People of the Mist — H. Rider Haggard:
Once considered real life stories of love and hardship, novels such as this were primarily about the gentry and how they might fall on hard times. With hard work and determination and using only their wits they would gain back what was lost. 

Most frequently, this involved going to the deepest heart of Africa, surviving all sorts of scrapes with the natives and nature, and always, somehow, gaining the love of a woman in the process.

People of the Mist

Finally, emerging victorious, the protagonist returns home to claim what had been so unjustly torn away. 

Playing hard to get has worked forever. Guys are pretty simple, if a chick acts like she couldn’t be bothered with him, it makes him want her more but most of the time, he’s pretty clueless about how to win her affections.

When you’re floating down a river busily shooting hostile natives and hippopotami, there’s not a lot of time for wooing. 

Women, on the other hand, see the rescue of the fallen child, the genteel treatment of the slaves and swoon. At least in their private hearts they swoon, in public, they languish in anguish. He takes no notice, he does not care! How ignoble he is! How wretched! She manages to see him as genteel and ignoble at the same time. It’s no wonder he has no idea what’s going on.

 

Baffled, the hero does more to gain her heart… ..You already know this story. It boils down to this:

 

Hero, becomes penniless, goes abroad to regain his honor.

 

Still penniless, he agrees to rescue some female from some terrible fate.

 

Having been rescued, female can’t decide if she should love him or not.

 

Having no clue there’s romance involved, hero goes back to securing his treasure.

 

Female decides he’s just a craven mercenary. (But loves him anyway.)

 

Some terrible event occurs; hero valiantly fights way out rescuing everyone, recovering unfathomable treasure.

 

Female no longer able to deny her love, confesses all.

 

Hero admits he’d noticed.

 

Honor and fortune in hand he returns to avenge his initial misfortune.

 

Having promised eternal love and loyalty, female accompanies him.

 

Happily ever after.

 

If you enjoy reading Indiana Jones style stories, this is a good example. There’s action and subterfuge and kissing and making up – but only in a manly way. Essentially, this is a man’s romance novel. He gets to rescue the damsel in distress, win her heart through great deeds of daring-do, and it comes without all that squishiness that goes on in books by Jane Austen. How bad can that be?

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