Romance has been on my mind a lot lately. Last week I got to read Emily Henry’s amazing Book Lovers, and it was everything I wanted and more! I cannot recommend it enough. I don’t think I will write a full-length review of it anytime soon, but I did post a short review on goodreads if you want to check it out.
In addition to that, I also got to see Casey McQuiston on the I Kissed Shara Wheeler book tour, and one of the things they talked about was about the way they really wanted to use all of their favorite romance tropes and also turn them on their head.
This all got me thinking a lot about what I think makes a good romance, and more importantly, which romance tropes are my personal favorites. Because as we all know, the tropes used make a huge difference in terms of how much you enjoy a book. So I thought I would share my personal top 5 romance tropes! These are tropes that enhance my personal experience of a romance book, and that make me more likely to pick a book up. I would also love to hear about your favorite tropes, so please do let me know in the comments what you look for in your romance!
I realize this is vague, and just barely qualifies as a trope, but I couldn’t not include it. Banter is, to me, one of the most important aspects of romance novels. I realize that not all romances have banter, but in my opinion, they should. Good banter makes every romance better.
2. Mutual Pining
In the barest sense of the term, mutual pining is necessary for any romance. Both sides of the couple need to be adequately invested in order for it to be a good romance. But what I am really talking about here is when both sides of a couple is totally in love with the other, but some obstacle (actual or perceived) stands in their way. The absolute best is when they simply think that the other person doesn’t feel the same way, or they don’t want to ruin their friendship. Mutual pining causes me pain and I love it.
3. Slow Burn
In the same vein, I absolutely love a slow burn. Probably because a slow burn usually comes along with a lot of pining. I just usually find that romances where the characters get together halfway through the book (or less) don’t capture my attention in the same way. I just love the will-they-won’t-they push and pull of a slow burn.
4. Forced Proximity
It is hard to go wrong with forced proximity, in my opinion. This can manifest in many different ways: stuck in a closet, road trip together, there’s only one bed. All of these work! I love having two characters who maybe don’t get along or haven’t thought of one another in a romantic sense before be shoved into a situation where they just can’t ignore the other person.
5. Enemies to Lovers
Enemies to lovers is certainly the most traditional trope on this list. Generally when asked, I say it is my favorite trope. Of course, part of the reason it is my favorite is because it tends to combine the other four tropes on this list. (The other reason it’s my favorite probably is just because Pride and Prejudice and Much Ado About Nothing are very much my baselines for what make good romances). It’s just a great trope; who doesn’t love seeing two people who initially antagonize each other fall madly in love with each other?
How do you feel about these tropes? Maybe you don’t think some of these count as their own tropes, that’s fair. What are your favorite romance tropes? Why are they your favorite tropes? I would love to hear any of your thoughts in the comments!
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy some of these:
Romance reads for your valentine’s day pleasure
Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Why you shouldn’t read the “Bridgerton” books and what to read instead