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"Wounded Hero" Romance Novels

Updated on June 9, 2014

What is a "wounded hero" romance?

This phrase is a eumphemism to mean that the male love interest in the story has a physical disability. There are several reasons why we enjoy these books.

*Maybe you like to see a different kind of hero, someone other than the Fabio-model.

*Maybe you enjoy reading about people overcoming physical challenges and finding love.

*Maybe you like the unique blend of tough guy and vulnerability that these men embody.

Photo by dreamer.. at Flickr, adrea photography

Here I will tell you about my favorite romance books, those that I didn't care for, and other books that aren't necessarily romance but have love stories and "wounded" heroes. I'll also have my to-be-read list.

I write in this genre, so be sure to check out my bio!

I hope you'll share your favorites too!

photo by cliff1066tm at Flickr

For More Reviews

For reviews of books and movies from myself and my friends Lee and Devogirl, come to ParaDevo's Review Site. I also do reviews on my personal website.

Favorites

These are books I've read, enjoyed, and reviewed!

The Boy Next Door - by Annabelle Costa

This is my number one favorite romance novel so far.

I fell in love right away with Tasha's wit and sassy attitude and with Jason's good natured geekiness.

Tasha and Jason grew up next door to each other and were friends as kids. Later they reconnect as adults in New York City. Jason is an investment banker and Tasha is a school teacher. She's starting to find her way after some wild years and she is feeling ready to settle down. Her good friend Jason is seeing someone, but he helps set her up with Larry. Larry is an okay guy, but kind of boring. Is Tasha really going to throw away love and passion for safety?

We all know from the start that Jason is perfect for her, but the tension of the book is wondering if the two of them are ever going to see that!

Jason is a paraplegic from when he was a kid, before he even met Tasha. His portrayal is good. He struggles with some issues around being disabled, but is also very well adjusted and comfortable with who he is. I really fell in love with him reading this book!

The author also put in some hilarious flow charts and graphics for some of the chapters. I was laughing out loud and even my boyfriend loved them when I showed him!

It's hard not to fall in love with this book!

The First Line

I wasn’t too happy when my parents told me that I had to try to make friends with the crippled kid who just moved in next door.

What did you think?

Did you love The Boy Next Door as much as I did?

Daredevil's Run - by Kathleen Creighton

I really liked this book. I liked that it took place over a short period of time and that there was a touch of suspense to keep the story interesting. I liked that the circumstances keeping the hero and heroine apart had more to do with their personal history than with him being disabled.

The action was believable, but exciting. It was paced well. I loved the way the author described each moment and movement of the characters. It drew me right into the story. There was a subtle suspense plot running under the surface and it provided just enough extra tension to really enhance the love story.

It is the story of former partners and lovers who have not seen each other for five years, not since Matt was paralyzed in a freak climbing accident. Alex (the girl, most of the girls in this book have boy names) tried to stick by him at the time, but he wasn't able to deal. His brother convinces him to go back and try to make up for it, but someone else has another agenda.

Impressively, this is the most believable portrayal of paraplegia I have ever seen in a romance novel. I found Matt very real and thought the descriptions of how he moved were accurate and well written. I also completely bought it when he performed some amazing, daring rescues!

My complaints are minor. This, as seems to be a tradition with romance novels, is part of a series of related stories. It's clear there was a previous book about Matt's brother Cory and his wife. I haven't read that one and it was not necessary to enjoy this book, but there were a lot of references to things that must have happened in the other.

Two points about the SCI. It was strange to me that Matt was driving a van with a wheelchair lift. I've never known a t-10 para to waste time with a slow lift, not to mention the expense, all the guys I know drive a regular car. Second, there's a line: "flexed his hands in the leather gloves all people in wheelchairs wore to protect..." I don't know of a single thing that ALL people in wheelchairs do. Certainly not gloves. Some do and some don't wear them.

All in all, though, I highly recommend this book.

The First Line

"Alex Penny gave a start when the front door to the offices of Penny Tours, located in the tiny town of Wofford Heights, California, opened to admit a stranger."

What did you think?

Did you like Daredevil's Run?

