Sweet heroine, modestly decked out in frilly doilies with a Pollyanna smile and nought but pure thoughts – hate them, they make me want to barf!
Altruistic acts of kindness are great (and more convincing) if random. I am never going to believe in a heroine (its usually a heroine and sadly there are a good few about in romantic fiction) who spends every night cooking apple pie for the elderly whilst abandoned three-legged puppies, shaved kittens and adoring orphans play at her sensibly shoed feet, and the homeless make free in her neat studio apartment.
Saccharine only works for me if used as a weapon, more usually against fat, but acceptable when combined with sarcasm to score a point against an opponent. In fact, ‘nice and sugary’ offends me. It’s a cheap and lazy way to attempt character ‘likeability’ – sorry but I’m not that gullible.
If the heroine must work for/help out at a charity, at least show her fighting for a cause or deep rooted belief. If she is one of the sainted, how about ramping it up a notch by having her eat one of those puppies or at the very least accidentally food poisoning the hungry (no one has to die) or getting rat-arsed on the communion wine. I don’t mind paragons of virtue if they are being set up for a fall of monumental proportions but please, please protect me from the asininely good.
Have a pet hate specific to the romantic genre? – do share…I’m going too when one next hits me over the head or has me reaching for the bucket.