Harlequin Presents Readers discussion

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Food for Thought > Lack of variety w/ ethnicity/nationality

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message 1: by Asteropê (last edited Mar 21, 2013 09:25AM) (new)

Asteropê (21tauri) | 82 comments Sometimes I find myself frustrated with the lack of variety when it comes to the character's ethnicity/nationality.

We have the most common:
Greek, Italian, Sicilian, Spanish, Arab (Sheikh)
And the sometimes common:
French, Russian, European

What we don't have are:
Indian (from India, not Native Americans)
Irish, Scottish
Japanese, Chinese, etc
Turkish
African (though there was that 1 Presents with the French-African hero in The Highest Price to Pay)

Sometimes I wish there were more variety!

A lot of the Presents stories feature millionaires, billionaires and tycoons. India, Asia and other areas have a boom in business. Why couldn't there be business heroes of these ethnicity/nationalities?

The heroine could have to travel to India or Japan to seal a business deal, gets blackmailed (as is common with these books) and is forced into marriage or whatever.

Or, imagine this...the heroine could go to India for the same reason (business), be clueless about what's going on, is on the streets and gets caught up in the crowd as they celebrate Holi. Colorful powder is flying everywhere, she's panicking, her outfit gets ruined and a handsome man swoops her out of the way. He pushes her against a wall or alley or whatever and they're so close they nearly kiss, only they don't. She's flustered, calms down and thanks the man. She goes to her meeting with colors still in her hair and is shocked to see the handsome man who saved her is her boss or whatever. Things go from there.


Does anyone else which there were more variety?
Any ideas why there isn't? Is it that certain heroes don't sell? And if so, why not?


message 2: by willaful (new)

willaful | 344 comments That's the official excuse, that certain heroes don't sell.

There was a big fuss about an Indian hero a few years ago, and the book was terrible. The story you suggest is so much more interesting! Takes me back to when HPs had genuine local color and more variety. Did the book not sell because the hero was Indian, or did it not sell because it offered nothing new? I doubt anyone asked that question. :-\


message 3: by Asteropê (last edited Mar 21, 2013 09:39AM) (new)

Asteropê (21tauri) | 82 comments Ah, that book was Maharaja's Mistress, I believe? I haven't read it, but I have read reaviews. Honestly, I think it was just a bad plot and characters. The reviews mostly go on about those points and not that the hero is Indian. It would be sad if they used that as the measuring sick for not writing other types of heroes.

I know HQN India recently had a contest for Indian writers and now there are a handful of Indian-themed HQN books. But only one seems to have trickled into the UK/US marked-- Monsoon Wedding Fever

I hope the others do as well.
Falling for a Bollywood Legend
Sexy Duo: A Date With A Bollywood Star / The Proposal Plan
His Monsoon Bride
The Love Asana

In the end, I'll still read Presents stories (& love is love, no matter what package it's in), but I would appreciate more variety and even though it's mostly glossed over (we all know many liberties are taken with Sheikh romances), I still enjoy the hint of other places and cultures.

The story you suggest is so much more interesting!
LOL. Thanks. I've actually had a scene like that in my head for awhile. I dabble in writing and if I could (my main issue is inability to finish things), I'd totally write a story with it.

I just think, there are many many creative ways that other locals and heroes could be worked into Presents stories.

:-)


message 4: by willaful (new)

willaful | 344 comments Actually it was a Penny Jordan, Virgin For The Billionaire's Taking by Penny Jordan


message 5: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
I agree with you that there could be a lot more diversity. The Maisey Yates book with a half-black African hero can't even be bought in the US. I am livid about it. Apparently some groups here in the US said they wouldn't buy it because of the cover. Why should prejudiced readers speak for everyone? The Highest Price to Pay by Maisey Yates


message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (last edited Mar 21, 2013 06:04PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
Every once in a while, you will see a Indian or Asian character in the books. What is even more irritating is that they won't show the character looking non-Caucasian on the cover in the US version. It's a shame that this is the perception that the US has that we can't handle non-white people on the covers on books without relegating them to a racially segregated reading 'ghetto'. Sorry for the strong language.


