I was looking through a lot of my treasures from back in the 90's and realized all of the heroes were totally gorgeous and the women were stunning. In fact, they pretty much depicted what was on the cover. Picking up my first novel so many years ago, I realized that I needed those lead characters to be almost perfect, along with a happily ever after. Books truly allowed me to escape into the fantasy of pure romance or eroticism.
It wasn't until 2010 when I reviewed an historical novel entitled, A Little Bit Wild, by Victoria Dahl, that it became clear that just like in real life, the star of the book didn't really need to be good looking in the traditional sense that I had grown used to. Jude didn't care about fitting in by dressing like every other aristocrat, his nose was broken and everything about him was large. Soon, I was drawn to his phenomenal sense of humor, strong morals, patience and raw masculinity. Originally Marissa, a stunning and impetuous woman, simply found Jude to be odd and different, and there was definitely no attraction. Yet, just as he did with Marissa, I soon fell head over heels in love!
Now, as my reading tastes have evolved, I look forward to reading about that curvy heroine with a witty personality, or the Navy Seal who woos me with his intelligence and gains my respect with his confident nature. Where I used to be drawn to the handsome hunk with dark hair and deep blue eyes, that's no longer important.
What matters more is the multilayered story that is weaved and the overall depth of the characters. I eagerly embrace the novel that's compelling and dares to be different from the status quo. I'm looking for the woman we see running to catch the subway, or the man buying his own groceries in the supermarket. You know - the everyday heroes.
However, we could probably debate all day who is considered handsome or beautiful. We'll save that fun topic for another day. (lol)
But what about you? Do your characters need to look a certain way in order for you to get into the book? Do you care one way or the other?