We love romance novels because they can be predictable. 9 out of 10 times, we know the couple is going to live happily ever after. That’s not the only reason we read them though. Well, that’s not the only reason I read romance novels. I read them for the journey; I like to know how the couple met, and find out what obstacles they had to overcome to finally get that HEA.
Not every book can be a one-of-a-kind original, some ideas need to be recycled, perfected, and have a new author’s spin on it. There are certain plot points that no matter how many times I’ve read, I’ll still pick up a new romance with similar guidelines. Some people call it cliches, I call them tropes.
A book can use some tried and true tropes and still read incredibly well and with a author’s spin, original. I don’t care if I’ve read the story of arch enemies becoming lovers 2500 times, I want it to be executed well when I read it for the 2501st. I want to see how these new characters interact and how their particular story will play out.
So with that being said, here are two of my favorite book tropes:
Marriage of convenience
My interest in this trope may stem from my love of General Hospital’s Sonny and Carly Corinthos whose first (of five) marriage was one of convenience. This is a trope I love to see in both soap operas and romance novels, however, it has to be done right. Don’t just throw two people and then 25 pages in, they’re in love. It doesn’t work that way. Let me see some evolution, I want to follow their progression and see the build up to when the two characters finally realize that the relationship is more than a business arrangement. Readers need to believe that what started as a transaction can turn into something meaningful. If I can’t invest in the journey, I don’t want it.
Friends to lovers
Who doesn’t love a good story featuring best friends? These tend to be the most successful relationships in books. You all also know that I love my romance novels with a good bit of conflict and groveling involved. Books featuring “friends to lovers” trope tend to have a bit of that for me. Because as we know when best friends start a serious relationship, there’s always a bit of uncertainty they have to work through. There are definitely trust issues if the partner was previously considered a ladies’ man (Which we find in a lot of these stories about the friends evolving into something more). One of my favorites with this storyline is Tempt Me At Midnight by Maureen Smith.
What are you favorite book tropes or “cliches”?