When The Prince Isn’t So Charming
In Alma Katsu’s The Taker, Jonathan St. Andrew has all the earmarks of Prince Charming: he’s handsome beyond belief and the eldest son in the family that owns the town. Who could blame Lanore McIlvrae for falling in love with him? But eventually, even the most lovesick girl will learn that actions speak louder than words. . .
I want to talk today about the myth of Prince Charming.
Women have a complicated relationship with Prince Charming, and they should. On one hand, the Prince is a time-honored character, much cherished by readers, and he obviously fills a place in our psyches. We want to believe in Prince Charming, with his single-minded focus on finding and winning his princess, and we want to believe that our Prince Charming is waiting for us, somewhere.
Those of us who have found our Prince Charming know that the story is a little more complicated than that. I think the most satisfying love stories go beyond the fairy tale stereotype to show that—just like in real life—a man doesn’t have to be Prince Charming to be deserving of our love. A man can be flawed and still be a great love interest.
One thing that drives my readers crazy is the idea that Lanore, the heroine, may not end up with Jonathan, the love interest. To look at him, you might think he’s supposed to be the hero. He is preternaturally beautiful. In the small, remote 1820s village where they live, he is the equivalent of a prince, the eldest son of the family that owns the business that supports everyone in town. But Jonathan is far from perfect: while he doesn’t intend to hurt people, he’s not about to sacrifice his own desires to make someone else happy. And rather than make Jonathan change and grow to be deserving of Lanore’s love, in The Taker Lanore comes to understand that sometimes we don’t get our heart’s desires, no matter how badly we try to make them come true. Because sometimes—often times—you can’t change other people, it’s up to them to want to become a better person. And let’s face it, when you’re a prince, you have no motivation to change. There are plenty of people who are happy to take you as you are.
It’s probably clear that my novels, The Taker and The Reckoning, aren’t traditional romances. What I try to capture in the books—it’s a trilogy, with the third book, The Descent, out next year—is the complex experience that is love, its lows, as well as its highs, its bittersweet nature. Writing an immortal love story also gives me the chance to play with history and magic as a backdrop to the characters’ relationships. There have been a lot of comparisons to Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire and Mayfair Witches, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, and A Discovery of Witches. If you’ve enjoyed any of these books, I hope you’ll give The Taker and The Reckoning a try.
Tell me who some of your favorite Prince Charming heroes are? Thanks for blogging with me today!
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The Reckoning was named a nominee for a Seal of Excellence and Paranormal Romance Top Pick by RT Bookreviews, and called “beautiful, mesmerizing” by Library Journal. Kresley Cole called The Taker, “A wicked, sensuous, shattering love story that I can’t recommend enough.” It was selected a top ten debut novel of 2011 by Booklist.