The Write Man For Her - by Christie Walker Bos

This book is a fun, sweet, enjoyable read. I would describe it as harmless. Not life changing. The main character is an adult woman taking a creative writing class. She's fascinated by her mysterious professor and hunts him down, discovering that he is paraplegic.

He is more enjoyable than many of the very dramatic romance novels with disabled heroes. He lives an independent life, is mostly well-adjusted, and fights the creepy bad guy.

That said, In a lot of ways it doesn't feel like Brant is connected or grounded in the world. Many potential problems created by his wheelchair use are glossed over. In other words, the writing lightly flies past how he moves, how he is living on a houseboat, how he deals with stairs, and the effect is like he is sort-of floating along.

The heroine is easy to relate to and interesting. The bad guy who is trying to get her attention is deliciously awful and her best friend is fun and sassy.

The First Line

Oblivious to the sounds of the office kicking into high gear for the day, Jessica Anne Singer, account executive for McMannon & Fitch Advertising Agency, sat at her old oak desk trying to get her fingers to keep up with the thoughts in her head.

What did you think?

Did you like The Write Man For Her

Equal Opportunities - by Mathilde Madden

A unique read about sex and relationship. It's detailed in its descriptions, but it didn't feel gross to me. Though I wouldn't want to do most of the things the characters do!

There's an upbeat tone, good chemistry with the characters, and really excellent writing.

The First Line

I don't normally do this sort of thing, let alone in a place like this.

What did you think?

Did you like Equal Opportunities

A Heart of Little Faith - by Jennifer Wilck

The story is that Lily is a widow with a young daughter and she finds a great father figure in her best friend's brother. Then they start to fall in love.

A good solid romance with all the regular elements. The writing was good with pacing, atmosphere, and engaging all the senses. The hero is a paraplegic and (typically of these types of books) has a low-level and incomplete injury so that sex is not at all hindered. The sex scenes themselves are not shown, but the sexual tension and kissing, etc. are well drawn.

Most of the writing was very engaging and the story fun and interesting. The character of the little girl was particularly believable and enjoyable. The love story itself is sweet and if you like straightforward romances, this is the book for you.

The First Line

Gideon entered his sister's crowded SoHo Gallery in Manhattan and glanced at his watch.

What did you think?

Did you like A Heart of Little Faith?

Support Our Troops - By Robyn Bradley

My only complaint on this story is that it's very short. Just as things start heating up and getting good, it ends. Luckily, the author is releasing a novel about these characters very soon!

The characters are well drawn, believable. Their voices are strong and interesting. The story is well written. It grabs you at the start, it continues with good pacing, believable characters, and crisp dialogue.

The basic story is that Koty has been forced to volunteer helping Jamie, a recent veteran who has lost all four of his limbs. They're both on edge: Koty has a busy life and was volunteered by her not-so-nice husband and Jamie doesn't have any interest in being "babysat." The chemistry between them is strong, though.

The First Line

Koty, you could talk the balls off a brass monkey.

What did you think?

Did you like Support Our Troops?

Morning Side of Dawn - by Justine Davis

I really enjoyed this one.

The characters were interesting and their struggles to come together felt plausible. I loved that Dar is not a two-dimensional stereotype. He's running his business, designing wheelchairs for hiking and other sports.

Cassie, as a well-known model, understands him in a way he doesn't expect. They both know about being judged on appearances.

The First Line

"This is impossible, Cassandra."

What did you think?

Did you like The Morning Side of Dawn?

The Old Mermaid's Tale - by Kathleen Valentine

I loved this book. The description is rich and engaging, the characters feel tremendously real. Every moment of the mother and the main character is achingly believable. It is not really a romance novel, but there is a love story.

It's about the struggle within us between the safe path in life and the dangerous one that calls to us. Will we be happy always playing it safe?

About halfway through the book Clair meets the gorgeous, mysterious Baptiste, a single leg amputee.

He is undeniably sexy and Clair falls hard for him. It's a great depiction of disability because Baptiste hardly notices his missing leg and certainly never lets it stop him. He wears a prosthesis and it is not very noticeable. He is such a deep, rich character who is so beloved by those around him that no one tends to say much about his leg.

The First Line

In 1960 my hero was a sixteen-year chess player named Bobby Fischer, not a sports figure of high regard in the coffee shops and bar rooms of Plainview, Ohio.

