I’m currently at work on a novella that ties in with the novel I just finished, and as I write it, I’m realizing how much the hero in it is inspired by my very first romance hero: Almanzo Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series.
Of course, Almanzo isn’t really a romance hero–he’s a real person. He’s the husband of one of the most famous American children authors of all time: Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the Little House series. The Little House series are children’s books, and not romances, but the last book, These Happy Golden Years, tells the story of Laura and Almanzo’s courtship. I first read it when I was a little girl, and didn’t even know what romance was, but even then I knew that Almanzo was something special.
If you don’t know the story, here’s the general outline: Laura is teaching school, far away from home, to help bring in money for her family. She doesn’t like teaching, the family she’s boarding with is awful, and she’s terribly homesick. So Almanzo drives miles and miles each Friday to pick her up and take her home for the weekend, and drives her back on Sunday. All because he knew she was lonely out there. (They weren’t courting before then. In fact, they barely even knew each other.) He even risks his life on one trip in freezing conditions to bring her home. At first she thinks he’s doing it because he’s friends with her father, but after she realizes that he might have romantic intentions, she rudely tells him not to expect to go driving with her once she’s done teaching and is back at home. But he keeps up with it, even after that, because he knows how lonely she is. (And I haven’t even mentioned his trip to get wheat to save the town during the Long Winter!)
He does this very kind thing for Laura, each and ever week, with no expectation of a reward. Just because he doesn’t want her to be lonely on the weekends. What a decent, upstanding kind of guy. It warms my heart just thinking about it. Seriously, if you haven’t read the Little House series yet, go do it. Technically, it is children’s literature, but it’s such a fascinating look at frontier life in America from someone who lived it, that adults will enjoy it too.
Back to Almanzo: Not only does he make a long dangerous trip each week to take her home, he also loves horses, teaches Laura how to ride and drive horses, and signs them up for singing school when he notices how much she likes to sing. And he builds a house for her.
Let me tell you, there’s nothing more romantic than a man who will build things for you. Especially when it’s something big, like a house. The man is practically building a life together with you with his bare hands when he does something like that. Who doesn’t find that romantic?
You can keep all your alpha heroes and billionaires (although I still love reading about them!): I’ll take the hard working, kind man instead. Because that billionaires might be able to buy as many houses as he likes, but he’ll never be able to build one.