My Favorite Tropes in Romance Novels

When someone tells me they don’t like romance novels, I always cringe inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) because I remember when I felt that way. Now I believe that if someone says they don’t like romance, it’s because they simply haven’t found the right kind yet!

When you think of romance novels, you might have one specific idea come to mind of what that means to you. But while there are criteria that must be present to make it a romance novel, there’s a whole world of sub-genres and tropes that give the genre a ton of variety.

If you love mysteries and thrillers but you pick up a historical fiction novel, you might find it slow and dry. In the same way that knowing what genres appeal to you, knowing what tropes you enjoy or dislike can help you find books that are a right fit. If you’re new at navigating the world of romance novels, tropes can be your friend.

Once you recognize what you like, you’ll want more of that! So here’s a guide to my favorite tropes with some examples.

My Favorite Tropes in Romance Novels

Second chance love

Second chance romances focus on couples who reconnect after time apart. Sometimes this is childhood sweethearts reuniting in adulthood, or it can be an adult couple who reconnect after time apart. This might be my favorite trop because it best mirrors what I’ve experienced in my romantic life leading up to my marriage. It’s realistic to me because this is often how real life is. Things don’t always work out. People need time apart to figure out their crap.

My favorite examples: Beard Necessities by Penny Reid, The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Friends to lovers

A friends to lovers romance features a couple who are platonic friends before getting into a romantic relationship. I’m especially fond of any romance where the characters have history before we meet them. I find insta-love stories harder to believe.

My favorite example: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Forced proximity

This is also known as stuck together! Our main characters are forced to spend time together, whether they want to or not. They’re stuck in close quarters and eventually fall for each other. This one often co-exists with other tropes, especially enemies to lovers stories. I like it because it forces them to get to know each other and often see each other in a way they weren’t able to previously.

Favorite examples: The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Fake relationship

This one often requires effort on my part to suspend my disbelief in order to get lost in the story. Pretending to be in a relationship with someone seems like a terrible idea! Yet it always works out in these novels, usually with the characters getting to know each other really well along with way. I like them because they usually involved far fetched schemes that lead to hilarious situations.

Favorite examples: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, Take a Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Some romance skeptics wonder why I like to read books when I know the plot line ahead of time. I find comfort in knowing what’s coming in the long run. I can let go of concerns that the couple won’t end up together and lean into the character development. I love watching characters learn and grow and realize they are worthy of love.

For the most part, I don’t enjoy tropes that involve lying and secrecy. I also don’t like when the characters mistreat each other. I find it hard to get past that in the enemies to lovers trope.

I hope you’ve learned something about romance novels today. Have I convinced you to give something new a try?!

I’d love to hear your opinions on tropes too.


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