Today was a nice day. I had a conversation with a person who came into where I work about books. That is always a treat, at least for me, because not a lot (meaning virtually no one) in my real life reads what I/we do, so to exchange actual spoken words with another human about a favorite topic is really rare. As we were mentioning upcoming releases and past favorites, the subject of Christine Feehan came up. And that talk got me thinking, which will probably get me in trouble again, but then again it won’t be the first time. Here goes…
I have to qualify this, once again, and say that I pick up all of her books, and Christine Feehan will probably always have a place in my collection. This isn’t me slamming her or her work. She is the author that got me interested in PNR and UF, and it was her books that brought me back to reading again after a years-long stop. I snicker and roll my eyes sometimes, but I am pretty much always counting down a new release day. That said, however, when the lady at work and I were discussing things, I realized that the last few female leads in recent Feehan novels had to me all become the same character. We have discussed here on the blog before the “Alphahole and the Doormat” trend in some of the recent books, but for me things have actually gone beyond that, and the characters have completely blurred together.
When I started to think about things, I realized that in five of the last six Feehan books I have read, you could pretty much substitute one female lead for the next and not know the difference. I am talking the last two Leopard books, the last two Ghostwalker books, and the new Shadows book. Here’s what I mean…
- All of the female leads are small, curvy, and have long, almost inhumanly thick dark hair.
- All of them are on the run from the VBM (very bad man) who has hurt them and/or killed someone they love.
- They are all without family, and only one has a true friend.
- They all find safety with their VOH (very own hero), but make a half-hearted try to run to save him from the VBM. This is of course stopped before they actually get out the door, but it is the thought that counts.
- No matter what has happened to them, they have remained innocent and without anger or bitterness. Only sweetness, with a deep core of inner strength (uh, ok).
- All but one have absolutely nothing to their name, and their VOH buys them long, ruffled skirts and ruffled boots (Seriously. They all have ruffled boots).
- They are all immediately accepted into their VOH’s very exclusive inner circle and immediately become part of the family. Usually a family that doesn’t trust any outsiders, either, but they are instantly embraced and protected to the death by one and all.
- All of them are brilliant cooks, or determined to learn to cook perfectly, so they can be the most very perfect homemaker for their VOH. No takeout here, folks. No “make your own sandwich, and me one while your at it”, either. Just brilliant, instantly-made meals that usually leads to a different kind of dessert. Usually on the kitchen floor.
- Oh, and each and every one of them tempers their VOH’s overbearing, possessive flashes of jealous rage with sweetness, placating, and surrender. Oh, and each one calls their special fella Honey. Not babe, not pumpkin, not any other pet name. Just honey. For all of them. As in “Ok, honey, I understand and I won’t ever, ever do that again. Ever. Even though I didn’t do anything, I won’t do it again. Honey.”
These are just the instances I could think of off of the top of my head. And I guess this formula works for me because I still keep picking up the books (except the last Carpathian book, because I loathed Gabrielle and was a bit horrified by the thought of Grandma Trixie). I have to admit, though, that what I am really getting tired of in the Feehan books is the young, physically and sexually abused girl who ends up being rescued from her horror only to have her story told in a future book. It was done with Skyler in the Dark series, and now there is another one in The Shadows in…Nicoletta? Nicole? Something like that. Maybe it just comes off as too tragic for me, but I could do with that not coming up again anytime soon.
Your turn. Do you think I am nuts, or have you started to see a “female formula” in Christine Feehan’s work? Do you like it, or is it getting old for you? Have you had this sense of deja vu with any other authors that you can think of? Oh, and did my skipping the last Dark book about Gabrielle make me miss anything good, or did it set up any new characters/stories for down the road?