No, this isn’t an entry about favorite erotica themes :). The title refers to a dilemma that more and more heroines of popular mainstream romance face: they must choose between two equally fascinating men in order to achieve their happily-ever-after. Ah, we should all have such problems.
This trend appears particularly popular in continuing series.
Before Anita Blake decided to just sleep with everyone, Laurell K. Hamilton had us arguing the merits of master vampire Jean-Claude versus alpha werewolf Richard.
For thirteen books (and counting) Stephanie Plum has been waffling between Joe and Ranger. Loyal readers everywhere debate who is the better man for our Steph. Of course, some readers are ready to tie Stephanie (or Janet Evanovich) to a chair until she decides between the two. Other readers have simply given up on waiting for the romance pay-off.
And there lies the balance that must be kept in such books: to keep the reader engaged in the choice the heroine has to make without frustrating her to the point that she takes great joy in pitching the book against a wall.
Some authors walk that line by limiting the amount of time that their characters (and readers) struggle with the choice.
Patricia Briggs decided three books of angst was enough, and let her heroine, Mercy Thompson, choose between two equally strong alpha werewolves, Adam and Samuel, at the end of the third book of her series.
Colleen Gleason’s regency vampire slayer, Victoria Gardella, is currently caught between the brooding Max and bad boy Sebastian. Colleen has promised an end to the madness when Victoria makes her choice in book five.
Do you think two heroes are better than one? What are some of your favorite books that have multiple heroes? And, if you’re a Stephanie Plum fan - Joe or Ranger? (I’ve always been a Ranger girl – I think Steph needs someone with an unlimited supply of cars!)