Aug 12 2011 9:30am

Top 10 Phattest Plus-Size Heroines from Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie, Teresa Medeiros and More!

The Bride and the Beast by Teresa MedeirosOur culture is full of downer messages about the romantic prospects of curvy ladies. From the multiplex to the Fiction and Literature shelves, it can seem good things wait for “After.” Fortunately, many romance novelists stand ready to offer a counter narrative. We’ve touched on this subject before, but here are 10 of my personal favorites.

The Bride and the Beast, Teresa Medeiros

When the local villagers decide the self-declared Dragon of Weyrcraig wants a virginal snack, plump, opinionated Gwendolyn is basically their only option. And so the rational-minded woman is left tied to a stake in an abandoned castle courtyard in a rainstorm. As it turns out, the Dragon is actually the rightful chieftain of Clan MacCullough, back to avenge his family’s death. And while the villagers might doubt Gwendolyn’s ample charms, he wants to eat her alive.

Seize the Fire, Laura Kinsale

Her Serene Highness Olympia of Oriens has some very grand ideas about the changes she’ll bring to her country, once she’s installed on her rightful throne. But she’s a bit naive, and therefore picks as her protector the cynical war hero Sheridan Drake. The two end up marooned on a icy deserted island. Away from the real world, romance blossoms, and we get some truly tender moments. For example: Some of Olympia’s considerable weight melts away under starvation conditions. Sheridan promises, “The instant we get back to civilization, I’m going to put you on a strict course of comfits and rich puddings, I assure you.”

Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieBet Me, Jennifer Crusie

When Cal Morrisey first meets Minerva Dobbs, she’s wearing a unflatteringly boxy suit and fuming over a breakup. He thinks: “No way.” And yet the universe keeps throwing them together, and pretty soon Cal realizes he’s very, very attracted to the prickly Min. Pretty soon he’s peering down her shirt and frenching her on a park bench. When her mother tries to scold Min about consuming carbs at dinner, he grabs a roll, butters it for her, and tells the woman to can it (though not in so many words). It’s swoon-worthy.

Night Play, Sherrilyn Kenyon

Bride’s just been dumped, via FedEx. Her own FedEx account, as a matter of fact. Her TV-personality boyfriend has decided he needs a girlfriend who’ll help advance his career, and Bride is simply too portly to fit the bill. It’s a low point. Then into her boutique walks the stunning Were-Hunter Vane Kattalakis, who (in a previous book) fell in lust at first sight with the curvy redhead. He proceeds to buy her a super nice necklace she’s been pining after, tells her she’s beautiful, carries her to a dressing room, and blows her mind.

A Whole Lot of Love by Justine DavisA Whole Lot of Love, Justine Davis

Men always fall for Layla Laraway’s sexy voice, and CEO Ethan Winslow is no different. He agrees to participate in a bachelor’s auction at an Alzheimer’s fund-raiser partly because it’s a chance to meet her. Layla thinks she knows what to expect from the meeting, and it’s not much — she’s watched too many faces fall in disappointment at the in-person reality of her figure. But after a moment of hesitation, Ethan realizes that while she isn’t what he thought he wanted, the reality is even better.

The Corset Diaries, Katie MacAlister

A genealogical researcher and therefore constantly in need of money, Tessa takes a job on a reality TV show called A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke. She starts to get nervous when she realizes she’ll be filling in for a lovely slender blonde woman, and she’ll be living in close quarters with her on-camera husband, the charming (and young) Max. When they do hit it off, it unleashes all sorts of insecurities about her smooshiness. But Max doesn’t see smooshiness. He just sees sexiness.

He Loves Lucy by Susan DonovanHe Loves Lucy, Susan Donovan

He Loves Lucy isn’t perfect. It’s the sole book on this list with a plot revolving around weight loss, which makes me hesitate to include it. Hotshot marketer Lucy Cunningham lands a fitness club’s account with her pitch: They’ll take one woman, hand her over to personal trainer Theo Redmond, and follow her progress on the local morning show. She’s none too pleased with the condition that she be the test subject. Lucy is convinced she’ll be working with a dumb, pretty jock, but Theo turns out to be basically a saint. He’s a considerate guy who’s good at his job, and he supports a little brother with Down Syndrome. And he falls for Lucy before she slims all the way down.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Julia Quinn

Penelope falls head-over-heels for Colin Bridgerton as a young woman, but she doubts the handsome gentleman will ever reciprocate. She’s plump and shy and an utter wallflower, and besides, Colin seems the type to travel forever rather than settle down. Her own mother is convinced Penelope will remain forever unmarried, caring for her parents in her old age. But one day he returns home and really starts paying attention to Penelope and realizes he can’t live without her.

Too Much Temptation by Lori FosterToo Much Temptation, Lori Foster

In a genre that’s never shied away from sweet secretary characters, Grace Jenkins stands out as one of the sweetest. She works for Agatha Harper, calmly managing the irascible old woman’s life. All the while, though, she’s making calf eyes at Agatha’s hunky grandson Noah. She stays in the background until Noah catches his fiance cheating and breaks off the engagement. Grace rushes over to comfort an intoxicated Noah, one thing leads to another, and suddenly she’s gone from shy virgin to enthusiastic sex slave.

Suddenly You, Lisa Kleypas

Amanda Briars is a plump spinster. She’s settled comfortably into the role, and her successful career as a novelist means she’s able to live well without relying on anyone else, despite her unmarried fate. While content with her life, she decides she wants to know what she’s missing out on and requests a male prostitute as a 30th birthday present from the notorious Mrs. Bradford. Mrs. Bradford is no fool, so she takes the opportunity to match Amanda up with her publisher, the swoonworthy Jack Devlin. Jack’s also smart as a tack, so he sees Amanda as the desirable woman she is.