Steamywindows♥♫ (steamywindows) | 10 comments Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "I agree with you that there could be a lot more diversity. The Maisey Yates book with a half-black African hero can't even be bought in the US. I am livid about it. Apparently some groups here in ..."

Well Danielle, I looked on the Canadian amazon site, and just about fell over, this book is listed as $49.95 for paperback??? Then I saw reviews linking back to the American site and found them (amazon.com) selling it second hand... highest price to pay used... What in the world? I just don't get it.


message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateperegrinate) I'm not suggesting that it makes me for a lack of diversity in HP books, but Harlequin does have the Kimani Romance line, which the HQN website says "feature sophisticated, soulful and sensual African-American and multicultural heroes and heroines who develop fulfilling relationships as they lead lives full of drama, glamour and passion."

I think one of the problems is that authors write what they know, and since the majority of HP authors seem to be white, that's the ethnicity of the characters that they write. Some of the younger writers that have more diverse backgrounds or families (like Maisey Yates and Nicola Marsh) are introducing more cultural diverse characters (although I think Nicola Marsh's might be limited to her non-Harlequin books so far).


message 9: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (last edited Mar 21, 2013 08:11PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
I think that's a fallacy for authors to write only the characters who have the same ethnicity. Does that mean you can't write a book about an Italian woman if you're a black man? I don't think so. That is a dangerous presumption that a black person is radically different from a white person. And that's very false, especially if you are looking at people of the same nationality. Can you only write about vampires if you're a vampire? I realize that there is a certain level of nervousness associated with writing a character of a different ancestry than yours, but why not do your research and take a chance? We are all human beings and that's what matters to me. Why do we have to read Kimani books to read about black people in the Harlequin romance? That's exactly what I mean about the racially segregated reading ghetto. I hope that no one takes what I'm saying personally, but I'm just being brutally honest.


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (last edited Mar 21, 2013 08:13PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
It's ridiculous, Steamy. As much as I want to read that book, I'm not paying $50 for it. Maisey Yates' husband is biracial, so I think that if people are worried about writing what you know, well I definitely think she might know something about it, except her husband isn't from Africa.


message 11: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I'm not suggesting that it makes me for a lack of diversity in HP books, but Harlequin does have the Kimani Romance line, which the HQN website says "feature sophisticated, soulful and sensual Afri..."

I do have to be honest. I don't find the Kimani storylines interesting. What does that say since I am African American and I love Harlequin books?


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateperegrinate) Sorry, I should have said that some authors prefer to write only about the things that they know. Obviously, not all authors are that way, and I'm not condoning it as a valid reason for HP not having culturally diverse characters.

An additional problem that I have with HPs is that so many characters (especially the heroes) are based on ethnic stereotypes. If the hero is Italian or Spanish, he must be a sex-crazed alpha male. If he's British, he an emotionless cad with a stick up his backside. If he's Arabic, he can only ever marry a virgin, even if he's slept around with a variety of supermodels. And, when an author tries to break from the cultural stereotypes, readers complain (e.g., reviewers complaining that a hero in a "sheikh" HP wouldn't drink alcohol because it would be against his religion).


message 13: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
I am sorry if sounded harsh. I completely agree with you about the ethnic stereotypes. I don't think any person is always a certain way. I want authentic characters, and not being of that ethnicity doesn't preclude an author from writing a realistic character of that ethnic/racial background, especially in this day of readily available information and cultural exposure.


message 14: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Hey Asterope, you need to start writing! What you just described was fabulous!!!


message 15: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateperegrinate) Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "I am sorry if sounded harsh. I completely agree with you about the ethnic stereotypes. I don't think any person is always a certain way. I want authentic characters, and not being of that ethnici..."

