Can you hate a character and love the book?

Well, certainly, if the character is a villain. But what if the character is the hero or heroine?

My very first book, Highland Solution, has been very popular, garnering 281 reviews to date, 88% of which are 4 or 5 stars. But, of the people who don’t like the book and left a negative review, the overwhelming majority of them don’t like it because they hate the flawed hero. And some of them really hate him. But I’ve always maintained that if you can become so emotional about a fictional character, the author must have done something right.

Last night I finished reading a book that had me absolutely in knots until it was over. Why, you ask? I despise dishonesty. Once I realize someone has lied to me, I lose all respect for them. This book started with the heroine lying to the hero and she maintained that lie through most of the book. By doing so, she stood to get the job to which she had aspired for her whole life. But following through with her reason for the lie, would have hurt a lot of people, including the very wonderful man she was falling in love with.

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Literally, I wanted to scream at her. Her motive was so incredibly selfish. That’s another character trait I don’t like. She wanted what she wanted and even though she felt terribly guilty over it, she still kept going. Thankfully, there came a point in the book where she put the man she was falling in love with above all else and decided not to follow through with her plan. Of course, shortly after that, the hero figured out what she had intended and it broke his heart. Her heart was broken too, however I cared a little less about that.

But did I hate the book? No. Quite the contrary. All of the characters, were extremely well developed, especially the heroine. She was in her early twenties, and the carrot being dangled was her dream job. There are a lot of people who would do almost anything to get that. So her motives were clear and valid even if very misguided. And, like Niall in Highland Solution, it just took her a while to accept that she was on the wrong path. Ultimately she made the right choice. There was forgiveness in the end and true love won again.

The heroine’s lie was the story. She was tempted, followed down the path of that temptation, suffered guilt, and eventually realizing the error, made amends and was forgiven. And even though I found her early decisions frustrating, how could I hate a book that completely drew me in and had me so emotionally invested in the characters?

What do you think? Can you separate a character you initially don’t like from your feelings about a story?

Wondering about the book? It is an erotic romance by Jennifer Bene, Black Light: Exposed. And if you enjoy erotic romance, you need to check out all of her books. Some are very intense, but extremely well written.




About cecigiltenan

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7 Responses to Can you hate a character and love the book?

  1. jbeneauthor says:

    Eeeek!! I love this! And I totally agree. Characters can totally infuriate me and make me want to smash their heads in, but if the book pulls me in and makes me not want to put it down, I’m still sold on it! ❤ Thanks lovely!

  2. dholcomb1 says:

    I believe you can do both.


    • cecigiltenan says:

      I do too…if the author creates the character well. One of the problems with Highland Solution was that it was my first book–so I made newbie errors. I also took certain elements out–at a editor’s urging–that I think made readers less sympathetic to Niall. You live–you learn.
      ❤ Ceci

  3. debi848 says:


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