My Favorite Tropes: Physical Disabilities

Guest Post by Carla F.

I love stories in which the hero or heroine have a physical disability (blindness, deafness, unable to walk, etc.). The H/H has an additional barrier (a large one) to reaching their one true love. Sometimes he/she will use their impairment as shield to keep the love of their life away because they don’t feel worthy enough to be loved. Thank goodness that doesn’t work! These types of stories reinforce the belief that love conquerors all and the feeling that you will be loved no matter what your flaws are.

My weakness for some reason is those H/Hs who are deaf. So sorry that this list is a little bit heavy with that type of disability.

A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee (Western) – If you don’t grab a box of tissues when reading this, then you are tougher than I am. In 1901 Nebraska schoolteacher, Catherine Johnson, saves deaf stable hand Jim Kinney from being beat up and drug down the street by villains. Once she realizes that he cannot read and write, she offers to help him with his education.

The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney (Regency) – I would have put this one on my Marriage of Convenience list if I could have remembered the name of it. Fortunately, I found it for this list. Lady Jocelyn Kendal wants to keep control of her inheritance so she makes a bargain with Major David Lancaster, who is dying from the wounds he received at Waterloo. Marry her, and she will see that David’s governess sister is provided for once he has passed away.

Look What Santa Brought by Annmarie McKenna (Contemporary) – Her ex-boyfriend will not move out of her apartment and leave Tara Patrick alone. Her best friend’s blind brother, Scott Wyatt volunteers to be her “pretend” boyfriend, but he wants it to be for real.

Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe (Historical Paranormal) – It has a shape-shifter hero and a deaf heroine. Naturally, I loved it. Abigail has been deaf ever since falling ill when she was a child. She has hidden her shameful “affliction” from everyone in the castle except her immediate family. She is then forced to marry Talorc, Laird of the Sinclair, and knows that if he finds out that she is deaf he will cast her aside.

Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnne Thayne (Contemporary) – After losing part of her leg in the Afghanistan war, Lieutenant Magdalena Cruz returns home, and wishes that everyone would leave her alone. Dr. Jake Dalton has always been in love with Magdalena and has no intention of granting her wish.

Artistic Appeal by Andrew Grey (Contemporary GLBT) – Divorced and still partial in the closet, lawyer Brian Watson, falls for deaf art restorer, Nicolai Romanov.

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas (Regency) – Gypsy Kevin Merripen has loved Winnifred Hathaway ever since the Hathaway family took him in when he was a child. Kev has never felt that he was good enough for Win and resists her temptation. When Win comes down with scarlet fever Kev nurses Win back to health, but the illness leaves her weak. She decides to travel to another country for treatment. When she returns, she brings with her a suitor.

Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare (Regency) – Susan S. mentioned this one in her Reformed Rakes list. Deaf heroine, Lily Chatwick’s brother Leo is killed in a London alley. Family friend, Julian Bellamy wants to find the killers, and he wants to find Lily someone to marry so that she will be taken care of. Lily is only interested in Julian, but he doesn’t think he is worthy to marry Lily because of his secret past.

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen (Regency) – Injured when a villain tries to strangle her to death, Olivia loses her voice. Lord Bradley knows that Olivia overheard a secret that could ruin his life. He gives her a post at his home so that he can keep an eye on her. When she recovers her voice will she reveal his secret?

Special Mention: GLBT/Mystery author Josh Lanyon has many heroes who dealing with some kind of physical disability. He is definitely a go-to-author for those who like GLBT and this trope. Plus the stories are also excellent police procedures/who-done-its. Some of his books are:

The Adrien English Mysteries (Contemporary) – Ariden contracted rheumatic fever as a child and has damage to his heart. The series follows the bookstore owner/mystery writer as he solves murders with the help of his sometimes romantic interest, closeted LA police detective Jake Riordan. Books in the series are:

Fair Game (Contemporary) – Elliot Mills was an FBI agent involved in a shootout that left him with a crippling knee injury. Now a college professor, his father has asked him to look into the disappearance of a friend’s son. This means that Elliot will have to work with Agent Tucker Lane who is his ex-lover.

Don’t Look Back (Contemporary) – Peter Killian is injured when he interrupts a burglary at the museum where he is curator. He wakes up in the hospital with amnesia and is being accused of being the thief by Detective Mike Griffin.

The Dark Farewell (Historical) – In post-WWI America Spiritualist medium Julian Devereux suffers from epilepsy. Newspaperman David Flynn doesn’t believe that Julian can see dead people, but then Julian starts getting messages from victims of a serial killer.

No matter how much I love this trope. There are still some books that just don’t grab me. Two of them are:

Life, Over Easy by K. A. Mitchell (Contemporary GLBT/Paranormal) – An accident ends the diving career of John Andrews, and now he suffers from vertigo and double vision. I love K. A. Mitchell’s books in general. This one started out interesting, but then took a turn with ghosts/paranormal that I wasn’t expecting or welcomed.

Dark Symphony by Christine Feehan (Paranormal) – Antonietta is a blind musician whose family is in danger. This is one of Feehan’s Carpathian books. I was looking forward to Brian’s story since he appeared in Dark Desire, which is my favorite of Feehan’s books. I think though that I had reached saturation with the series, and it was too weird for me.

Do you like these kinds of stories? Can you recommend some?

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2 thoughts on “My Favorite Tropes: Physical Disabilities”

  1. Hi Carla,
    Great post. As always.
    For some reason when reading, I seem to encounter heroes with eyesight disabilities. Gypsy Magic is a Harlequin Intrigue novel by authors: Rebecca York, Ann Voss Peterson and Patricia Rosemoor. In York’s story titled, “Allesandra” the hero (Wyatt) was cursed by a Gypsy and is now blinded. And Dark Lover by J. R. Ward includes a blind hero named Wrath.
    Other disabilities: The Harlequin Intrigue Daddy Corps series includes a character who’s the head of Corps Security and Investigations. His name is Bart Bellows and he’s unable to walk.

  2. Hi Susan.

    Thanks and thanks for the suggestions. They all look interesting. I have never read any J.R. Ward, but want to. The one with the Gypsy curse looks intriguing. Got to watch out for those gypsy’s. LOL.

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