Thursday, July 10, 2008

Top Ten Flawed heroines

Yes, of course I should be writing proper stuff, not blogging, but I'm researching something very dark and I need a break, and Smart Bitches gave me the idea. In no particular order, just as they occur to me, here are ten flawed heroines.

1 Scarlett O'Hara - what a biotch!!! Love her. I reread GWTW constantly and repeatedly from the age of 12-14.5 : I virtually knew the book by heart and she was my goddess. I will never be like Scarlett: I never have had nor ever will have a 21" waist, and I can't be ruthless and cold and I'd have realised that Ashley was a milksop and that Rhett was a honey much earlier, but she was a great great role model. (Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell)

2 Frederica Merriville - managing, bossy, a little bit blind to what is going on under her nose, but she is a loving and lovable woman who gets every little bit of happiness that she deserves. (Frederica, Georgette Heyer).

3 Eustacia 'Force of Nature' Vye - really not personally a Hardy fan, but I like the men in the novel, fell for Eustacia, who is one of those dangerous people who seems exotic because they are different from everyone else around them, but are actually just miserable. And even though I know Eustacia is one of those tiresome people who insists on setting by the ears everyone in the vicinity, I still can't help but love her. Bathsheba has some of the same qualities, but is nowhere near as extraordinarily vivid as Eustacia for me. (Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy)

4 Becky Sharp of course. Say no more. Well, I have to say a little more - she's so wicked and so full of life and grit and determination. She is a shockingly wicked woman, I wouldn't personally have her anywhere near me, but I love reading about her. (Vanity Fair, Wm Thackeray)

5 Magdalen Vanstone - arguably one of the greatest characters in Victorian fiction. Her story is absolutely sensational, in no small part due to her wonderful complexity, whose name suggests that she will undergo trials and difficulties - and indeed she does. She is by no means a submissive Victorian miss, but a woman who wants to exert control over a life which has lost its central gravity. (No Name, Wilkie Collins)

6 Adelaide Houghton - a woman who is not afraid of trying to tempt a lover into adultery. She's really lacking in morals, but she's very compelling and quite frightening. Technically, she's not the heroine of the novel, who is a rather insipid character, but she is the female presence who is strongest in terms of characterisation and plot importance. Trollope knew how to create strong women characters. (Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope)

7 Anna Petrovna who keeps falling for the wrong guy, the really really uber-wrong guy, time after time, but you can see exactly why she is so lovable. Gutsy, independent, determined, with a touch of the implacable - she's marvellous. (People's Act of Love, James Meek)

8 Emma - Austen herself famously said that she thought no one would like Emma but herself, but Emma is so funny and so satirised, spending time in her company is never a hardship. Austen is ironic, but also ultimately, kind to the delusional girl, and makes sure she gets a great HEA. (Emma, Jane Austen)

9 Vivian Geiger, especially as played by Lauren Bacall, the lying, cheating, loving heroine of The Big Sleep. Amazing woman. (The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler)

10 Sophie Dempsey, from Welcome to Temptation. Sophie has a temper, a good but not perfect bod and a chip the size of Mount Rushmore on her shoulder, she treats her man mean, but for perfectly good reasons and she is a witty, wisecracking, funny woman whose story I could read over and over again. (Welcome to Temptation, Jenny Crusie)

And finally, I can't decide which one is the heroine of Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, but both Sue Trinder and Maud Lilly are wonderful flawed females.

Now instead of doing what I should be doing, I want to go and reread books.

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