What Most People Don’t Know about Romance Novels
I’ve debunked the top myths about romance books before, but today I’d like to discuss facets of the genre that many of us don’t always think about. Either we’re just too accustomed to the advantages that reading romance brings to our lives, or readers who aren’t familiar with romance novels may not have considered them.
Let’s get started, shall we? 😊
1. There’s literally something for everyone.
I won’t bore you by going on an on about all the subgenres and tropes which are possible to encounter by exploring romance novels. But I do want to list several that seem appealing to me. Hopefully they are for you as well.
To simplify it, let’s include the ones listed on Amazon here:
And some heroic types:
Even multiple themes to consider:
Tropes I love…
I adore second chance romance, accidental marriage/fake marriage/arranged marriage romance, secret baby romance, billionaire romance, bodyguard romance, supernatural romance (paranormal or sci-fi rom), multicultural romance, royalty romance, small-town romance, romantic suspense, rockstar romance, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, damaged characters, virgin romance, new adult romance, pretty much any contemporary romance, holiday romance, military romance, vacation romance, romantic comedies, cowboy romance, BBW/curvy stories, fantasy romance, most historicals, and anything with a stuck together theme (‘forced proximity’, such as taking cover from a bad storm).
As a reader, I am good with all heat levels as well. I’m sure I forgot something, but this was just an overview.
The genre offers such a variety of options that even someone who doesn’t consider themselves an aficionado could find a few tolerable titles. 😉 If you like grimmer, more psychological fiction, there’s even ‘dark romance’.
And yes, for horror fans, I have also seen horror romance listed for a book’s category. Just for fun, I’ll list several which I found on Amazon below (in case horror floats your boat, and you didn’t believe these two genres could be paired together).
Please visit my article on the Writing in the Modern Age blog, which lists all the romance subgenres in further detail.
2. The romance genre is not just ‘smut’ or ‘fluff’.
Real content is housed within these novels. The best romance stories show us people with whom we can relate, those we’re willing to root for. We want to see them reach their goals, just as we do with our loved ones in real life.
Plus, romance readers are smart people. It takes a lot of skill and know-how to devour so many books and retain impressions of all the worlds within. Even historical romance fanatics tend to have a healthy appreciation for intricate details throughout history.
And as for the assumption that all romance books are ‘smut’, clearly those who label them as such have never read sweet or clean romances.
Here’s a side point. The interesting thing is that one big industry rule for erotic romance (at least for publishers) is that it must still function as a real romance story once you remove all the graphic content. Can you imagine doing that with some of the most famous smutty books? Christian Grey would be a cuddly bunny type of hero instead. Hmm…I don’t think it would’ve been as popular, but to each their own, right?
3. Reading romance books can be a mood booster.
If you’re already an avid book lover, then you probably have reached the conclusion that you can find stress relief by reading for enjoyment.
The same goes for reading romance novels. Also, having a good outcome at the end of the story just might make your day even better. ♥
4. This genre might change your life.
Upon being exposed to romance novels, one’s outlook on love or relationships may shift. Reading a variety of literature helps to reframe your preconceived notions about the world. This might open a romance reader’s mind to approach dating or finding a soul mate in different ways, perhaps make that individual more open to trying new things. They may even start to see their parents’ or friends’ romantic relationships as human experiences. We all falter or make mistakes along the road to reaching our goals. We must keep trying to get there, just to reach a more satisfactory situation.
5. The path to finding love is rarely, if ever, a linear process.
Instead, most romance stories will depict a more realistic view of things. The journey to love is a bumpy ride, a roller coaster for these characters, just as dating is in real life.
