We at RT love strong heroines who can hold their own against any bad guy. Mary Burton shares our enthusiasm for bad-ass heroines, and her romantic suspense The Shark, out this week, stars tough-but-vulnerable Virginia state trooper Riley Tatum. Mary was kind enough to stop by and share some kick-butt heroine reading suggestions with us. Take it away, Mary!
I’ve been thinking about women in peril and I can’t help but visualize a silent film star tied to railroad tracks or a beautiful blonde heroine chained up in a jungle. The damsel in distress is a classic in story telling. Time after time, scenes featuring the aforementioned heroines dominated. These ladies were basically done for — if not for the intervention of a hero who swoops down in the nick of time.
Thank heaven those days are over. Now modern-day heroines, the ones up to their eyeballs in danger who find their own way out of trouble, catch my attention. They fight all sorts of demons including adversaries such as domestic abuse, poverty and the struggles of single parenthood. And even when they do have a little help from their friends, they triumph using their own wits, grit, determination and, more often these days, brawn. Here are a few of my favorites, if you love these heroines as much as I do.
I met J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas when I read Naked in Death. She is a futuristic cop who rose from a dark past to become a top homicide investigator. It’s hard to imagine her as a damsel in distress. Yet, she has indeed been in peril time and time and again this streetwise cop has pulled it together using brains, strength and integrity.
Suzanne Collins’s Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games novels sucked me in from the beginning. Once pulled away from her home, Katniss is constantly in danger in one way or another. She operates out of love when she volunteers to take her sister’s place in the bloody tribute game. Young as she is and with her many strengths, I see her as a keen strategist with an ability to focus that gives her the advantage in dangerous physical and political situations.
But not all my favorites are wielding a gun or bow and arrow. Nalini Singh’s Sascha Duncan in Slave to Sensation. She’s an empath in a world that punishes feeling. Still, she risks death by following her heart and her destiny.
Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo introduced me to Lisbeth Salander, a world-class computer hacker and rape survivor. Antagonistic and violent at times, she pursues a murderer despite the harm she faces and the dark places she must enter in order to rise up and prevail. Disturbing as much of the story is, I couldn’t help but applaud her fight for survival, which is guided by her own set of moral principles and ideas of right and wrong.