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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).

RELATED: The Best Historical Romance Novels That Will Steal Your Heart 

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...

tortured heroes historical romance

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.  

tortured heroes Jane Goodger historical romance

Lady Lost

By Jane Goodger

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

RELATED: 9 Must-Read Historical Romance Authors  

historical romance tortured heroes Jane Goodger

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.  

historical romance tortured heroes Jane Goodger

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.

RELATED: Ella Quinn Shares Her 7 Favorite Bad Boys from Historical Romance  

tortured heroes historical romance Jane Goodger

Marry Christmas

By Jane Goodger

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

RELATED: 10 Romance Books to Get You in the Holiday Spirit  

tortured heroes historical romance Jane Goodger

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. 

tortured heroes historical romance Jane Goodger

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.  

tortured heroes historical romance Jane Goodger

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.  

tortured heroes historical romance Jane Goodger

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.