Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Strong Heroines (Day 6): Jenny from Proof by Seduction

In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8th, we are highlighting a favorite strong heroine every day!
Sharon's Pick: Jenny from Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan
Why Jenny? Jenny is one of my favorite historical heroines. She is so refreshing and interesting! Due to financial hardship, Jenny has had to pull herself up by her proverbial bootstraps and make a living for herself. How has she chosen to do it? There are very limited possibilities for women in this time period, if you want to avoid prostitution. So Jenny has established herself as Madame Esmerelda, and she makes a living by faking fortune telling.

It would be easy to look at the word "strong," see all those things she has gone through in her life, see her accomplishments, and call it done. Yep, she's a Strong Heroine. Check. But her strength lies in so many other areas, too!

So often (although not always, thankfully), historical romances are peppered with heroines who are either shy wallflowers who blindly follow the hero's lead, or headstrong, wild misses who will do their own thing, regardless. I love Jenny so much for being neither of these! She's not a pushover, but she's not obnoxiously opinionated, either. She does what she can to make a living, and she harbors no illusions about being higher in status than she is. BUT at the same time, she actually has a spine and a strong sense of self-worth. She refuses to think lesser of herself as a person because of her situation. Allow me to share one of my favorite quotes, which she tells the hero:
I don’t care what your title is. When I see myself, I see a woman worth more than a modicum of your respect. And don’t you dare touch me if you disagree.
Now don't get me wrong. Although I probably shouldn't, I have some serious love for the mind-blowing-kisses-that-make-you-lose-your-objections. But you know what? It's pretty dang refreshing to see the kissing-you-senseless approach not work for the guy. And she doesn't slap him and run away without explanation. No. She tells him. She knows he - subconsciously or not - views her as subservient. And she's not okay with that, regardless of the fact that she's attracted to him/he's of a higher social class/he's titled.

Jenny is creative, and she supports herself financially, which is difficult in this time period. She has an incredible sense of self-worth without being egotistic. She has a spine, and she is able to stand up for herself. In my opinion, that is what makes Jenny a strong heroine.

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