For anyone in the romance-sphere, you’ll have seen quite a few stories recently published by Glamour, the Daily Mail, MSN, Pop Sugar, Barnes & Noble etc. about a surge in popularity of a certain kind of romantic hero.
The single dad.
Romance publishers Mills & Boon have released a series of stories as part of one of its many bundle deals, all featuring single fathers as the hero. Stories include: The CEO Daddy Next Door by Karen Booth, The Daddy Project by Lee McKenzie and Saved By The Single Dad by Annie Claydon to name a few.
Disclaimer! Not sponsored by Mills & Boon, or any of the other publications mentioned.
Now, this archetype isn’t new, it’s been around for a long time as have all the others.
But in recent months, there seems to be a growing appeal for gorgeous, single men with children to be the ones to make us swoon.
In the vast majority (if not all) of romance novels, the hero is an alpha-male. Big, strong, knee-tremblingly gorgeous, capable to make any reader fall head over heels in love.
But as time shifts, particular romantic hero archetypes become more popular to the masses than others.
From the accomplished, older man in the 1950s, to the Fifty Shades series (whatever your views on this story are) causing a boom in erotic novels sales in the 2010s, every hero archetype is given its chance to shine.
This time round, single dads have been thrust in to the spotlight.
So why are single dads so popular to female readers?
Generally speaking, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man who’s great with kids just makes our hearts melt.
We’ve all been there. We find a guy attractive, and then we find out he’s good with kids. And for some reason, it makes them ten times more attractive to us!
It shows us that if a man is good with children, he’ll probably be a good father. And on both an instinctive and conscious level, we find that very attractive.
As well as this, many of these single dads in romance novels are very accomplished (again, another hero staple) whatever archetype they fit in to i.e. the billionaire, the soldier, the doctor, the hotel owner etc.
Either way, he’s got his life (as far as work goes) together, and that provides a sense of security. Again, another very attractive trait.
Quite often, though not always in single dad romances, is some form of hardship or adversity, such as the mother walking out on him and his child/children (i.e. One Night With Morelli by Mills & Boon author Kim Lawrence) or becoming a widower, leaving the men apprehensive or cutting themselves off from finding love again.
Think Jude Law in The Holiday and Liam Neeson in Love Actually. I’m not going to lie, I swooned at both!
So to see the traditional traits in a romantic hero: attractive, driven, alpha-male etc. appeal as the staple traits to readers, seeing him as a doting father to his kids shows he’s got his priorities in check.
It shows a softer, more emotional, caring side that we both want and need in a romantic hero as well as a real life partner.
And that’s the whole point of a romance novel!
That caring nature underneath the toughness, the fleeting tender moments and the romantic build up between the hero and heroine that can take it from a casual, no-strings-attached arrangement to a happily ever after.
From my perspective, it’s quite a refreshing change to see a softer side to our romantic heroes.
For me, I do love the traditional alpha-male, but I like my heroes to be quite romantic too, a mix of both. I don’t like a hero to be a jerk, that’s just not for me.
Yes, the alpha archetype is one that isn’t going away any time soon.
But it’s the alpha-male hero that is tough and protective but can show that emotional side men are so often told not to show (not cool, society!) that many women love to swoon over.
The single dad character is a perfect example of that.
So, if this is your thing, go and have a read! I’m looking forward to seeing what romantic stories come of this popularity!
Hope you enjoyed this post, guys! 🙂
Happy Sunday! 🙂