For whatever reason, it seems more difficult to find a heroine who satisfies us than a hero who satisfies us. All the more reason for this list, then. The heroines from this list are special for many reasons. They have saved their heroes. They are honorable and exhibit grace under pressure. These heroines don't whine or dwell on their pasts. Some seem flesh-and-blood and others are all-round capable, willing to go for what they want even if it's against the dictates of society.
(List begun 09/96, updated 09/07)
||European Historical Romances
||American Historical/Frontier Romances
- Velvet Bond (8/1995) by Catherine
Archer - HH-282
Lady Elizabeth never lost her dignity in teaching
her husband how to trust.
- Velvet Song (1983) by Jude Deveraux
Alyx Blackett had an amazing musical talent and
managed to saved her hero.
- The Warlord (1995) by Elizabeth
Lady Tess chose the lesser of two evils, marrying
"The Butcher of Wales."
- The Prize (1991) by Julie Garwood -
Lady Nicholaa was an expert with a slingshot and saved a king.
- Lord of the Wolves (1993) by Heather
Melissande fought for her people's safety and risked
her own life.
- Sweet Savage Eden (1989) by Heather
Lady Jasmine made sacrifices for those she loved.
- Viking's Woman (1990) by Heather
Rhiannon didn't hesitate to wear chain mail to
defend her father's castle.
- This is All I Ask (1997) by Lynn
Gillian used love and reassurance to help
Christopher see beyond his disability.
- Highland Heather (2/1991) by Ruth
Langan - HH-65
Brenna MacAlpin was laird of her clan and came to
her hero on her own terms.
- Heart's Aflame (1987) by Johanna
Kristen Haardrad endured much.
- His Lady's Ransom (7/1995) by Merline
Lovelace - HH-275
Lady Madeline lived with a strong sense of honor and
didn't take the easy way out.
- The Wolf and the Dove (1974) by
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Aislinn of Darkenwald is a strong woman who exhibits
grace under pressure, lobbying her new lord for
compassion and justice when her home is seized by the
Normans after the Battle of Hastings.
- Dancing with Clara (1994) by Mary Balogh
Clara Danford accepts a proposal of marriage from Frederick Sullivan knowing quite well that her fortune is the attraction. She's an admirably clear-sighted woman who makes her choice, sticks with it, and fully earns her happy ending.
- Her Other Thief (2004) by Glenda
Lucy Bowes was intelligent and witty, had nerves of
steel, and was generally a step ahead of her hero (and
he was pretty intelligent too).
- Arabella (1940) by Georgette Heyer
- Frederica (1965) by Georgette Heyer
- The Rake & The Reformer (1989) by Mary
Alys Weston had true strength of character.
European Historical Romances
- My Darling Caroline (1998) by Adele
Caroline Grayson was a genius botanist and secretly
planned to escape to study in America.
- Silent Melody (1997) by Mary Balogh
Lady Emily Marlowe, blind and steadfast, never
wavered in her love for her hero.
- Bride (1995) by Stella Cameron
Lady Justine went out and got what she wanted,
although doing so went against Society's dictates.
- The Iron Rose (2003) by Marsha Canham -
Juliet Dante, daughter of of legendary privateers, rescues a British ship from a Spanish Galleon (1610s High Seas)
- Midnight Honor (2001) by Marsha Canham -
Lady Anne is as skillful as a general in the tactics of war
- Lord of Scoundrels (1995) by Loretta
Jessica Trent knew what she wanted and went after
- The Scottish Bride (2001) by Catherine
Mary Rose Fordyce survived a harsh upbringing and
didn't turn bitter.
- Scoundrel (1996) by Elizabeth Elliott
Lady Lily wasn't what she appeared to be, and she
taught her hero what love can be.
- The Spare (2004) by Carolyn Jewel
Miss Olivia Willow is gentry but poor and has been
dealt many injustices in life, but is never
self-pitying and always carries herself with
grace and dignity.
- The Anglophile (1957) by Elizabeth
Anne Deering was a sympathetic, realistic character
who overcame the prejudices of her class.
- Flowers from the Storm (1992) by Laura
Maddy Timms was brave, resolute, and stuck to the
convictions of her faith.
- The Shadow and the Star (1991) by
Leda Etoile had a backbone of steel and an
unswerving moral compass.
- Then Came You (1993) by Lisa Kleypas
Lady Lily loved her child beyond anything in life.
- Windflower (1984) by Laura London
(Sharon and Tom Curtis)
Merry Wilding would bend, but wouldn't break.
- Claire (1956) by Dorothea Malm
Claire Fleury, analytical and complex in her
feelings, was a prostitute who married for revenge.
- Almost Heaven (1990) by Judith
Lady Elizabeth Cameron possessed a rare gentleness
and fierce courage as well as beauty.
- Once and Always (1987) by Judith
Victoria Seaton brought an emotionally wounded man
the love he had always been denied.
- Silk and Shadows (1991) by Mary Jo
Lady Sarah St. James was a sympathetic character who
overcomes the prejudices of her class.
- Deception (1993) by Amanda Quick
(Jayne Ann Krentz)
Olympia Wingfield rescued her hero, who spent his
life rescuing others.
- Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (2002) by
Overlooked Penelope Featherington was bright, funny,
talented, and beautiful.
- The Devil Earl (5/1996) by Deborah
Simmons - HH-317
Prudence Lancaster wrote books and also managed to
- The Vicar's Daughter (2/1995) by
Deborah Simmons - HH-258
Charlotte Townridge brings life to the ordered,
scheduled life of her hero.
