But here's another, perhaps less shocking, confession: I loved it!
And even less shocking: I love Henry Tilney!
Of course, I think I fell in love with him after seeing the PBS Masterpiece version of Northanger Abbey. JJ Feild does a great job playing the role!
- Realistic: Henry Tilney is a character with what I perceive to be a rather normal job as the second son in this era (a clergyman), a sense of humor that shows a bit of pride in his own cleverness and wit, and a reason for falling in love that is quite...ordinary ("...I must confess that his affection originated in nothing better than gratitude; or, in other words, that a persuasion of her partiality for him had been the only cause of giving her a serious thought" - Northanger Abbey). In other words, Tilney is remarkable in his own right, but he is realistically down to earth and not overly romanticized (well, perhaps not too much).
- Rare: Despite Tilney's ordinary qualities, he's also unique (in my opinion) as a hero. He enjoys a good story and is not too bad at making up his own. He's not brooding or out of reach - he openly admires the heroine, teases her, and offers advice. Love this line about him from his sister to the heroine: "He is for ever finding fault with me for some incorrectness of language, and now he is taking the same liberty with you." (Hmmm...he might fit in well with my family, LOL!)
When creating our own heroes, I think a good balance between realism and rarity can be a good thing. The hero should have his faults. He should be understandable and recognizable, in a sense. But he should also stand out for some reason or other, particularly in a romance novel, as there are just so many heroes out there (and it's easy to be cliche in some respect when it comes to romantic heroes).
I know, I know... Easier said than done! Hopefully I can take my own advice. ;)
I leave you with one more quote from the book to gratify our readers, followed by a question or two:
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid."
(Yep, yep! ;) And yes, dear Henry - our model hero - said that!)
Who is your favorite Jane Austen hero (or any other fictional hero)? What makes that hero your favorite?
(JJ Feild as Henry Tilney - image from the PBS Masterpiece website.)