Me Before You - by Jojo Moyes

The story is about Lou, who is a charming young woman with a quirky sense of style. She is hired to be the carer for a quadriplegic man even though she has no experience at all. It turns out that she was hired to help him out of depression by being her cheery self.

Even with the heavy subject, it is a chick-lit book.

The main character is sweet, endearing, and adorable. Her family members are entertaining secondary characters. And the love that develops between Lou and Will is profound. It builds very slowly and then really blossoms. Because it takes Lou so much time to realize her feelings, the love is that much deeper and more real.

I was impressed with how Lou's past was handled. It turned out that she had some difficult experiences that Will helps her to process and it was really well done.

I find the quad-wants-to-die plot problematic. It reeks of ableism: "I, an able-bodied woman with no experience of disability shall write about a quadriplegic. What should I write? How about how miserable his life must be?"

I, also an able-bodied woman, have no authority to say that's not true. What I can say is that I've known quads and none of them have wanted to commit suicicde. They expressed to me how grateful they were to be alive and emphasized how they have grown from the experience. One told me that he had learned so much from it that his life was better than it had been.

If you're going to ever read any book where the plot is quad-wants-to-die, this is the one. It tries to present a balanced view, bringing in voices from an online forum that Lou visits. I'm reluctant to recommend any book with this plot, but I did find myself moved by it. If you do read it, I urge you to remember that whatever it might seem like from an outside point of view, many people with quadriplegia are living happy and content lives.

I was reluctant to read it, knowing this was the plot, but I am glad that I read it. I enjoyed it, found the writing good, and would recommend it with the above caveat.

The First Line

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed.

Stranger in Town - by Brenda Novak

This is a good, standard, well executed romance, but somehow it didn't really grab me. I didn't relate to the characters in a small town, loving football. It was hard for me to get invested, even though it's a strong premise.

The heroine is responsible for putting the hero in a wheelchair in the first place!

There were plenty of obstacles for the characters to overcome and I found that the book hit its stride once the characters finally admitted their feelings for each other.

Good if you're looking for something light and enjoyable.

The First Line

The road was covered with black ice.

Currently Reading

Books I'm in the middle of

Cowboy Down - by Vanessa Gray Bartal

I finished this one and enjoyed it a lot! Need to move it up to the reviews section!

A Man Like Mac - by Fay Robinson

Books I disliked

For me personally, I found these books irritating, lacking in plot, and/or having seriously unbelievable characters. But we all have different taste, so you may enjoy books that I found lacking...

What other books should I try?

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    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Oh, it's still up in the Kindle store. Do you not have access to the Kindle stores? Looks like it's exclusive to Amazon at the moment and I don't know if the author has plans to change that, but I'll see if I can let her know that you're looking for a copy.

    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Really? Oh dear. I did enjoy that book. I'll see if I can get you a copy. I'm not sure how that works! I should see if I can get in touch with the author and ask about it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello you made nice list :) I read Me before you and it was hearbreaking at the end, I'm also interested in Cowboy down but I can't get it anywhere :( It looks good but have no chance to get it so I wanted to ask you if you have it in ebook if you would be so nice and send it to me. My mail - terka51@seznam.cz I would really really appreciate it. Thanks for the list :)

    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the recommendation! I'll look for that one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Broken by Megan Hart

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Another appreciated list in an underserved niche.

    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Great suggestion! I've never heard of it. I will add it to my list now and maybe do a review on my blog in the future. Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Honk and Hollar Opening Soon by Billie Letts has a very realistically portrayed paraplegic leading man. The story sucks you in very quickly. I highly recommend it!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very interesting picks - thanks for sharing! :)

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      nice collection

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 5 years ago

      @RyooT: That is very helpful! It can be so hard to know which ones are worth taking a chance on.

    • profile image

      RyooT 5 years ago

      Regarding your question on the Not Yet Read list here is my opinion:

      Of the ones I have read to exceptional books stand out for me: Her Lone Cowboy and Heartsight

      Additionally the following have left a positive impression: Cross Country Chaos, My Foolish Heart and Marriage to Fight For

      The remaining I either haven't read or weren't that memorable.