Romance tropes I love, and the ones that need to go away

Some romance novels take my breath away, but not always in a good way.

Photo by Edward Eyer on

I’m currently re-reading the series A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas because A) I’m getting ready for the 4th installment of this series that’s coming out early next year, and B) the swoon is real. From the initial energy between Feyre and Tamlin to the sparks that fly between Feyre and Rhysand, it’s a breath-catching, lip-biting, heart-pounding experience to read these books, and I’m stealing away to read every chance I get.

Romance books are full of tropes and character qualities, and this one is no exception. We have the love triangle, as Feyre is first involved with Tamlin, and then fights feelings for the alluring Rhysand. Then we have the enemies to lovers trope, as Feyre isn’t shy about her disdain for either love interest, but is eventually won over by each complicated man fae.  And then there’s the soulmates trope, which I won’t give away, but let’s just say I thought about this great love affair for months after I finished the series the first time.

And now I’m re-reading it so I can re-live this magical affair.

The draw to romance novels is also how likable the characters are, especially the main love interest. Sometimes they’re aloof and distant, making us lean in as layers are peeled away and we learn of their past hurts. Or they have secretly loved the main character for years, and have just been afraid to say so. Or they’re fiercely protective…or they have a sensitive kind side…or they cheer on their independent woman…or they are battling demons from a hard childhood.

I love a good romance trope. But then there are the BAD ones. Here are a few storylines I’ve seen in romance novels that have made me quit reading:

  • The jerk of a guy who still wins the girl despite being an absolute a-hole
  • Cheating
  • The dependent female who can’t function without the man’s help
  • Rape. Abuse. Dangerous relationships that are glamourized in the falling in love process.

Basically, if a romance novel places a toxic relationship on a pedestal, I close the book and move on to the next. I think most of us have experienced toxicity in one or more past relationships to know that it’s not a healthy place to be…or to read about. For me, triggering storylines like these make me feel uneasy and nauseous, and that’s not entertaining. Plus, what kind of message are they sending? That abuse is sexy? No, thank you.

What are some romance tropes you can’t get enough of? Are there other bad tropes you can’t stand?

Oh, and if you’re reading any good romance novels right now, let me know in the comments!

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