Ainslie Paton romance author

The Isolated Heroine

I used to wonder about books where the leading couple appeared to have sprung forth as grown human beings without family, or having made any lasting, important connections in their lives.  Yes, I know it happens that people for a variety of reasons become isolated, and I remember reading somewhere that despite having large social media tribes, most people generally have a very tight group, a small number of people who they relate with regularly.

But still – in contemporary romance isolating your heroine or hero makes a point.

This article on Dear Author about the Isolated Heroine made me think about all of mine and what point I was making by either isolating or surrounding them.

Mostly they’re embedded in their families or the urban families they’ve established and in every case that isolation or connected aspect of the character deliberately feeds the story.  In every case, a character who was isolated moves to becoming connected and usually in more then one aspect of their lives.  The magic of the other they partner with is part of that, but it’s not the whole picture either.

Alex in Grease Monkey Jive lives with her mum and grandmother and Scott her best friend is very present.

Rielle in Getting Real is very close to her brother and her family is her band mates.

Bailey in White Balance has both family, although not supportive, and friends.  She also has the complicating old boyfriend.

Darcy in Detained is surrounded by people but her work mates are rivals as is her own brother and her father isn’t much for compassion.  She was my first heroine who struggled with a lack of support network.

Caitlin in Floored is genuinely isolated.  She’s on the run and has shut herself off from anyone she once knew deliberately.  That’s not how she ends up though.

Gayle in Hooked on a Feeling is about to be divorced.  She fears she’s going to be isolated and ostracised, but discovers a whole new urban family in Middle Street.

Audrey in Unsuitable has deliberately separated herself from her family but has a several strong,  friend networks.  She’s a single woman who is very much not alone.

Jacinta in Insecure, coming up in 2015, works for a family company, not that her family are her besties.  When her life changes she realises she needs a stronger network of friends and sets out to build connections.

Foley in Inconsolable, coming up in 2015, is friend central.  She has family, workmates, flatmates.  She’s the opposite of isolated.

And then we get to Georgia in Incapable.  She’s my first truly isolated heroine.  And maybe that’s why she’s not ready to face the world yet.  She’s making me uncomfortable, because she’s on the run in a way like Caitlin, but its not something she chose as a strategy.

Hmm, Georgia on my mind.

In contrast here are the heros:

Dan in Grease Monkey Jive has a posse of friends.

Jake in Getting Real has close family and close work mates.

Aiden in White Balance has close friends, even if he’s determined to avoid them.

Will in Detained has both family and strong working relationships and yet began life orphaned.

Fetch in Floored.  Well, you just have to meet his mother.  Although by profession Fetch is isolated for long periods of time.

Ray in Hooked on a Feeling.  With Ray you get Steve and Kim and a whole neighbourhood.

Reece in Unsuitable.  You know how I said, you just had to meet Fetch’s mother, multiply that by four sisters and you have Reece.  He’s the most embedded character of all.

Mace in Insecure has Buster and Dillon and yet he’s kind of a loner by personality type.

Drum in Inconsolable.  Think about Reece.  Drum is his opposite.  My my most isolated hero.  And wow, is he isolated.

Lastly there’s Damon in Incapable.  Another male with close family and a posse of friends.


Gotta go think more about Georgia and Damon, so they’re ready to face the world.


Hello, what are you thinking?

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