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
1. 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.
2. 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.