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Perfectly Flawed Book List

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Okay, so I mentioned in my previous post that I’m in a romance book binge and asked if anyone would like to see the list of books, but I’m posting it anyway so you can enable my obsession. (If you’re not a romance reader, this entire post is a big meh for you.)

Below are books where one of the main characters is considered to be flawed in some way by themselves or by society to a degree that they feel unlovable. They have various levels of obstacles to overcome, but I’m drawn to characters who have more than situations requiring growth, and I heart love stories off the beaten path.

I’ve tried to keep the list spoiler-free, but sometimes these conditions aren’t announced out-right or in the blurbs. I apologize if I ruin a surprise here and there slightly.

First, some generalized definitions off the top of my head–so don’t quote me. Feel free to skip them if you know them.

Agoraphobia is a “fear” of crowds, open spaces, and the outside. (Most suffering from agoraphobia–as I do–practice avoidance and prefer familiar surroundings and fewer people. In extreme cases, the person becomes a shut-in.) 

Asperger’s is a high-functioning form of Autism characterized by higher IQs and serious social delays. (I have a child with Asperger’s.) (Slang name used by those with Asperger’s is Aspie. I’ve never known of anyone offended by it. My son claims to be an “Aspie.”) Autistic Savants are similar but have a higher level of intelligence typically in some areas like music or mathematics.

Claustrophobia is a “fear” of enclosed spaces.

Dyslexia is a reading disorder characterized by letters seeming to move, invert, or become unintelligible. Outside of contemporary times, this would have probably equaled illiteracy because it wasn’t well understood and treatment was nonexistent.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) a mental disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts leading to compulsive actions/behaviors to alleviate them. I have OCD and there are many blog posts here on this subject–which means a character has to be more than just a little quirky for me to label them as OCD. I’d love to see more books with OCD characters.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) encompasses a myriad of symptoms related to an inability to cope with prior trauma. Symptoms may include, but are in no way limited to claustrophobia, insomnia, mania, self-destructive behaviors, depression, and agoraphobia. (This is a very complex disorder that I couldn’t even scratch the surface on with this explanation. It’s often seen in soldiers and victims of crimes.)

 

Perfectly Flawed Characters

 

FTR = Fairy Tale Retelling (I believe all are Beauty and the Beast)

RR = Reread

PTSD = Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

***** = Would recommend and will most likely reread. I’m a moody reader though and some unmarked might be marked on a reread. *shrugs*

Historical Romance

~       Ever Yours by Gabi Anderson (Hero wears a ceramic mask to cover disfigurement from carriage accident and is lame.)

~      Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Hero has Asperger’s.)

~       Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh ***** (Hero has limp, disabled hand)

~       Simply Love by Mary Balogh (Hero is missing arm and has disfigured face.)

~       The Parfit Knight by Juliet Blyth (RR) (Deadtree only) ***** (Heroine is blind from a childhood accident.) (Very PG.) (Fave book of all time.)

~      The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne (RR) ***** (Heroine is blinded from an injury.) (I LOVE this story, but it gets slammed as a book about a blind heroine, but I can’t mention why without spoiling it. Google it if you want it spoiled. But the story itself, the dialogue, and the characters are brilliant. One of my favorite romances.)

~       His Enemy’s Daughter by Terri Brisbin (FTR) (Medieval) (Hero is disfigured and missing an eye. Heroine is blind for most of the book.)

~       Morgan and Archer by Grace Burrowes ***** (Heroine is losing her hearing.)

~       Scandal Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee (Heroine has a limp and traumatic nightmares after a bad fall.) (Paranormal mystery.)

~       The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase ***** (Hero has a neurological malady that he believes is fatal.)

~       Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After) by Tessa Dare (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred and blind.)

~       The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart ***** (Heroine is blind and witnesses Ripper murder.)

