Blogging from A to Z: W is for Wooing
Hi, everyone. Today, we’re going to talk about something that happens a lot in historical fiction, romance, steampunk, and a whole slew of other genres: wooing. Dictionary.com defines wooing as “to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.” I thought I’d take a look at how the male protagonists in my books go about it — for better or for worse, if you’ll pardon the expression.
In Erik LeMaitre’s case, in the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, to say that he has no idea how to go about courtship is to greatly understate the situation. He has little experience with human interactions and, frankly, gets it wrong a lot. He makes demands, put his foot in his mouth, and generally makes just about every mistake you can imagine. The one thing he has going for him is his hypnotic singing voice, and he uses it. A lot. In the same series, Gilbert Rochambeau and Michael Kaye are the guys who are always there as friends, quietly picking up the pieces of broken hearts and showing that they care in so many different ways that their beloveds are halfway in love with them before they even know it.
Like Erik, Amos Boudreaux (Bayou Fire) jumps in with both feet by offering to take Diana Corbett out for lunch within minutes of meeting her. He’s a lot more smooth than Erik, but let’s be fair — he hasn’t spent his adult life living in the basement of an opera house. In the same book, Alcide Devereaux is constrained by the mores of his culture; courtship among the French Creoles of New Orleans was highly ritualized during the 1830s, and we get a look at that in the book.
Two of my characters, Samuel Lee (In The Eye of The Storm) and Farukh Aria (His Beloved Infidel), risk violating social and cultural norms of their time by courting women outside their ethnicity and religion. Both of them are willing to fly in the face of familial and social prejudice — which can often be a risky proposition, even today. They both take the tack of sharing their culture with the women in their lives in order to create better understanding on both sides.
And then there’s Samuel Whittington (Clytie’s Caller). Sam isn’t planning to fall in love; he just wants to help a friend’s sister, who is dealing with what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder. He uses their mutual love of books to coax the titular Clytie out of her shell.
Finally, there’s Joe (The Rock Star in the Mirror). He figures that the best way to get the girl is to become exactly what she wants — with some unexpected consequences. Learning to be comfortable as himself is the journey of this story.
Antique Postcard, Public Domain Image via Creative Commons
What all of these men have in common is that they pay attention to the things enjoyed by the women in whom they are interested. They are thoughtful, willing to apologize when they aren’t perfect and, most importantly, are respectful of the women’s intelligence. None of them go in for the simpering types. Each of them goes about wooing differently, but those are the common threads.