Many romance editors will agree that conflict and tension are key in a good romantic story, to drive the plot forward. Allow me to give an example. This isn’t one of my stories, I’m just throwing an idea out there…
Character A is hard at work, trying to whip his family’s bed and breakfast (or inn) into shape, not too long after his parents passed away. Later, he finds out they were in major debt, and had to sell off the property. Enter Character B. The new owner is ready to take the inn and do what she can to make quite a profit. Understandably, our first character is upset that he must deal with this woman at all, and he’s forced to try to get along with her and still honor his family’s legacy with all the changes the new owner wants to make. Character B isn’t quite sure how the son of the former owners really fits into plans. See, there’s a lot of tension building between them already! It’s a bit awkward. Maybe at some point, they realize there’s a shared attraction, at least if they’re willing to explore it. And perhaps they also find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Do you see the potential for something more here? But then, an event will occur to challenge their budding romance. Let’s say that a coworker from the new owner’s firm shows up, and casually mentions Character B’s initial plans for the inn included gutting the whole place for a big resort or something. Or, perhaps someone arrives to cause some jealousy. In any case, the conflict increases. Boundaries and loyalties are tested, and the two characters must decide if they still trust each other, and if their shared connection is still worth staying for.
In all romantic stories, despite the obstacles, eventually the main characters (hero/heroine, or whichever pairing you prefer – M/F, M/M, F/F, M/M/F, F/F/M, and even reverse harem scenarios exist in the genre) end up together at last in a satisfying union.
Who knows? Maybe if you read a few romance novels as well, you won’t feel quite so skeptical anymore about locating your own soul mate. Looking for your true partner isn’t an easy journey (believe me, I know), but it’s worth it in the end. Just like sticking around to follow a book through to the finish! 😉
And what else don’t many people know about romance novels?
6. Most romance authors were readers at first.
I know this might seem rather obvious, but not all romance writers I’ve met were always big fans of the genre. At least until they found the right books. I can only think of one or two who didn’t have any background as a romance book reader at all, or hadn’t already fallen in love with these types of books at some point in the past. But numerous romance authors still enjoy reading novels in the category. And you might wonder why I’ve even bothered to mention this fact. Allow me to explain.
Remember, most of us are avid book lovers. Writing was just a natural next step.
If you’re looking for good recommendations, it doesn’t hurt to ask an author. I guarantee he or she can come up with a few titles from their extensive collections, some books which they found particularly inspiring from the first time they started reading romance.
7. Dreaming isn’t a bad thing.
In fact, a lot of romance books delve into personal goals for one or both parties. And yes, sometimes a character might seek to improve their situation by going for a promotion, or even shifting away from one profession that they find to be particularly stifling. Perhaps she decides to go back to school to finish a degree, or pursue a dream she once deemed impossible. If you truly care about someone, you wouldn’t want them to be unhappy.
A reader may find such a journey inspiring, implementing similar modifications, which relates back to the ‘This genre might change your life’ point. I can’t count how many times a character’s path or their story alone made me think a little about my own circumstances, and how I could possibly adjust things to make the situation better. That is just one of the many benefits to reading romance novels.
8. A true romance story usually won’t include a cliffhanger.
To be fair, notice that I said ‘usually’. Now, most experts in the industry – likely publishers – decided long ago that for a book to qualify as a romance, it must result in a happily ever after scenario (HEA), or at least a ‘happy for now’ conclusion for the couple in question. Granted that some writers prefer to add multiple storylines and characters – they live to torment us, after all – but a real romance will always resolve the conflict between the main couple. The main characters should be obvious. However, if the romance book falls under another category – such as urban fantasy, mystery/thriller, or women’s fiction – the rules may change. For example, one of my favorite urban fantasy authors is Chloe Neill. Even though there is a definitive romance element, I must always remind myself it’s urban fantasy instead, as she insists on including a cliffhanger in her novels. Each story becomes more episodic, in a sense, rather than being altogether focused on a relationship.
But if an author goes out of their way to say a book is a ‘romance’, then expect for the couple introduced in the story to eventually get organized enough to find a way to stay together. This satisfying outcome is always a hard-earned reward for dedicated romance readers.
Yet, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Please leave your comments below. We won’t bite! 😉 Let us know if we missed anything.
Host Blogger Bio
Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 20 other books. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, she writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She also contributed to several anthologies. Though Marie has standalone titles on the market, her current published series are The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series and The Blood at First Sight Series, but she has many others planned. Upon Your Return, book one of her Victorian maritime romance series, Heiresses in Love, has returned, and the sequels in the trilogy will also be released under her new publisher, Foundations Books.
Marie’s Links: https://linktr.ee/marielavender1
Fan mail email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy reading, everyone! And have a great weekend!