When my friend Anabelle asked me to write this post, I was finishing up her wonderful novel THE DUKE OF DARKNESS. It made me think about the dark lords I so often read about in romance fiction, men who we would never deal with in real life, men who, if we met them, no matter how good looking or rich they might be, would be sent packing after the first coffee date. But we love to read about dark, brooding men, bad boys, if you will. And as romance authors,
we love to write about them.
In my first romance novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, Anthony Carrington, the Earl of Ravensbrook, basically purchases a wife, the daughter of his commanding officer with whom he served during the Napoleonic War. After only knowing his bride-to-be for two days, Anthony demands that she marry him, wearing a gown he has chosen himself. He instructs her on how a wife should behave, both privately and in company, and basically spends most of the book acting like a horse’s behind. Caroline Montague, his fencing, knife-throwing, stallion-riding bride takes offense at his high-handed behavior, but since Anthony is amazing in bed, she works hard to overlook his faults. As time goes on, she begins to fall in love with him in spite of them. And
more importantly for a romance reader, Anthony begins to fall in love with her.
So that is the first answer to the question of why dark lords obsess us so on the page. As readers, I think we love to watch a dark lord find his heart, and fall in love with a woman who will be the love of his life. This leads to the second reason we love these brooding bad boys: we love to watch the conquest of the mythical unconquerable man.
Now, in real life, a man or a woman who is emotionally unavailable usually stays that way. In romance fiction, whether it be a Regency novel, a shapeshifter tome, or modern erotica, the unavailable man falls in love with the heroine of the novel, and becomes emotionally available, if not altogether perfect. In romance novels, a hero and heroine work out their problems and often are transformed by love. I must admit, Anthony did not completely change his spots in HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, but he did bend. And his love for Caroline outweighed his need to control her, which in the end made their relationship work.
So our dark lords come around and become, sweet loving men, and then there’s nothing we can do but love them back.
Christy English is happiest when she is dreaming. Her dreams have taken her to the royal court of Henry II in THE QUEEN’S PAWN, to medieval Paris in TO BE QUEEN, and now to Regency England in MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK, LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT, and HOW TO TAME A WILFULL WIFE, where she loves to watch her characters find true love, often in spite of themselves. Please visit her on her blog http://www.ChristyEnglish.com , on Twitter https://twitter.com/ChristyEnglish , or on