~       Song for Sophia by Moriah Densley ***** (Hero is a Savant)

~       The Beast of Edenmaine by Leighann Dobbs (FTR) (Hero has PTSD)

~       Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran ***** (Hero is an agoraphobe.)

~       England’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch ***** (Hero is an agoraphobe, claustrophobic, and speaks very little due to PTSD from torture.) (Very awesome.)

~       The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen (RR) ***** (Hero becomes a mute due to PTSD.) (Hero is brilliantly portrayed as sympathetic and yet powerful.)

~      The Unlacing of Miss Leigh by Diane Gaston (RR) (Hero has severe battle scars on his face from a saber and wears a mask.)

~       When a Duke Says I Do by Jane Goodger ***** (RR) (Hero has severe social anxiety disorder and pretends to be mute.)

~       The Mad Lord’s Daughter by Jane Goodger ***** (Heroine seems to have agoraphobia/germaphobia and has lived in her rooms for 15 years—though not entirely by choice.)

~       Her Imperfect Groom by Rose Gordon (Hero has Asperger’s, Heroine has dyslexia.)

~       The Gallant Waif by Anne Gracie (Hero limps and has scarred face.)

~       His Every Kiss by Laura Lee Guhrke ***** (Composer has tinnitus (ringing in his ears) from brain injury preventing him from composing—making him suicidal and self-destructive. Backstory character is bipolar.)  (This book was recommended to me and more than held up to my expectations. Great tortured hero if that’s what you’re looking for.)

~       Miss Lacey’s Last Fling by Candice Hern (Heroine has a mysterious malady with similar symptoms to her mother which leads her to believe she is dying and so she lives as if she has nothing to lose.)

~       To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt (RR) (Hero has PTSD from being in captivity.)

~       To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (RR) ***** (FTR) (Hero is seriously disfigured.)

~       To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt (RR) (Hero has severe PTSD and sleeps on a pallet.)

~       The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (RR) ***** (Hero was scarred by illness.)

~       The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (RR) ***** (Hero is missing fingers and scarred from childhood abuse.) (Fave heroes of all time.)

~       When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (RR) (FTR) ***** (Hero is lame and very “House”-like doctor.) (Fave books of all time.)

~       One Unashamed Night by Sophia James (RR) ***** (Hero is going blind.)

~       Masquerading Mistress by Sophia James (RR) (Hero is scarred and limps from time as a spy.)

~       A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss (Hero has a speech impediment.)

~      The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly ***** (Hero is missing hand and has a hook. Amazing how well this was handled in that it was a non-issue as far as being an obstacle—even when it did make some things…different if not challenging. Very different Regency.)

~     Marian’s Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly ***** (Hero is scarred on his face and torso.) (PG)

~       Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale (I’ve started, but not finished this. It’s deeper than I normally enjoy for an escape.) (Hero is put in an asylum after a stroke robs him of his ability to speak and understand language.)

~       Silent Revenge by Laura Landon (Heroine is deaf and stepbrother plans to commit her to an asylum unless she marries.)

~       Shattered Dreams by Laura Landon (Heroine has a severely disabled foot/ankle from a childhood accident.) (This book has a premarital sex scene, but so vague that I’d almost call this a PG-13. Language is likewise mild.)

~       With This Kiss by Victoria Lynne (FTR) ***** (Hero was severely burned while trying to save his servants from an arsonist’s fire.)

~       Beauty and the Scarred Hero by Emily May (Hero has a serious scar and a limp.)

~       A Passionate Endeavor by Sophia Nash (Hero has dyslexia.)

~       Beguiled by Susan Spencer Paul ***** (Heroine is a mute due to her vocal chords being scarred by acid as a child.) (Very Awesome premise that plays out well.)

~      The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney (Heroine is mute and suspected mad after her parents are murdered alongside the rest of the household in a raid in India when she was a child.)

~       The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (RR) ***** (Hero stutters.)

~       The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn *spoiler* (Hero has a learning disability which would modernly be called dyslexia.)

