The Dream of Broad Shoulders


I was reading a historical romance one evening when, in exasperation, I nearly zapped the book out of my iPad right there and then. Not because it was badly written. Nor was it boring.Rather, it annoyed me that for the umpteenth time, the author described her hero as having wide/broad shoulders. Now, how often is it necessary to do that? Do you ever forget the attributes of the hero while you’re reading? We know, even before we start, he can’t be less than uncommonly masculine (and often handsome), with passion, power (or, perhaps, rage), and a magnetic personality to boot.Ever the compulsive person, I tallied how many times this book's author felt obliged to use “wide or broad shoulders”. In the case of this traditionally published Regency romance, the phrase comes up about thirty times. Whether that’s too much or not, probably depends on your individual tolerance for such things. We—romance readers—come in so many guises, after all.
For me, it is at least twenty-five times too many. I certainly don’t mind being told about it once and can even tolerate it a couple more times or so. But apart from broad-shoulder-induced tingling, life does go on in a hundred other ways, a great many of them wonderful and consuming. Love does happen in the context of an overarching life.

Read the entire article in the April 2016 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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