Jane Goodger Looks Back at Her 9 Most-Tortured Romantic Heroes

The Brides of St. Ives author loves putting her romantic heroes in some extremely trying situations.

tortured heroes historical romance jane goodger

Anyone who has read more than one of my books will immediately know I adore a tortured hero. Not only do I love to write about them, I love to read about them, too. Emotional, physical, mental. The more tortured, the better. Of course, the whole point of a tortured hero is to have him be saved by the heroine, who somehow heals him enough to know a happily ever after is possible. For some reason, I never liked torturing my heroines. Guess I figure we get tortured enough in real life. 

I cut my teeth on romances in the glory days of the historical romance industry—the 1980s and 1990s. One of my all-time favorite books with the ultimate tortured hero was written by the great Laura Kinsale—Flowers from the Storm. In this book, Christian Langland has been chained and locked away by those who believe him to be mad. Maddy, our heroine, saves the day—and his tortured soul (of course, Ms. Kinsale is rather even-handed about torturing both hero and heroine in this great book).

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Recently, I began cataloging my books and, of course, I recognized a familiar theme that didn’t stun me in the least. Nearly all of my heroes are tortured in some way. No happy-go-lucky men for me, apparently. Even my beta heroes have plenty of well-earned angst.  

Here’s a fun list of how I’ve tortured my men over the years...

Buy Gifts from the Sea  at Amazon

Gifts from the Sea

By Jane Goodger

 Whaling captain Jared is guilt-ridden by the death of his wife and child at sea. He blames himself for their deaths.  

Buy Lady Lost at Amazon

Lady Lost

By Jane Goodger

Marcus is humiliated and hides away after his wife dies—in the bed of another man.

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Buy How to Please a Lady at Amazon

How to Please a Lady

By Jane Goodger

Charlie has loved Rose forever. But she’s a lady and he was once her stable boy. Nothing is more painful than unrequited love, and Charlie has it bad.  

Buy When a Duke Says I Do  at Amazon

When a Duke Says I Do

By Jane Goodger

One of my favorite tortured heroes was Alex, who suffers from debilitating social anxiety, causing him to have selective mutism, making people think he is simple-minded.

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Buy Marry Christmas  at Amazon

Marry Christmas

By Jane Goodger

I made Randall marry a woman who had absolutely no interest in marrying him.  

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Buy A Christmas Waltz at Amazon

A Christmas Waltz

By Jane Goodger

 Boone (one of my favorites) was another poor sap in the throes of unrequited love with a heroine who was completely oblivious. 

Buy The Bad Luck Bride  at Amazon

The Bad Luck Bride

By Jane Goodger

 Henderson was a bastard (by birth, not temperament) who had no business mooning after the granddaughter of a duchess, but I let him anyway. Bwahahaha.  

Buy Diamond in the Rough  at Amazon

Diamond in the Rough

By Jane Goodger

 Yes, Nathaniel was an earl, but he was dismally poor. I let him fall in love with a woman he knew he was doomed to hurt. I can be mean like that.  

Buy The Reluctant Duchess at Amazon

The Reluctant Duchess

By Jane Goodger

 Finally, there’s poor Oliver, who believes whole-heartedly that he is monstrous and that no one could ever love him. Of course, he’s wrong.  

I had fun looking back and feel a little guilty about all that torturing I did to perfectly fine men who turned out to be absolutely wonderful heroes. 

Published on 25 Jul 2019