~      The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (Hero is left lame after his leg bone is shattered in a duel he instigated with a best friend while drunk. He’s also a bit of an Aspie—and obsessed with counting and numbers.)

~       The Grace of a Duke by Linda Rae Sande (Hero is horribly burned in a fire that claimed the rest of his family–and wears a mask. Heroine is late brother’s betrothed.)

~       To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain (Hero has social anxiety disorder and panic attacks.)

~       Love is Blind by Lynsay Sands (RR) ***** (Hero is disfigured. Heroine has atrocious vision.)

~       Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow (first in series) ***** (Hero has war wounds from a bayonet. Heroine is a chemist and a bit of an Aspie.)

~       Sweet Madness by Heather Snow ***** (third in series) (Hero has PTSD and is believed to be mad. Story begins in a private sanatorium. Secondary character is bipolar.)

~       My Lord Scandal by Emma Wildes (RR) (Heroine has severe asthma.)

 

Contemporary Romance

~       My Sunshine by Catherine Anderson (RR) (I really like this book, but the ending seems overly dramatic and silly after such a serious portrayal of their romance. I wobble between four and five stars.) (Heroine has aphasia—word processing disorder from brain damage from an accident.) (Catherine Anderson is well known for her portrayal of flawed characters, but this is the only one I’ve read thus far.)

~       The Write Man For Her by Christie Walker Bos ***** (Hero is a paraplegic. Read beyond her initial shocked response to finding out he’s a paraplegic because she rallies. I had doubts several times in this book, but, in the end, it was awesome.)

~       The Man Behind the Scars by Caitlin Crews (RR) (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred from war.) (So many clever lines in this one.)

~       Playing the Part by Darcy Daniel (Hero is blind from childhood trauma. Heroine is a famous actress.)

~       Tall, Dark, and Cajun by Sandra Hill (Hero is badly scarred from military service.)

~       Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye ***** (Hero suffers from severe claustrophobia due to trauma.) (A little more lust-at-first-“sight” than some might be comfortable with.)

~      His Heir, Her Honor by Catherine Mann (Hero is a prince from a defunct kingdom who works as a surgeon. He has a limp and back problems—after over a decade of surgeries and therapy—from an overthrow where his mother died.)

~       Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy (RR) ***** (Heroine is deaf.)

~       The Shy Bride by Lucy Monroe (RR) (Heroine is a concert pianist who has severe agoraphobia and performance anxiety.)

~       Danger Next Door by Katie Reus (RR) (Hero has severe scarring on face and torso.)

~       Samantha’s Cowboy by Marin Thomas (Heroine has memory lapses and concentration issues due to a brain injury. Hero has dyslexia. Secondary character is extremely gifted with a didactic memory.)

~       Breathless by Nancy Warren (RR) (Heroine has panic attacks.)

~       Imperfect Beauty by E. A. West ***** (Hero is blind and Scottish, and Heroine feels like she’s very physically imperfect.) (Very PG and fun.)

~       Holiday Confessions by Anne Marie Winston ***** (Hero is blind—which is really well done from an outsider’s viewpoint, and Heroine is ex-supermodel)

~       A Love Beyond Words by Sherryl Woods (Heroine is deaf and is rescued after a hurricane by hero who is with a disaster recovery team.)

~       Hajar’s Hidden Legacy by Maisey Yates ***** (Hero is scarred and has PTSD from bomb explosion that killed his family including heroine’s original fiancé. This has a Beauty and the Beast theme–though they’re both “royalty.”)

Slightly self-serving, but worth mentioning:

I have three Contemporary romance short stories on this blog for free that have characters who fit this list (you can judge stars for yourself):

~      Leather and Leotards by Wendy Sparrow (Hero is a paraplegic.) (PG)

~       For Sweet Pete’s Sake by Wendy Sparrow (Hero has dyscalculia -similar to dyslexia, but involves math.) (PG)

~       Keeping Fireflies by Wendy Sparrow (Secondary character is mute.) (PG)

and I have a Contemporary romance novella for sale that fits:

~         On His List by Wendy Sparrow (Hero has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD.)

