We romance readers and writers all love a heroine who knows what she wants and goes out into the world to do whatever it takes to reach her goal. We want her to act on her own account, not react reluctantly to what others initiate. She has to be in the middle of the action, instead of being a mere observer.
One reason for that might be that I bet quite a few readers are more leaning towards the introverted side of the spectrum. Perhaps that's why we so much enjoy extraverted leading ladies in our reading material. There's nothing wrong with saying, "Let's think about the consequences a little longer before we do something we might regret." Still, there is no denying that it's simply fun to read about someone a lot more action driven. We introverts may not be all that adventurous, but that doesn't mean we can't have our fantasies.
When I proposed The Bookshop to my editor, I honestly worried if the main character, Jakoba, would be interesting enough. Wouldn't she be too quiet? Didn't she live too much inside her head? Even I have to admit that introvert is practically her middle name.
But no, they wanted the story about a nearly hundred year old Dutch bookseller looking back on her life during the twentieth century. They wanted the shy, obedient schoolgirl and young bookseller who is perfectly happy in her small world. They said yes to the woman who rather accepts the love of a good man, a German propaganda photographer, than lose her integrity. Yes to the woman who, without much drama, does what she considers right during the occupation of her country, and who picks up the pieces after the war to continue with the calmness of one who knows she's able to do what must be done.
A character like Jakoba has perhaps become an exception in stories about love and romance, but sometimes that is just how our heroines want to be written. I believe the world needs both. The loud hear me roar women, but also the ones who have a good, long think, take a deep breath and then do what they have to do.
The Bookshop blurb:
Even I, who had resisted kicking and screaming, had to admit defeat. Why would love be impressed by the protests of a simple bookseller?
Jakoba has had enough. It is 1999 and she looks back on her life that began at the start of the century. Her arrival was unexpected, but joyfully welcomed, by her middle-aged parents. In a time where a middle-class girl has one destiny, namely to become a wife and mother, Jakoba is allowed to start working at a bookshop. Books become one of the loves of her life. Later she will inherit the shop.
She values friendship, but romance has no meaning for her. She values her independence too much and knows all too well what price women pay for being married.
It is German army photographer Armin who will change the course of her life. Jakoba is forty when she meets him. Armin is almost thirty, and Germany has occupied Holland. It does not matter. For him, she's the one, and despite her hesitation both because of the war and because she can't understand what this handsome man sees in her-a plain woman-she has to admit her feelings for him.
Such love has consequences for both of them that will reach far beyond the war and in ways Jakoba could never have imagined.
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/book/the-bookshop
About RA Padmos:
In no particular order: woman, writer, in a relationship with my wife since 1981 (though we had to wait until 2001 until we could actually get married), mother of two grown sons, owner of cats (I can pretend, can't I?), reader and a lot more.
I write in different genres under different names. I'm also S.Dora for my M/M erotica and Ella Laurance for my M/F erotica.