boeshaar - Renna Fields has a large purple birthmark on one cheek.
- Get Lucky (2002) by Suzanne Brockmann (A-/B- at AAR)
- SIM-991 - Sydney Jameson has average looks,
small breasts, and a butt that's "double wide."
- Over the Edge (2001) by Suzanne
Brockmann (A at AAR) - Stan Wolchonok is unattractive,
self-described as "butt ugly."
- Shelter Mountain (2007) by Robyn Carr (B+ at AAR) - John 'Preacher' Middleton, "Preacher looked intimidating - he was six foot four, bald with bushy black eyebrows, a diamond stud earring and shoulders about as broad as an ax handle was long."
- Skin Deep (2013) by Pamela Clare - Nate West has burn scars.
- See Jane Score (2003) by Rachel Gibson - Jane Alcott is plain.
- Be My Wife (5/1991) by Marcy Gray -
SR-792 - Adam Neil is scarred.
- Just One of the Guys (2008) by Kristen Higgins - Chastity O'Neill is a very tall tomboy.
- Terrific Tom (7/1998) by Martha Hix -
SSE-1186 - Tom Tillman has facial scars and a
- Rumor Has It (11/1989) by Tami Hoag -
LS-304 - Katie Quaid has body scars.
- Wild Rain (3/1995) by Donna Kauffman -
LS-732 - Jillian Bonner is flat-chested and
- About That Night (2012) by Ruthie Knox (B+ at AAR) - While Cath Talarico is good-looking, she has a number of tattoos all over her body.
- Butterfly Tattoo (2009) by Deidre Knight - Rebecca O'Neill, scar on face from a knife assault.
- Infatuation (6/1984) by Charlotte Lamb
- HP-700 - Judith Murray is plain.
- Miss Emmaline and The Archangel
(3/1993) by Rachel Lee (B+ at AAR)- SIM-482 - Gage Dalton
has facial scars and suffers pain from a previously
- Fallen From Grace (2003) by Laura Leone (A at AAR) - Sara Diamond - is plain.
- Morning Comes Softly (1993) by Debbie Macomber - Mary Warner - frumpy and mousy.
- Beauty and the Badge (2009) by Julie Miller - Kevin Grove, described as having a "bulldog ugly face".
- Call Me Irresistible (2010) by Susan
Elizabeth Phillips (B+ at AAR) - Meg Koranda has marking-pen eyebrows, big hands, paddleboard feet and irregular features like her father.
- Heaven, Texas (1995) by Susan
Elizabeth Phillips (A at AAR) - Gracie Snow is flat-chested,
badly dressed, and has bad hair.
- Midnight Angel (2005) by Lisa Marie Rice - Douglas Kowalski, Big giant of a man. His facial features irregular, a nose that had been broken and various scars on his face.
- Night Magic (1987) by Karen Robards -
Jack McClain is box-faced, squash-nosed, and
- Always a Lady (2/1993) by Sharon Sala (B+/C+ at AAR)
- KIS-130 - Lily Brownfield has a scarred face.
- Because of You (2011) by Jessica Scott - Shane Garrison, War wounds.
- The Crossroads Cafe (2005) by Deborah Smith - Cathryn Deen, Car accident left the formerly beautiful actress with burn scars, including those on her face.
- High Stakes (11/1989) by Dana Warren
Smith (Lisa G. Brown) - SSE-563 - Ren Garrett
- Night of the Phantom (7/1991) by Anne
Stuart - HAR-398 - Ethan Winslow has a port
- Shadow Prince (1994) by Terri Lynn
Wilhelm - Jonah has facial burns.
- Miles Vorkosigan Series (1986-) by Lois
McMaster Bujold (A at AAR) - Miles Vorkosigan is a
"four-foot-nine-inch, black-haired grey-eyed
- Remembrance (1994) by Jude Deveraux (C at AAR)-
Hayden Lane is plain.
- Deadly Game (2007) by Christine Feehan
- Ken Norton, face, hands, and body scarred from when he was tortured.
- Shadow Game (2003) by Christine Feehan (B- at AAR)
- Lily Whitney walks with pronounced limp.
- Frankly My Dear (1996) by Sandra Hill
- Selene, a present day supermodel, is not considered
beautiful when she is transported back to 1840 New
- More I See You (1999) by Lynn Kurland (B at AAR) - Time Travel
- Richard, battle-scarred, scowling.
- Lover Awakened (2006) by J.R. Ward - Zsadist is scarred. (B+ at AAR)
This list is now closed for submissions.