 

Suspense Romance

~       Special Ops Rendezvous  by Karen Anders (Hero has severe PTSD.)

~       Skin Deep by Pamela Clare ***** (Hero is a former soldier with significant burns and scars from an explosion. Heroine has PTSD from being assaulted. The nature of her assault and her life could be a trigger for some.)

~      Explosive Attraction by Lena Diaz  (Heroine has serious claustrophobia and PTSD.)

~      Daddy Devastating by Delores Fossen ***** (Heroine has PTSD.)

~       Bridal Falls Ranch Ransom by Jan Hambright (Heroine is scarred by explosion.)

~       Defending the Eyewitness by Rachel Lee ***** (Heroine has severe PTSD from seeing her mother killed and so she avoids contact with men at all costs.)

~       My Spy  by Dana Marton ***** (Hero is a double amputee and secondary character has well-portrayed Autism)

~      Deathblow by Dana Marton ***** (*Mild Spoiler alert to warn about content* Heroine was a “spousal” abuse victim with probable PTSD. There was some really good victimology characterization in her behavior but the hero understood that she was a battered woman–a true romance in his way of loving her. There may be triggers for anyone recovering from abuse. *spoiler* A miscarriage occurs at one point as a result of abuse.)

~       The Marine Next Door (The Precinct: Task Force #1) by Julie Miller (Hero is an amputee with a prosthetic leg.) (All of this series of books has the Rose Red Rapist as an antagonist. From his POV, from the beginning, you can tell he has OCD. So, every time someone displays any common characteristics of OCD, you’re supposed to wonder if it’s him. This didn’t bother me to have the villain with OCD, but I’m thick-skinned.)

~       Assumed Identity (The Precinct: Task Force #4) by Julie Miller (Hero has PTSD and long-term amnesia due to head wound.)

~       Unsanctioned Memories by Julie Miller ***** (RR) (Heroine has selective amnesia due to PTSD.)

~       Protecting Plain Jane by Julie Miller ***** (Heroine has agoraphobia, severe social anxiety and panic attacks. Hero has dyslexia.) (BEST agoraphobe character yet.)

~        Police Business by Julie Miller ***** (RR) (Heroine is deaf.)

~        In the Blink of an Eye by Julie Miller (Hero is blinded by lab explosion, but corneal transplant is mentioned as a possibility for one eye from the beginning.)

~ A note on Julie Miller books: Her books have very interconnected characters even between series, and I don’t have listed them in order of when they were published. The hero in the book In the Blink of an Eye shows up in the third book of the Task Force series. The heroine in Protecting Plain Jane shows up in The Marine Next Door. I think most of these are actually in a series of closely connected characters but I don’t have them noted aside from the Task Force ones. If you don’t want anything spoiled, you’ll want to pay attention to when they were published. Her books are awesome though. Most of her characters are flawed in some way.

~       High Tide by Maureen Miller (Heroine has fear of the ocean due to PTSD.)

~       Sacrifice of Passion (Deadly Legends–Chupacabra) by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez (Heroine sleepwalks due to PTSD.)

~       Beautiful Beast by Dani Sinclair (RR) (FTR) ***** (Hero is scarred by explosion that also killed Heroine’s father.)

~      Blind Man’s Bluff by Kay Stockham (Heroine goes to stay with Hero to teach him how to handle being blind because she’s also blind.)

~      In the Shadow of Greed by Nancy C. Weeks (Paranormal) (Heroine is an Aspie.)

