Merriam-Webster defines the word trope as “A common or overused theme or device: Cliché.” As unflattering as that makes tropes sound, they still manage to thrive in contemporary romance.
Why do tropes work so well in romance novels? Well, most voracious romance readers, like me, LOVE reading them. We know what to expect when we dive into trope-filled romances. They are familiar and fun. They also often satisfy a particular desire or fantasy that we are hoping to experience within the pages of a good book.
Here are five of the most popular tropes seen in romance today:
1. Friends-to-lovers or Enemies-to-lovers: The will they or won’t they tug-of-war makes for a delightful read. Often, the friends don’t want to do anything that might risk their long-term platonic relationship. Usually, the enemies both stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the simmering desire that sizzles just beneath the surface of their spats. In both cases, the reader is filled with anticipation and quickly turns the pages to see how it will all work out.
2. Second chance: Who doesn’t daydream about a second chance to make things work with the one that got away? Diving into a book that features this trope makes it easy to visualize getting a fresh opportunity with a lost love. Yes, please!
3. Strong, sassy heroines and hot alpha males: No one wants to read about a weak, wishy-washy heroine who cowers before her pushy hero. We like a heroine who stubbornly lifts her chin and becomes her sexy alpha male’s one weakness.
4. Love triangle: Two men fighting over one woman. Who will win her heart? These books are riveting page-turners as we race to the end to see how it all turns out. Bella has to choose between Jacob and Edward. Katniss must decide between Gale and Peeta. These love triangles are practically impossible to put down. My best-selling set, The Davis Twins Series, features a family drama where the heroine needs to choose between two sexy and irresistible brothers. Yum!
5. Billionaire: No list of hot romance tropes would be complete without mentioning billionaires. The fantasy of a powerful, wealthy hero sweeping us off our feet to live the high life with him is beyond tantalizing. Sign me up!
Are tropes overdone? Perhaps, but who cares? Read what you like and don’t apologize for it. Tried-and-true tropes are popular for a reason. They rock!
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