Angsty Heroes

My first experience with a tortured hero was Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He meets the love of his life and his attic wife makes their relationship impossible. He yearns, he loves, he goes blind…then we get the HEA.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Laurie comes next. If someone could be tortured by love, Laurie is it. Although, I don’t know if it was Jo that he was in love with or the whole March family. Either way that boy chased after love.

Scarlett O’Hara. Gone with the Wind is problematic in so many ways, and that is a different post. But Scarlett is one of the few women heroes we see who tend to mess up their love lives as bad as the men above. She thinks she wants Ashley Wilkes? And why? All the while Rhett Butler understands and loves her exactly as she is. While this isn’t exactly a HEA, I find her character arc to fit this list of tortured, love-torn, protagonists.

Who are your favorite angsty heroes?

Beach Read by Emily Henry published by Berkely May 2020

To purchase this book click the picture. This will take you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale.

Over the past day and a half I devoured Beach Read by Emily Henry. This is a murky line between women’s fiction and romance (although if a man wrote it, it would just be fiction as January tells Gus in the story) The structure is very much romance. Two competing writers have a second chance of love if they would get out of the way of their own happiness and admit they are in love already.

Where the book deviates from the typical structure is how deep a journey into sadness both characters go before they come back to each other.

January is a romance writer who can’t write a HEA anymore after she finds out a secret when her father dies. Gus is a well known literary writer who has sunk in a deep depression that no one can lift him out of.

Can a romance writer be considered a romance writer if she lost her HEA mojo?

Except, maybe, January.

The journey toward the HEA is slow and arduous. It is clear these characters have BIG feelings for each other. The heat is there from the beginning. Gus is so tortured though by his past you aren’t sure he will ever be as kind to himself as he is to January and accept the love she gives him.

So many times I wanted to reach through the pages and tell Gus he deserved to be loved.

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on

January wore her heart on her sleeve and I kept wanting to protect her from the inevitable disappointment when Gus couldn’t reciprocate. This was a woman who was honest and open about how she felt to everyone, and for some reason she didn’t receive the same openness and honesty back from her parents, Jacques her former boyfriend, and Gus.

The only people who met her where she needed to be were Pete, the abysmal coffee shop owner/book club running woman and Sonya the woman January least wants to see.

There are secrets and a lot of one step forwards and five million steps back. Last night anytime a family member came near me, they got a librarian shushed finger and a glare.

If you haven’t had a chance to read BEACH READ by Emily Henry, do yourself a favor and go to the nearest lake, ocean, pond, stream or youtube video of the like and sink your feet in the sand and lose your day to the angst of Augustus Everett.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

If you need a beach read book without all the angst, try:

Don’t forget the August reading challenge!


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