 

Christian Fiction

~      At the Edge of a Dark Forest by Connie Almony (FTR) ***** (Hero is missing one leg and arm, is an alcoholic, and has PTSD. Heroine designs prosthetics and goes to his mansion to do therapy with him in hopes that he’ll financially support her new design of prosthetics.) (PG-13 due to darkness and possibly some mild profanity–I seem to remember some, but really interesting Beauty and the Beast retelling.) (If you’re curious how Christianity-heavy it is, it’s not over-the-top in my opinion. I thought it had a realistic amount, without being off-putting. The final resolution involves turning to Christ, but up until the end, the religious aspects are background. It’s very mainstream Christian, and I think would appeal to anyone who uses the KJV of the Bible. His struggle with alcoholism definitely keeps this from being a Polyanna read.) (This would be a great read for a church book club, in my opinion.)

 

Anthologies

~       Mistletoe Kisses by Elizabeth Rolls, Deborah Hale, and Diane Gaston (In A Soldier’s Tale by Elizabeth Rolls ***** the hero has severe scarring, a missing eye, and a twisted hand—it’s very much a Beauty and the Beast story and really well done.)

~      SEAL of My Dreams with Baby, I’m Back by Stephanie Bond (Hero is missing part of a leg) SEALed Fates by Kylie Brant ***** (Hero has lost a leg.) Dog Heart by Barbara Samuel–(Hero comes back from war wounded with a wounded dog.) Letters To Ellie by Loreth Anne White–(Hero is a POW with PTSD.)

 

Fantasy

~       Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin (FTR) ***** (Categorized as Beauty and the Beast. Hero is tortured in the beginning and they have to overcome the racial differences of a match between an orc and a human.) (Okay, so technically no one is disabled/visibly flawed per se–unless you count her humanity and his orc–ness, but I’m including it anyway.)

 

Fiction

~       The Witness by Nora Roberts ***** (Heroine is a prodigy Aspie.)

~      The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion***** (Hero has Asperger’s. So hilariously funny. If you like Big, Bang Theory–this is your book. If it didn’t have the F word in it so frequently, I’d be recommending it to everyone.)

 

Young Adult

~      The Cold King by Amber Jaeger (FTR) (Hero wears mask for a reason. I thought this was an interesting Beauty and the Beast retelling.) (While this was technically PG or PG-13, there were a few profanities, one episode of attempted rape, and some vague sexual references–though no actual sex or anything beyond kissing.)

 

New Adult (college-aged MCs) (NA)

~      Tall, Tatted, and Tempting by Tammy Falkner (Hero is deaf and heroine has dyslexia.)

~      Love in Touch by Lucy May Lennox (Hero is deaf and blind. Really interesting. Couldn’t put it down. Like many NA reads this has far more sexual situations and profanity than YA, but this might be my favorite NA read yet.)

 

Of note: With the exception of those marked as PG, you can expect all these romances to have sexual situations, profanity, and violence to varying degrees. Not recommended for under 18–in my opinion, but parent or read at your discretion. Also, if you’re sensitive to any of the above, skip these. These are not your grandmother’s romances.

Also, I can’t in any way corroborate how well these issues are portrayed with the exception of agoraphobia, OCD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. So my opinions are my own in that regard.

Some of these characters overcome their obstacles/are healed/are magically abled again. This offends some people with their own disabilities of whatever nature. If you are one of these people, I can tell you on the low-low if I remember…or often other reviews *spoil* these books. While my OCD and agoraphobia are severe, I’m very difficult to offend, so I can’t judge things like that well–even in books dealing with those conditions.

Please comment with suggestions for books I should read or to discuss any of the above. (I’ve read most of these recently so hit me up now before I forget them.)

6 Responses so far.

  1. Talia says:

    <3 thank you! Also try the following books by Carla Kelly:
    Marian's Christmas Wish (Hero has a burned and scarred face)
    Libby's London Merchant (Hero is an alcoholic)
    The Admiral's Penniless Bride (Hero is missing a hand)
    etc.
    In fact a majority of her books deal with the aftermath of war and many of her characters are scarred, either psychologically or physically by the Napoleonic wars.

  2. <3 <3 <3
    thank you for including HONOR!!!

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