For richer or for poorer….

A couple of the books I’ve read recently have made me curious. Is it necessary, or desirable, in romance for the hero to be wealthy? These books were westerns, so they start out with a guy who is what I’d think of a middle class for the time and place, land owners, but land owners who have to work themselves, not just sit back and direct the help. One of the things that happens during the course of the story is an event that makes that guy wealthy. I know romance is fantasy, so is becoming rich a necessary part of that fantasy for most women?

I must confess for me it isn’t. Seeing and hearing reports on the wealthy with their drink and drug problems, nasty kids, elitist attitudes, etc., has made me pretty much the other way. I tend to admire the middle class people who work hard themselves and achieve a comfortable but not necessarily luxurious lifestyle. But then I march to a different drummer in many regards.

So I’m curious about how others who read romance feel? Are you happier with the HEA ending if it includes wealth?

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15 Responses to For richer or for poorer….

  1. mesadallas says:

    The material wealth of the hero really does not matter to me in a western romance- just enough to be able to provide for the heroine and the kids they will have.

    The west was a place of opportunity and new beginnings- especially after the Civil War and I think that this was the wealth that most of the pioneers and settlers were seeking to find. Yes, some did become wealthy, but to most the Homestead Act that gave them the chance to own their own land and improve the land was an abundance of wealth that wasn’t possible in the East or for the immigrants in their own country.

    When I read a western romance the most important thing for me is a HEA ending with the hero and heroine able to overcome the odds placed before them and the odds could be anything from racial prejudice, outlaws, or a drought.

  2. Christina says:

    Even in a novel we must have some reality, I believe. And the reality was and is that if you don’t have some money you will starve. I think that is why most Romances have a wealthy Hero. Our real lives are difficult already and most read for escape,so why would we want to read about dirt poor people? Usually, we read about people far removed from our own situation, or I do. Even Cord could not be considerd to be poor. If the Bennet ranch could suppport all of the Family then it must have been rather large and the Bennet Family rich.

  3. I certainly understand there’s no romance in dirt poor. What I’m wondering about is more middle class or upper middle class. Since Cord refused to take anything from the ranch except the part of the land he raised horses on, I didn’t see him as wealthy. And I suppose while I’d see his family as pretty well off, I wouldn’t think of it as along the lines of really wealthy as in owning a gold mine or a shipping company or the royalty in so many romances who didn’t work at anything and had all the servants running around. But I’ll put you down as preferring rich. You really aren’t going to like my next hero.

  4. Christina says:

    Ellen, Now don’t talk yourself out of a sale.

  5. mesadallas says:

    I didn’t see Cord as wealthy or even upper middle class. He had a portion of land that he had to improve through his own hard work. Anne and Cord were not dirt poor either- they had enough to live a decent life and sometimes they did need to worry a little bit about their finances. This is exactly the level of material wealth I like my heroes to have in a western- not dirt poor but not wealthy either- and providing for their heroine through the sweat of their own brow.

  6. I am most certainly not trying to talk away sales but must admit the closer to finished I get with Sing the more nervous I get about its reception. Nothing to do about that but truck along, get to that point and see how readers feel.

    Christina, I saw your post in the Romance forum 5 Stars thread. You really are a brave one, and it will be interesting to see the result of Dog Lover’s crossing over to the dark side.

  7. mesadallas says:

    The Dark Side is a good way to describe the amazon romance forum. I really never went there too often as I noticed a huge difference between the posters of the Romance Forum and and the Historical Romance Forum-being the Romance Forum had a lot of viscous women. I wonder if the Romance Forum draws much younger women then the Historical Forum does and if that maybe part of the problem we had. Sorry to bring this up but I’m still trying to figure out why those few put their claws out and turned down-right hostile. We did nothing to deserve it.

  8. Actually by the dark side I meant buying a Kindle and becoming an ebook reader, but you’re right about the other dark side too. The funny thing is it looks like the Historical Romance forum is pretty much dying, which is why I didn’t think that one thread on my book would be a very big deal. And it wasn’t, until the harpies from Romance realized it was there and went berserk.

    Zoe Winters had a post on her blog the other day about the people who dislike indies being like religious fundamentalists, and IMO that’s the basic problem. It’s just a blind belief in their own righteousness that can’t be reasoned with.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You are so right, Ellen. In a way it kind of irks me to let them get the smug satisfaction of thinking they drove us off but If I’ve learned one thing in life it’s that the hardest thing in the world is to try to talk intelligence to stupid people or that it isn’t worth your time trying to wrestle with a pig.Not only do you wind up dirty yourself but the pig loves it.

    Does make me wonder why they didn’t launch an attack on the thread titled, “Have you written a book? Come tell us about it.”

  10. Does make me wonder why they didn’t launch an attack on the thread titled, “Have you written a book? Come tell us about it.”(/i>

    Because those are the “segregated” threads set up specifically so that indies are by themselves in a thread no one reads.

  11. Christina says:

    Ellen and All, I refuse to give them the satisfaction of driving me out of a Forum or not letting me recommend a book as good as Eyes. If I can honestly reommend Eyes in a thread on the Romance Forum such as the Five Star thread I will. They don’t have the power to delete my posts yet. And I am very stubborn.

  12. Christina says:

    On the subject of wealth I just read a book where the hero had nothing but the clothes on his back. He slept in the town stable. Compared to this fellow I see Cord and the ehtire Bennet Family as being welathy. If Cord ran short of funds he simply borrowed from his brother Frank. Psychology that is just not the same as knowing you might starve or be thrown out in the dirt with no place to live. Like everything else in life this point is relative.

  13. Was that the one about the deaf mute? The description sounded interesting to me so I downloaded a sample, but from the sample I was pretty sure it was going to be one of those break out in a sweat at the sight of somebody romances, and they just aren’t for me. Was he still poor and sleeping in the stable at the end? I got the impression from something I read that after she teaches him to read, etc., that changed.

  14. Christina says:

    Yes, Ellen, that was the book. I would describe it as erotic. The language went beyond any that I have ever used. At the end of the book he was still dirt poor, but he was traveling to New York where he was going to attend The School for the Deaf and she was going to get a job. The rest is left to the reader’s imagination. Not a bad story, but the graphic language was off-putting.

  15. mesadallas says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who gets turned off at a lot of profanity. I really don’t mind the hells and damns- actually, I find them rather humorous if they are used creatively but the hard core words like the F word used frequently are a total turn off.

    Same thing with movies. I was really excited to watch the series “Deadwood” but the language in it it is just appalling. I’m no prude but every other word is filthy. I didn’t get through the first episode before I just turned it off. It sure makes me wonder why scriptwriters are paid so much. What’s so hard about writing a page of profanity?

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