5 Romance Tropes I Love… And 5 I Loathe

Ahh, tropes. Sometimes it feels like they’re our best frenemies, especially in romance novels : if they can make a book for me, they can utterly ruin it, too. Today I’ll share my favorite romance tropes… and the ones I despise so much, they’ll make it hard for me to keep reading!

  • Lovers to Enemies to Lovers or what I’ll call : the estranged couple magic : the angst, the grovel, the instant connection – when it’s done well I adore it! (Sometimes it doesn’t work though, sadly).
  • Fake Dating : it’s just so funny and makes for the best will-they-won’t-they-I’m-dying slowburns.
  • Forced proximity : there’s only one bed, one car, one tent… Whatever : I eat that shit up okay?
  • Grumps with a heart of gold, ESPECIALLY combined with a grumpy/sunshine pairing : I don’t know if that’s my outer pessimist who fights with my inner optimist, but these ones make my heart turn to mush.
  • Rivals/Enemies to Lovers*** : I’ve thought about it and in the end, I think that I love this trope because most of the time, the main characters have distinct and independent personalities. But also? I love banter and often, the SLOWBURN!!! Is!!! Perfect!!!

*** Exceptions : see my first point below

  • Those in which power dynamics are really fucked up : abduction to “romance”, slave/master, teacher/student… Yeah, NO. I will stop reading instantly.
  • Secret Baby : just – no. I know it’s a favorite for some, but I really don’t like babies thrown in my romance novels, especially when their birth is used as a way to get the MCs back together. Talk about a recipe for disaster, seriously (I don’t mind children – from a former marriage, for example – but I draw the line at babies used as a plot point. Ew)
  • The Hero is a Billionaire : Look, I need to like the main characters to root for them, okay? And I’m sorry but billionaires are asshole, even those who think they aren’t because they give to charity or something. There’s nothing to justify hoarding that level of money and it’s NOT possible to be a billionaire without exploiting people one way or another so even though that part is glossed-over in romance novels, because of course it is, I can’t forget it. I used to, but not anymore.
  • The Hero is Part of Law Enforcement : I’ve never understood what was so sexy about uniforms – yes, that includes military – but really, who wants to swoon over a cop? In this world? (Again, I need to like the characters, huh)
  • Love At First Sight : I just can’t believe in it and honestly? I find it lazy: if there’s no evolution, I can’t be interested (and it’s often paired with a lack of character development)

Let’s chat! What are your favorite tropes in romance novels? What are the ones you hate?

25 thoughts on “5 Romance Tropes I Love… And 5 I Loathe

  1. We share a lot of the same hatreds! I *hate* the uniformed romances (especially military, because most of them are so painful heterosexual and erase women in service) with a passion, and I don’t generally care for power differences either.

    But enemies/rivals to lovers? Fake dating?? That’s my jam! I’m reading She Drives Me Crazy, which has BOTH and I just cannot even imagine how these two kids are going to end up together because the anger is high.

  2. Enemies to lovers and close proximity I love as well!! Do you have any suggestions for the latter one?
    Also, forced marriage is one I sometimes like (like Serpent and Dove).
    The loathe list is also spot on!!

      1. Well I guess there is some overlap: fake marriage trope for example will make the main characters be close to each other =P
        Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I agree about the first five tropes that you love in books, Alienor. I especially enjoy a good enemies to lovers dynamic. The second five are a pet peeve: secret baby, dominant millionaire hero (looking at you fifty shades), agh. As for teacher student, I know a couple of books on that topic and they do not end with a happy ending, which I find more realistic.

  4. In the tropes you loathe I have only read love at first sight but there others just don’t sound appealing, haha.

  5. Oof you don’t like love at first sight? I find it so dreamy, and lovey~ I love the slow burn romance of lovers-enemies- lovers- I love the going in circles- it makes it 10x more realistic~ Fake Dating is such an icon- it works so well, I love it so much and grumpy + sunshines is so cute πŸ™‚

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