One great thing about Romance novels are those happy endings. Hot guy meets "ordinary" girl and BAM! They're completely in love and living the dream.
And the "ordinary" girl type heroine is common and widely used. It's often that this "ordinary" girl can barely believe that the hot guy would even give her the time of day. In some instances. this may be completely reasonable. Generally, our heroes are genetically superior, superhuman and larger than life. Because of this, a little trepidation on the heroine's part doesn't seem so unlikely.
But what we see so often is not just how our heroine is shocked at first that the hero is interested in her, but that she can't seem to overcome this shock throughout an entire novel. What's so annoying is when our heroine has such low self-esteem that she is constantly reminding the hero (and the reader) how she doesn't find herself worthy of a healthy relationship or love.
And what really chaps my hide is that this low self-esteem is usually centered around her looks. The heroine thinks she's too curvy, or too short, or her eyes are too brown, or hair too dull. And because of THAT, she isn't worthy of love? This makes me crazy.
I think one of the biggest gifts we get when reading books are different people's perspectives. Experiencing life through a characters eyes is an extraordinary way to live in somebody else's shoes. And I think there are so many ways that a character with low self-esteem can be successfully written to help a reader understand that point of view.
What I don't appreciate is when a heroine's character never develops to accept who she really is; shortcomings as well as her strengths. Even when everyone around her, especially the hero, is trying to get her to open her eyes. These self-shamers are just plain annoying and make it so hard to enjoy a perfectly good story.
What are your thoughts?