You weren't harsh! I re-read what I wrote and realized that I had left out a very important word that I had meant to include.


message 16: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Pingle wrote: "I would love to read more Russian heroes in HP

I recently read Dealing Her Final Card by Jennie Lucas and A Reputation For Revenge by Jennie Lucas both heroes in these books are Russian ..."


Hey Pingle, try His Last Chance At Redemption by Michele Condor and A Royal Workd Apart by Maisey Yates. Both feature Russian heroes and both are HOT!


message 17: by Ruchi (new)

Ruchi Vasudeva | 24 comments Asteropê wrote: "Sometimes I find myself frustrated with the lack of variety when it comes to the character's ethnicity/nationality.

We have the most common:
Greek, Italian, Sicilian, Spanish, Arab (Sheikh)
And t..."


Hi Asterope, I agree with your point. And the scene you wrote is so lovely :) If it helps to know, my next book (out in December) has a Holi scene where the hero drenches her in coloured water. My first book is also about Indian characters. So more variety will certainly be seen in Harlequin :)


message 18: by Sandra (last edited May 16, 2014 09:03PM) (new)

Sandra | 40 comments I wish there were more British heroes. There doesn't seem to be as many as there used to be.


message 19: by Verity (new)

Verity | 567 comments Agree w/ U, Sandra. Tom Hiddleston's version of Loki (dark-haired, thortured soul) would be my go-to. I'm partial to intense, dark-haired heroes w/ shexy accent. TH can sit on my drippy throne anytime...


message 20: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments I think the only British hero I've read is in Penny Jordan's His Convenient Mistress. Loved this one. It was my first Penny Jordan and I haven't read any since but thinking about it now I might go looking for some.
I think there is another one I remember by Michelle Condor. I'll look it up.


message 21: by Sandra (last edited May 23, 2014 08:40PM) (new)

Sandra | 40 comments Verity wrote: "Agree w/ U, Sandra. Tom Hiddleston's version of Loki (dark-haired, thortured soul) would be my go-to. I'm partial to intense, dark-haired heroes w/ shexy accent. TH can sit on my drippy throne anyt..."

Verity, I also love intense, dark-haired heroes and love British accents!

Jennie wrote: "I think the only British hero I've read is in Penny Jordan's His Convenient Mistress. Loved this one. It was my first Penny Jordan and I haven't read any since but thinking about it now I might go ..."

Jennie, I read and really enjoyed Penny Jordan's His Convenient Mistress!

Some years back there was a HP series that featured British heroes called DINNER AT 8.

"DINNER AT 8: Wined, dined and swept away by a British billionaire!"


message 22: by Ipshita (new)

Ipshita (miss_romanceaholic) | 20 comments I found one with Indian h/H Secrets of a Bollywood Marriage.


message 23: by Pam (new)

Pam | 258 comments I.f


message 24: by Pam (new)

Pam | 258 comments sorry dog stepped on hands. I finished Ruthless Magnate Convient Wife by Lynne Graham the hero was Russian. also I believe Diana Hamilton had a few Brit hero's. Emma Darcy many of her heroes are from Australia.


message 25: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
Sandra wrote: "I wish there were more British heroes. There doesn't seem to be as many as there used to be."

Totally agree. Love British men!


message 26: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
Verity wrote: "Agree w/ U, Sandra. Tom Hiddleston's version of Loki (dark-haired, thortured soul) would be my go-to. I'm partial to intense, dark-haired heroes w/ shexy accent. TH can sit on my drippy throne anyt..."

I love me some Hiddles!


message 27: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
There are some out there, but no where as many as Italians and Greeks.


message 28: by Sandra (last edited May 23, 2014 08:23PM) (new)

Sandra | 40 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) wrote: "Verity wrote: "Agree w/ U, Sandra. Tom Hiddleston's version of Loki (dark-haired, thortured soul) would be my go-to. I'm partial to intense, dark-haired heroes w/ shexy accent. TH can sit on my dri..."

