Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

Because everyone needs a hobby …

A Ginger Post: Part 1 May 20, 2010

I promised Paul that he would be in the first sentence of this post since he supposedly ‘gave me time to blog’ by letting me off the phone.

But I’m not going so far as dedicating this post to him – nope – this one’s for Sarah, who had to put up with my constant talk of ‘why does everyone hate gingers?’

As you can see – ginger hate is a subject that hits home with me. Because I am a ginger.

Me being a ginger very recently with Sarah

Me being a ginger again as Sarah and I attend 'Ragtime'

Me as a ginger with Val on a hill in Ireland

I'm surprised the Dalek hasn't killed me for being a ginger (in Scotland)

Meeting Mr. Bingley as a ginger (also Scotland)

I guess I should consider myself lucky that my hair tends to be on the auburn side for the most part – but looking at my graduation picture (I’m now working from a wonderful little desk my aunt set up for me – pictures to come next week once I have all of my books and such in place – but if you visit my facebook group, you can see the desk untouched) that’s some red hair. No thank you photoshop. Yay for clearing up blemishes, though.

Anyway – my intention with this post is really to have fun. It’s a ‘part 1’ meaning that I intend to write about this subject more than once and this is only the inaugural post on the subject. It’s not going to be very long – not as long as the others. But, I knew I’d be writing about it more than once when I saw the cover then read the inside summary for my next book.

Red hair is a thing. A big thing.

But is it a bad thing?

Well, in context … no. But it is annoying when your male character, in this case Robbie, repeatedly says things such as:

“Their magic was as fickle as a red-headed woman.” p.25

“Not under the same roof with that redheaded bitch his brother had married.” p.18

“Now the red-haired bitch who’d used him as a stepping stone to get to his brother had managed to bring even more trouble to the MacQuarrie Keep.” p.40

“He should have known it would be like this the minute he’d learned Isabella MacGahan was a redhead.” p.77

Not that I, ya’ know, paid any attention to remarks like this throughout the book.

When I was talking on the phone to Paul, though, I told him what I was writing my newest post about. And his reply was: You know what they say about gingers! Me, thinking I would get some good quote from him, asked what and he replied with something I’m not even going to type, so you can see this theme. Isn’t there even a hug-a-ginger day thanks to Facebook?

Anyway, what the hell does this have to do with the story?

It probably doesn’t surprise you that the person Robbie ends up falling in love with is a redhead. That’s pretty much obvious. What is important, I think, with this trait is the list of other things that come along with it.

A fiery temper.

The need to do it one’s self – a strong sense of independence, I mean.

And, of course, something very sexual. To just give you a sneak peek of the next book, this is included in the ‘summary’ (why that’s in inverted commas, I will explain next week):

“And that fiery redhead who burst into my chamber that first morning is worst of all.”

It would be a interesting thing to do to keep tally of all the heroines of these novels who end up being redheaded.

It seems, looking at some of the traits that accompany these fictional redheads, they’re traits to be contained, controlled maybe. Not in a Bella/Edward way – nor like Taming of the Shrew but in … I don’t know, a way that brings a hyperbolized redheaded character down a few notches and closer to reality.

In my experience of reading A Highlander’s Homecoming, I really only found that Isa was tolerable after Robbie made an appearance. Before that she was sort of annoying – not in an anti-feminist way, don’t get me wrong. But she was too much what you expected – all the traits above. So what does that have to do with red hair?

Tangential related story: a few years ago, can’t remember exactly when, I was looking around the reference section of Barnes and Noble, then the Fiction Anthology section – since those two sections are pretty good when you need information on canon, background on different writings, and whatnot. They, to this day, remain two of my favorite sections of the store. I had been writing for years and found it almost an inclination to make at least one of my main characters have red hair – not because I did – but because it somehow fit. Then I came across this book:

'The Roots of Desire'

At this very moment I am still kicking myself for not getting it. But, seeing as I’m writing this blog all summer – I am going to get it. And I am going to read it. This is why I said this post may not be too long.

This is something I have to acquaint myself with – do a little research on (not that I could have done it for this post – but where would the fun be to pack it all in at the beginning?). I think, really, that the subject is fascinating – but I don’t want my view on it to be uninformed – or even juvenile.

My thoughts are very simple – redhair = fiery = love interest = tamed (?)

It may not prove true for all these books – it may prove so for more than I think. I’m certainly not going to pick the books out to fit this (seriously – I plan on buying the third one at the supermarket again so the pickings are slim – I’ll graduate to B&N at some point).

So – summation I suppose – I know I wasn’t very book-specific in this post. As I said, it was more of introducing this idea of a redheaded heroine. Of course, I imagine this novel will reappear as I go on to look into this topic as it was the text that brought my attention clearly to it.

I guess I should almost thank it.

30 minutes to go (my aunt goes to bed at 11 so I have to be out of the temporary office by then). Look at that Paul – could’ve had thirty more minutes to talk – my GaGa claws type fast!



Mayhue, Melissa. A Highlander’s Homecoming. New York: Pocket Books, 2010.


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