Hello Fellow Fiends!
With the holiday of Valentines Day coming up, I can’t help but feel inspired to talk about one of my lesser discussed genres, romance. While I admit fantasy is usually my go-to genre, I get in these extremely specific moods where all I want to read is romance. (Sometimes you just need some of the mushy-gushy stuff to warm your cold dead heart.) Anyways, I had so much fun writing my horror tropes list, I decided to talk about some of my favorite romance tropes and include some recommendations of books that feature those tropes.
Mutual pining, the trope where both people are madly in love and are just too oblivious to realize it… Good content. It happens in a variety of stories but I see it a lot in stories that have friends to lovers content. Usually one or both of the characters will realize they’re in love with the other person and be too shy to say anything. Cue the pining and occasional angst as they both try to win each others heart, but are oblivious to the other person’s efforts. One story I’ve read recently with this trope would be An Enchantment of Ravens, which is a fantasy romance story involving a human painter and a the Autumn Prince of the fair folk who falls for her. It’s pretty fluffy and doesn’t have much plot but it’s incredibly wholesome. Crier’s War is another story that also incorporates a lot of mutual pining; it takes a little more time to build the romance but its full of sapphic goodness.
Anytime someone has to fake date in a story, you can bet I’ll be there. Whether it’s to make someone’s crush jealous or used as cover for spies, fake dating is a true classic. It’s especially funny when the characters dislike each other but they end up faking it for a mutual cause. In terms of recently written stories, The Unhoneymooners is a pretty good example of two people with a mutual dislike of each other pretending to be married in order to enjoy an all expense paid honeymoon. Another romance that fits this genre is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before which is a fairly popular book that got a movie adaption on Netflix. If fake dating is your favorite trope, definitely check it out.
So, you already know I’m a sucker for enemies to lovers however, I want to recognize another trope that falls into a similar vein but has some minor differences. I view enemies to lovers as a dynamic between people on two different moral or even political spectrums. Rivals to lovers is a dynamic that can happen in a school, a work place, and especially in a competition. It gives off similar vibes as enemies to lovers but it tends to have lower stakes in terms of consequences and less violent energy lol. In terms of recommendations, I’d say Red, White, and Royal Blue has great rivals to lovers energy and it features a M/M romance that’s incredibly wholesome.
Marriage of Convenience
I love stories that involve a marriage of convenience because they usually take the opportunity to pair together two people who would ordinarily never choose each other but come to fall in love. Usually you see this happen in fantasy or historical stories, when two rulers or members of royalty have to marry for political purposes. It usually starts out rough between them but watching the relationship and trust bloom between the two characters always warms my heart. An absolute favorite of mine that I would recommend to anyone is Empire of Sand. The romance in that book is absolutely breathtaking and Tasha Suri really knows how to build the tension. Another marriage of convenience happens in the Falling Kingdoms series and while it takes a few books to actually develop but that slow burn is worth it.
Is the soul mate trope kinda cheesy as hell? Maybe. Do I still enjoy it everytime it shows up? HELL YES. I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I read a story where the soul mates trope actually shows up as a plot point. However, there’s multiple books where even if it’s not explicitly stated, you know the main characters are soul mates because they just have this connection where they understand each other.
The first book that immediately comes to mind is the graphic novel series Saga. This story follows Marko and Alana, two soldiers on different sides of a galactic war, who fall in love and risk it all to raise a child together. Despite being literally hunted down by the entire galaxy, the two of them build a life together and keep that romance alive. (Side note: I may have drank a lot of red wine and now I’m feeling things about them.) My second recommendation would be The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the events leading to the Trojan War from the perspective of Patroclus. If you’ve read the ending you know what I’m talking about.
ANd There was Only One Bed
This is a trope I’ve come to enjoy from long hours spent reading fanfiction as a teenager. This trope happens when the two characters spend a long day on the road traveling and are told there’s only one hotel room left, which they reason is fine because it’ll have two beds (spoiler alert, it won’t). The two then either argue over who gets it, maybe one of them is the bigger person and sleeps on the floor… Or maybe they both end up sleeping in the bed and the proximity makes them consider their feelings for each other. Either way, this trope usually leads to a scene where the two characters see each other in the morning and are either shocked by the other ones feral-ness or they admire the other one while they sleep. Both versions make a story that much more entertaining and I will definitely love a book if it can do the trope well. In terms of recommendations, it’s been a while since I’ve actually read a book with this trope but I’m pretty sure this trope happens in Empire of Sand due to the arranged marriage trope being present in it. You’re probably wondering if this is a ploy to get you to read Empire of Sand…. It 100% is, please read this book, it’s so incredible.
Calling Each Other On Their BS
The final trope on this list is one that is near and dear to my heart because I truly believe that in order to have a functioning relationship, partners need to be able to call each other out when they act crazy or say dumb stuff. I greatly enjoy when characters in a relationship with each other, challenge each other to be better and not accept some of the weird beliefs or mindsets they have. A book I read recently that does this well is Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon. The two main characters in this story are very stuck in their ways and truly believe they are trapped in the lifestyle that’s been prescribed to them. However upon meeting each other, both start challenging the other’s unhealthy mindsets and help break each other out of these weird walls they’ve build around themselves. I enjoyed the story greatly and I’ll have my full review of that book posted sometime in the next week.
Now I know there are SO many more romance tropes I could have included in this post but I may have ran out of book recommendations… Ya girl needs to read more romance books lol. Also if you’re wondering why I didn’t include my all time favorite, enemies to lovers, it’s because I’m planning a post dedicated to talking about it and I knew it would take over this post if I tried to write about it.
In terms of romance tropes, what are your favorites? Also if you have any good recommendations for romance books with any of the tropes I listed, please drop them in the comments below!