I'm not familiar with Tom Hiddleston. I'll have to check him out/look his movies up!


message 29: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 40 comments I read a book a few years back with a Japanese hero. It was a Silhouette Special Edition. It was pretty good.

Mergers & Matrimony - Allison Leigh

Mergers & Matrimony  by Allison Leigh


message 30: by Asteropê (new)

Asteropê (21tauri) | 82 comments I made a list with interracial HQN books awhile back. Here it is:

"Interracial Harlequin & Mills & Boon Romances"
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3...

It's not just limited to Presents/Modern titles, though, but all published by HQN/M&B.

Feel free to add any new ones on there or correct any mistakes!


message 31: by Lemon (last edited May 24, 2014 07:15AM) (new)

Lemon | 801 comments Mod
I'm partial to British heroes as well. Michelle Reid's heroes tend be Brits though she has her share of Italians. As well as Helen Brooks, although some are American. Sara Craven has written many Brits. Now that I think about it, those are all older books.

Penny Jordan's Virgin For The Billionaire's Taking I think had an Indian hero, although I haven't read so I don't know for sure. Description says hero is the heir of a Maharaja.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Late to the party on this one (by a lot!) but I stumbled across this thread while doing research (I'm, um, trying my hand at a Presents and part of it takes place in Japan) and loved all the insightful comments. Would love to see more diverse heroines, too.


message 33: by Jen - Reviews (last edited Dec 09, 2014 03:46PM) (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Emily, try Lisa Marie Perry. She's a Harlequin author and her heroines are African American. Great books I've read three of them from the Blue Dynasty.
Just For Christmas Night, Night Games and Midnight Blue.


message 34: by Christine (new)

Christine | 86 comments Snowed in with her boss by Maisey Yates Christmas with a Billionaire Billionaire under the Mistletoe\Snowed in with Her Boss\A Diamond for Christmas by Carole Mortimer features the brother of Blaise Chevalier from The Highest Price to Pay by Maisey Yates


message 35: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Harlequin Presents are my crack! (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 2280 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "Snowed in with her boss by Maisey Yates Christmas with a Billionaire Billionaire under the Mistletoe\Snowed in with Her Boss\A Diamond for Christmas by Carole Mortimer features the brother of Bl..."

Thanks!


message 36: by A (last edited Jan 16, 2015 03:25AM) (new)

A (louboutin) | 24 comments what about heroines? They are only ever white (British, American, Italian, Scandinavian or GreeK)

In fact I've never heard of or seen a HQ with a heroine other than described above, at least there are few HQ's with hero's like that. Maybe it's because the largest demographic of readers are white so it caters to them?


message 37: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments An, see my comment above. Lisa Marie Perry writes strong, fabulous African American heroines.


message 38: by A (new)

A (louboutin) | 24 comments Jennie - Webbweaver Reviews wrote: "An, see my comment above. Lisa Marie Perry writes strong, fabulous African American heroines."

Thanks, I missed a few posts mistakenly :)

I just did a google search and have noted most non-white female characters are African American, I've just found what looks like a good one with a Chinsse heroine (the loners thanksgiving wish by roxanne rustand).


message 39: by Asteropê (last edited Jan 16, 2015 04:00AM) (new)

Asteropê (21tauri) | 82 comments There are a few HQNs I know of with non-white heroines. Most of them that I've encountered are Asian.

Edit:
Note: I haven't read all of these. I gathered this list via GR lists, character names and cover images. So, there could be errors.