By day, Kelly Faircloth covers innovation and technology. She spends the rest of her time reading and writing about books. Her work has appeared at io9, Inc and The Big Money, and she blogs intermittently at Follow her on Twitter @KellyFaircloth.

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Alie V
1. ophelial
Great picks! I especially love Julia Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Great read.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
Thanks to our Kenyon Koverage, I just read my first Dark-Hunters' book, so I snagged a copy of Night Play for the next read, thanks to this.
3. mochabean
Can I add one to the list? "Pleasure For Pleasure" is the fourth book in Eloisa James' Essex sisters series (All four titles are Shakesspeare puns), and it features a truly wonderful heroine who learns to love her ample curves with the help of a very fashion conscious and somehwat rakish hero. (For the regency averse, this is a Regency romance, so take heed!) All 4 of the books in the series are great reads.
4. Teresa Medeiros
Wonderful blog, Kelly! It's such an honor to have THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST included :)
Rhonda Conklin
5. rrc74
Love having some books to read with plus size girls. Being plus sized myself I get a little tired of reading how all the skinny girls get the guy and never the plumper girls! I look forward to reading each of these books (as they are now on my book list to buy...moved to the top)
6. EC Spurlock
The Bride and the Beast was one of the first books to get me hooked on romances again. Great book! And Romancing Mr Bridgerton I think is my favorite of the Bridgerton series.

I'd also like to suggest The Devil Served Tortellini by Shirley Jump. The heroine is made to feel inadequate by everyone for her weight issues - including her weight-loss group! - except for the chef at the Italian restaurant across the street, who not only loves her curves but loves that she appreciates good food. They reach a compromise in the end -- she agrees to stay at a healthy weight (rather than the size 2 she aspired to) with the help of healthy, lower-fat, but delicious versions of her favorite dishes that he whips up. Win-win!
7. Santa
Great picks! I just finished Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer's Agnes & the Hit Man. Agnes was deliciously curvy in this one. At least that's what the equally delicious hero, Shane, had to say about her.
8. Lilian Bobadilla
I love Jennifer Crusie's Books because the heroines are not your averege skinny beautiful girls, her heroines read like real woman, with all the insecurities that plague us. Bet Me is one of my favorite books after Quinn's Romancing Mr. Brigderton. I will like to add to that list, Sarah Stromeyer's The Cinderella Pact, and Sandra D. Bricker's Always the Baker, Never the Bride.
Carrie Strickler
9. DyslexicSquirrel
I loved Suddenly You. It's one of my favorite Kleypas books. I think the twist of the Older-Woman-Younger-Man things thrown in there, especially in a historical, makes it that much better.

And Bet Me is one of my favorite books EVER. I think perhaps because I see a bit of myself in Min. Minus the ugly suit and I've never had a problem making chicken marsala. I'm not afraid of butter.

Another curvy lady by Crusie (and Bob Mayer) that I like is Agnes from Agnes and the Hitman. I re-read that book recently and I forgot how much I liked it.

She turned and bent to look under the counter for something, her sweatpants pulling tight over her round butt. Agnes would never make a supermodel. Agnes was, Shane thought with a great deal of retraint, pattable.

I loved Shane, too. But that's besides the point lol
10. filkferengi
Great post; what a fun topic!

I've enjoyed several of the books mentioned, & would like to add to the list Sue Ann Jaffarian's Odelia Gray mysteries. The first one is _Too Big To Miss_, which includes a very sweet romance.
12. misssara11
My favorite plus-size heroine is Nellie Grayson from possibly my favorite romance: Wishes by Jude Deveraux.
Even her "fairy godmother" thinks the way to happiness is for her to lose weight and yet it brought on more troubles!
Her hero, Jace Montgomery not only doesn't mind her size, he wonders why the rest of world isn't falling at her feet.
13. Cali
I will throw these wonderful books on the pile...His At Night by Sherry Thomas. Jude's Law by Foster,

And strong and big women Big Bad Beast by Laurenston
14. karolina
''Acheron'' by Sherrilyn Kenyon
without a doubt one of the most amesing and sad and sexy wonderful books with a palmp heroine i ever read
it long and part of sires of books but it totaly can be read es indipendet novel toh i douth eny would pass on th other books one he read this one
15. Polished Bookworm
*rushes to update wish list*

Sounds like some great reads here! I've already read The Bride and the Beast, Suddenly You and He Loves Lucy and loved them all.

One plump heroine that always stood out for me was Lettie from Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig. Spectacles, freckles and curves, that poor girl hit the trifecta of what was considered unappealing by Regency standards - yet she still managed to capture the hero's heart and make him forget all about her 'perfect' sister.

Also, How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling features a curvy heroine and a hero found the only thing plump about her was her lips. ;-)
Jennifer Proffitt
16. JenniferProffitt
I have a thing for plus-sized heroines and loved ALL of these books and have now added a few more of these books to my wish list! I, in particular, loved Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and The Corset Diaries (both books were some of my first romance novels). Even my dad, who is a hardened Clive Cussler sort of guy, loved The Corset Diaries--mostly because he would find me laughing my butt off over some of the when she farts and inquires as to where the new species of "barking spiders" are...
18. Patricia Hendrick
Two more excellent reads to suggest in the Regency Romance genre: Sarah MacLean's "Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake" & Eloise James' "The Duke is Mine." Highly recommended if you like strong female leads who are unabashedly full-figured and hunky men who love them just that way. For romantic suspense: I suggest Anne Stuart's "Still Lake,' with her dessert-lovin' heroine, Sophie. Finally, if you're into Georgian romance, I would suggest Elizabeth Hoyt's "Dearest Rogue." Her heroine, Phoebe, is not only short, pretty and plump- but also blind.
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