Academic Heroines

I wrote a post, “Undressing the Hero: Judith Ivory’s Untie My Heart” for Heroes and Heartbreakers that went live today.

Now on to today’s topic. I don’t intend to make “unusual heroines” a weekly thing, but I do want to know…where are the romance heroines who are academics?

Career academic who solves murders, yes: Quieter than Sleep by Joanne Dobson, which I mentioned yesterday. Grad student swept into fantasy realm where she has to learn to use a sword, sure: The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly.

But not so much with the heroines in contemporary romances. Bluestockings or so-called bluestockings in historical romance novels, yes, pretty often. I think of them as a different category, since most of them were educated at home or through an indulgent family, not at all the same thing as today’s academic world. (There’s a list of bluestocking heroines at All About Romance here.)

My question is more aimed at contemporaries. Where are the romance heroines fighting for tenure, balancing writing their dissertation with the demands of their billionaire lover, having to skip an anniversary dinner because of a conference? If there are women academics in romance novels, how often do we actually see them do anything, well, academic?

I mentioned on Twitter that I was writing this post, and promptly got some suggestions!

Victoria Dahl’s upcoming novel, Bad Boys Do, features a heroine who’s an instructor at a university, which means no job security–a great touch of realism!

The heroine in Erin McCarthy’s Hard and Fast is working on a Master’s degree in sociology.

The heroine of Judith Ivory’s The Proposition is a linguist, but isn’t shown to be associated with any particular university; she might be considered more in the “bluestocking” category.

I would be grateful for any further recommendations.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.

2 replies on “Academic Heroines”

  1. “Tolstoy Lied,” by Rachel Kadish, features a protagonist fighting for tenure as she works through a tempestuous relationship. Very good book. One of the most invisibly-written present-tense novels I’ve ever read; as in, I forgot that it was in present tense while reading, whereas with most things it always jars me a little.

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