Presents The Sinful Art of Revenge - Japanese heroine
Intrigue Protective Measures - black heroine (w/ white man)
Intrigue Scandal in Copper Lake - black heroine (w/ white man)
Superromance She Walks the Line - Chinese heroine (w/ white man)
Blaze Her Book of Pleasure - Japanese heroine (w/ white man)
Special Edition Family in Progress - Japanese heroine (w/ white man)
Desire A Trap So Tender - Singaporean heroine (w/ white man)
Superromance Back to the Good Fortune Diner - Chinese heroine (w/ white man)
Superromance Midway Between You and Me - Veitnamese heroine (w/ white man)
? Below Deck - Chinese heroine (w/ white man)
Love Inspired The Loner's Thanksgiving Wish - Chinese heroine (w/ white man)

There are also many Indian hero/ines now due to the Indian Author Collection. You can see them all here:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/7...


message 40: by A (new)

A (louboutin) | 24 comments Asteropê wrote: "There are a few HQNs I know of with non-white heroines. Most of them that I've encountered are Asian.

Presents The Sinful Art of Revenge - Japanese heroine
Intrigue [book:Protecti..."


This is amazing, thanks! Off to buy too many books


message 41: by Jen - Reviews (last edited Jan 16, 2015 04:15AM) (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments Ab, there are also many Arabic and Greek heroine's. Try Olivia Gates - The Sarantos Secret Baby, Claiming His Own, The Desert King, To Tame A Sheikh, To Touch A Sheikh.
One Night with the Sheikh by Kristi Gold.
The Forbidden Ferrara by Sarah Morgan.


message 42: by A (new)

A (louboutin) | 24 comments Thanks Jennie, definintely interested in Arabic heroines! is it just me though or are Greek or half Greek heroines really common? Ive read so many with Greek heroines lately!


message 43: by Jen - Reviews (new)

Jen - Reviews | 159 comments I dont know I've only read Olivia Gates Greek heroines. She always writes strong, usually well-educated women not the usual HP heroines.


message 44: by A (last edited Jan 17, 2015 06:43PM) (new)

A (louboutin) | 24 comments Just read Marriage On The Rebound by Michelle Reid (good book) with a half lebanese heroine. The heroine initally thinks H dislikes her because of her 'mixed blood' (turns out his reaction is because hes always loved her and hes jealous of her fiance).

Anyway, it was a older book (maybe 80s or 90s? I got the reissue kindle version) so i don't think any of the modern books with non-white heroines would have things like the heroine thinking the H is prejudiced, newer books are more PC

If anyone knows any older HPs with a mixed or different ethnicity heroine, let me know!


message 45: by Iszy (new)

Iszy | 27 comments what about romance with a turkish hero. I need some recommendations please


message 46: by Vashti (new)

Vashti | 732 comments There us one by Lynne Graham that I cannot remember the name now.


message 47: by Vashti (new)

Vashti | 732 comments The name of the book us called A Mediterranean Marriage by Lynne Graham,enjoy.


message 48: by Widala (last edited Aug 15, 2015 10:08PM) (new)

Widala | 7 comments Her Singapore Fling by Kelly Hunter
The heroine is Chinese.

it's true, there were lack of diversity both in hero and heroine's ethnicity/nationality.
Is it because the majority of hero's race (Italian and Greek) fit into the 'tall dark handsome' often used to describe attractive men?
Personally, I'm more of tall fair handsome... that's why I love Betty Neels, not just because of the story but also most of her heroes were Dutch or British with fair complexion.
And I read a story once where the hero was a ginger! But I forget the author and the title...


message 49: by Pam (new)

Pam | 258 comments Diana Palmer has a couple that are reds. If u like her.


message 50: by Pam (last edited Aug 16, 2015 08:11AM) (new)

Pam | 258 comments For me my hero depends ony mood. However i agree that i like the Mediterranean men. Something about the culture of highly sexual alpha males. It has been in our psyche forever. Throught out history these men are potrayed as sexual prowlers. Even today greeks have more sex than any other country almost double the USA And we hear the term latin lover often. We never hear the Scandinavian lovers. Usually they are described as large burly or lumber jack resemblance. Which may not sell.


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