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Elaine Brogan Vs. Heather Bancroft – Comparing the Girls of Mike Wells

By Hippiebookworm @HippieBookworm

eswardvsjascobIt wasn’t long ago that this unknown author named Stephenie Meyer made her way into the YA fiction scene with the Romeo and Juliet story of Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend, Edward. It literally created a phenomenon in which teens and parents alike were caught up in the battle of Jacob versus Edward. The lines were drawn and on either side you could find girls with furry tales attached to their jeans or vampire teeth hiding in their purses.

Much to his credit, Mike Wells is not another Stephenie Meyer. But in the last two years he has released two book series in which the main characters are strong females and I thought it would be fun to compare the two women – Elaine Brogan from Lust, Money & Murder and Heather Bancroft from Passion, Power & Sin – to see if I had a favorite. Below we’ll compare and contrast the two women and then I’ll let you decide who is more popular amongst fellow readers.

Introducing Elaine Brogan

Lust, Money & Murder

Lust, Money & Murder

Elaine Brogan is a Secret Service agent and a triple-threat. She’s beautiful, stylish, smart and resourceful. When Elaine was a teenager she was schemed by a fake modeling agency that paid her in counterfeit money. The scheme led to the incarceration and death of her father which gave her the drive to become an expert in counterfeit bills and land her a job in Western Europe tailing one of the most sophisticated counterfeiting operations ever discovered by the U.S. Secret Service. Her poor upbringing makes her vulnerable to being corrupted with promises of wealth and glamour and her ability to recognize counterfeit dollars makes her desirable to the other side.

Introducing Heather Bancroft

 Heather Bancroft is a young professional from a small town trying to make their way in the Big Apple. She’s works for pennies and dues at a New York PR firm and lives with an old college friend because she can’t afford to live on her own. Heather’s life is full on responsibilities and her financial issues makes her vulnerable to an illegal gambling scheme that will eventually leave her destitute. She’s also naive and seems to be very easily manipulated. When push to comes to shove, Heather is a good girl and she believes in justice, goodness and revenge.

The Similarities

PPS Cover FINAL Books 1-5 2013 WITH BORDER
Elaine and Heather are both a little vain. We learn this early on when we discover that Elaine tried to break out as a model in her teen years and Heather shows pride in her personally designed clothes. We learn just how far their vanity goes when both women become confronted with the choice of pursuing justice or giving in to the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and connected. Both women struggle to decide if they can forgo the clothes, money and lifestyle that has been presented to them by their adversaries.

Both characters hold some guilt over the circumstances of their parents. Elaine was paid counterfeit money for her modeling gig as a kid and when her dad was caught trying to deposit the money, his life of fraud was exposed he was incarcerated and lost his life to shame and humiliation. Heather’s mom was facing loosing her home. When Heather gambled the money she could have used to pay off the mortgage and lost it in a “pump and dump” scheme, her mother dies of heart failure leaving Heather to blame herself.

Both women are a little in over their heads when they come face-to-face with their adversaries. Elaine doesn’t realize how deep the counterfeit conspiracy has gone and that she may have been a target for the organization all along. Heather underestimates her counterpart and pays the price as she’s forced into a defrauding scheme.

Both women are also world-traveling Americans. Although both Heather and Elaine grew up in the States, they find themselves living and working across the Atlantic. While Elaine tours the underside of Brussels and Italy, Heather takes a worldwide gambling tour before settling down in the south of France.

Finally both women find a handsome man who will play a intricate part in the outcome of their schemes to bring justice to fruition. Elaine didn’t mean to fall in love with her new boss, but she’s happy she did when he shows up in the nick of time to rescue her. Heather also falls for a rugged Australian who shows up at an opportune time in the story.

The Differences

Elaine is described as having the glamour of a supermodel. She was even caught off guard in her martial arts training when she was caught looking at herself in the mirror rather than paying attention to her opponent.

While Heather is also described and being beautiful, I get the impression that she’s more “girl next door” pretty. Heather even undergoes enhancement surgery to catch the eye of her adversary.

Elaine seems to be financial stable if not a little transient in her life at the Secret Service. You don’t get the impression that she wants for much and is able to live independently in Europe.

Heather, on the other hand, has some financial issues going on. She gets so desperate to try and save her mother’s house that she flies all over the world to gamble on different sporting events in an attempt to raise enough money to pay off the mortgage.

Elaine has a successful career as a Secret Service field agent. She has made a name for herself in the Counterfeit Money division and has even caught the attention of the criminals that she’s tracking.

Heather is on the bottom of the totem pole in the publicity industry in New York City. She’s just started her career and has a long road ahead of her is she wants to see any success in this line of work.

Elaine was raised poor and her father became a criminal in order to provide for her the luxuries he believed she deserved such as private school. She was also raised in the city by a single parent.

Heather was raised in the suburbs by her two parents who saw some financial stability. Heather’s father it seemed was a gambler at best, small-time scam artist at worst, but she seemed widely unaffected by his schemes.

Who am I rooting for?

Personally, I tend to lean towards Heather as a character. She’s an underdog and who doesn’t love an underdog. She’s also got the personal quality that you could see for a friend. This girl could be your old college roommate or a neighbor girl. The fact that she’s at the beginning of her career and trying to make it happen is also appealing to me. I got a late start on my career and I’m still trying to make my way before marriage and a family slow me down.

As for Elaine, I still love her character. Who doesn’t love to read about a kick-ass female character who is independent and self-assured. Elaine’s beauty and confidence is inspiring and I was rooting for her the whole time I was reading Lust, Money & Murder.

Ultimately you’ll have to make up your own mind about these two female characters. Lust, Money & Murder is a 3-book series that can be purchased in the Kindle Store. Power, Passion & Sin is a 5-book series. One thing you’ll appreciate about Mike Wells is that he always offers the first books in his series for free. And who knows, maybe we’ll start a movement where we’ll see women dividing themselves into the brunettes vs. the red heads.

Which of the two female characters described above do you gravitate towards?

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