- Bed of Roses (1995) by Suzanne Simmons
Lady Alyssa considered the fripperies of society
- The Bronze Horseman (2001) by Paullina
Tatiana Metanova was selfless and amazingly strong.
- A Rose at Midnight (1993) by Anne
Ghislaine de Lorgny did what she had to in order to
- Passion (2005) by Lisa Valdez
Passion Dare finally found love but made the decision to let him go.
American/Frontier Historical Romances
- Thief of My Heart (1991) by Rexanne
Lacie Montgomery did what she had to in order to
save what was important.
- The Wedding Raffle (1996) by Geralyn
Honor Duvall did what she had to to protect her
- Irresistible (1994) by Catherine Hart
Jade Donovan was a pioneer and accepted what her
- The Woman Question (1957) by Dorothea
Mary Whitby was an early feminist and participated
in the New York City Convention of 1853.
- Rainbow (1991) by Patricia Potter
Meredith Seaton has a privileged but lonely childhood and an unloving father, but makes her own
path. A talented painter, she creates a persona of "silly Miss Seaton who paints badly" to conceal her involvement in the Underground Railroad. She has honesty and the courage of her convictions.
- Denim & Lace (1996) by Patricia Rice
Samantha Neely was born to lead and was able to
teach her hero about trust.
- Years (1996) by LaVyrle Spencer
Linnea was adventurous, intelligent and unafraid to
go after what she wanted.
- Two Texas Hearts (1997) by Jodi Thomas
Kora Adams's strength held her family together while
breaking through her hero's insecurity.
- Heaven In His Arms (1995) by Lisa Ann
Genevieve Lalande did what she had to in order to
survive. (1670s Canada)
- Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) by Jean Webster
Jerusha "Judy" Abbott grew up in an orphanage, but it didn't destroy her will to survive or her sense of humor.
- Dear Enemy (1915) by Jean Webster
Sallie McBride found her vocation and passion as director of an orphan asylum.
- My Baby, Your Child (4/1994) by Nikki
Benjamin - SSE-880
Tess McGuire was an anonymous organ donor for her
- Trading Secrets (1985) by Jayne Castle
(Jayne Ann Krentz)
Sabrina Chase was able to stand up for herself
against her alpha hero; she was a successful
businesswoman, intelligent enough to come up with a
plan of action to
save her hero's teenage son from being kidnapped.
- Woman of Honour (3/1987) by Emma Darcy
Molly Fitzgerald lived up to the book's title.
- Broken Blossom (8/1990) by Jennifer
Greene - SIM-345
Kelsey Whitfield fought her way back from addiction
- His Wedding Ring (1/1996) by Kate
Hathaway - SIM-690
Angel Martino, after a rebellious past, went on to
make a worthwhile life for herself.
- All Night Long (1999) by Michelle
Annie Beckett overcame a horrible childhood and
substance abuse to follow her dreams.
- Some Men's Dreams (8/2003) by Kathleen
Korbel - SIM-1237
Genevieve Kendall always strove to do her best in
- Infatuation (6/1984) by Charlotte Lamb
Judith Murry was a heroine with a strong ethical
- Retribution (7/1981) by Charlotte Lamb
Laura Sloane had a spine and repeatedly called the
- Too Hot To Handle (12/1996) by
Elizabeth Lowell - SD-319
Tory Wells survived tremendous odds and brought love
to a difficult man.
- Mouth to Mouth (2005) by Erin McCarthy
Though deaf, Laurel Wilkins never considers it a
defect - it's simply a part of who she is. She's
sweet and kind and extremely likable.
- Dream a Little Dream (1998) by Susan
Rachel Stone went through hell for her child, and
was willing to sacrifice more.
- Heaven, Texas (1995) by Susan
Gracie Snow saved Bobby Tom Denton from himself and
gave him a purpose.
- The Salvatore Marriage (12/2003) by Michelle Reid - HP-2362
Shannon Galbraith is sarcastic and verbally on her toes.
- One Summer (1993) by Karen Robards
Rachel Grant believed in the hero's innocence when
no one else did.
- Public Secrets (1990) by Nora Roberts
Emma McAvoy broke through a troubled past and an
abusive marriage to find and accept true love.
- Heart vs. Humbug (12/1995) by M.J.
Rodgers - HI-350
Octavia Osbourne was clever and devious and kept
fighting for what was just.
- Annie and The Outlaw (10/1994) by
Sharon Sala - SIM-597
Annie O'Brien accepted her hero for who he was.
- A Knight in Shining Armor (1989) by
Dougless Montgomery went back in time to save her
- Wolf in Waiting (10/1995) by Rebecca
Flanders - SS-58
Victoria St. Claire was smart, sophisticated, and
unfailingly dignified in the face of injustice and
- Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon
Claire refused to accept her hero's death sentence
and did what she needed to do to save him.
- The Star King (2000) by Susan Grant
Jas Hamilton was willing to go after what she wanted
and was rewarded very well for it.
- Son of the Morning (1997) by Linda
Grace St. John overcame her sorrow and fears to
avenge the death of her family.
- The In Death series (1995-) by
J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Eve Dallas is smart, tough and has an in-your-face
- Bride of the Mist (1996) by Christina
Kara Fitzgerald and her hero saved each other, both
from death and from themselves.
- Tinker (2003) by Wen Spencer
Tinker was an intelligent, strong, brave, and
compassionate beyond her years.
This list is currently closed for submissions
(AAR uses BYRON for its romance reference needs)