5 Romance Tropes We Love

5 tropes we love

We Can’t Get Enough of These Romance Tropes

At Sweet Savage Flame we’ve talked about tropes in romance before. There are some plot devices and character types that never go out of style, like alpha heroes and arranged marriages or marriages of convenience.

We’ve looked around to seek the most popular tropes in Romancelandia that readers enjoy. Here are five tropes that we think make romance novels more exciting!

#1 Alpha Heroes

These heroes will do anything to protect their women. They are possessive, often jealous, and defend their ladies from all who seek to harm or take them from them. It’s important to emphasize a true alpha would never intentionally hurt his woman. Plus, he commands respect from other men through his innate strength.

Alpha heroes were often found in bodice rippers and old-school category romances. Westerns and medieval historicals have plenty of male protagonists who would qualify, such as A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey. Why do we love Alphas? We love them because even if they can be overbearing, their hearts are in the right place, and when they commit, they commit for life!

alpha hero heart so wild

#2 Evil Family or Siblings

Evil family members are a source of fun–at least in books.

Perhaps the heroine has a brother who gambles the family fortune away. A scheming cousin who will do anything to have the hero. A crazed mother who’ll never let any woman come between her and her boy! All those characters make for an entertaining sideshow, plus add lots of dramatic elements to the plot.

#3 Heroes In Pursuit

No, the heroes in pursuit we’re talking about are not crazed stalkers who have trouble understanding “no.” These are appealing and intriguing men who are determined to show the women they love their worth.

Not only Alpha heroes go after women. One of our recent reviews, A> Loverboy by Judith Arnold, featured a computer genius who played an online Romeo to his lady love. He also pursued her in the physical world, leaving no corner unchecked!

A gorgeous, romantic hero who is devoted to winning over his lady love can be very appealing!

hero in pursuit A> Loverboy

#4 Ethnic/Racial Difference

So many romances feature heroes and heroines from opposite cultures who find love. This trope is more nuanced than the “enemies to lovers” tropes. These couples come from different worlds but somehow find commonalities with each other. We see this in the pairings of English and Scots, Native American and White, Anglo and Hispanic.

Although romances in the 20th century rarely featured African American heroes/heroines with White counterparts, we’re thankful many do today.

We’ve reviewed interracial/ interethnic romances like Rangoon by Christine Monson, where the hero is part Asian, the heroine is a White American, and While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee features a British heroine with a hero of mixed heritage, Hispanic, Anglo, and Comanche.

When lovers from two different cultures or ethnic groups come together, we know we’re in for a romance that will take us places.

alpha a couple reading magazine together while sitting on picnic blanket
Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

#5 Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience

We adore stories where the hero and heroines are paired off together before falling in love! Watching a romance unfold as two strangers grow to love one another through shared experiences is the kind we can’t get enough of! In arranged marriages or marriages of convenience plots, the love story is usually a slow burn as the characters get to know and care for one another.

Sometimes the feelings already exist at the beginning for one of the pair, while the other partner has to learn to love. Other times, both enter the marriage with hopeful expectations, and then something goes awry, introducing challenges in their relationship.

Arranged or marriage of convenience plots always show up on best-of lists, and they must be, as they’re so prevalent in the genre!

a romantic couple withsnow
Photo by Victoria Strelka_ph on Pexels.com

Your Opinion

How about you? What are your favorite tropes? Do you prefer “kinder or gentler” heroes to Alphas? Are you a fan of a second chance at love stories?

There are so many tropes in romance that there’s something every reader can enjoy.

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!

This entry was posted in Discussion, Romance and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Jacqueline Diaz

Old-School, retro, and vintage romance reads are my jam, baby! The good, the bad, the cheesy, and the sleazy! I have no shame about it; I love ’em! An auto-didact, amateur historian, and reader of romance novels since 1990, I hope to offer a unique perspective on the genre. As a blogger, you may know me by several names; here, I’m Jacqueline Diaz. I’m also the aspiring author of two works-in-progress, historical romances, The Savage Noble and What She Says with Her Eyes, which hopefully will be released in 2023.

2 thoughts on “5 Romance Tropes We Love

  1. Blue Falcon

    HI, Jacqueline. A few observations on your favorite tropes:

    What you describe in the first trope is, to borrow a title of an NFL Films video “Bad Boys and Good Men”. If a hero is too alpha, i.e. obnoxious and cruel to the theroine, I won’t like him.

    2, My liking of this trope depends on how evil the family member is, and how quickly and effectively they are dealt with. I admit I like to see bad characters suffer the same levels of pain they inflict on others (This comes from reading too many adult westerns, where the evil characters were dealt with in painfully graphic ways for their perfidy).

    This trope I like. I like also how you described the difference between a stalker and a hero who doggedly pursues a heroine. They know they love each other, but sometimes It takes time for one or the other to realize this.
    I read a lot of books with this trope. I also have personal experience with being involved with a partner of a different ethnicity in my own life. They are among some of my favorite books.
    Of the five tropes listed, this is probably my least favorite. However, there are some good arranged marriage/marriage of convenience books. The book I’m currently reading falls into this category. I’ll let you know what I think of it.

  2. Kes O'Rear

    Wonderful post! There are a lot of tropes I love, but if I had to pick 5 ( in no particular order) I’d go these ones below
    1. Sweet “cinnamon roll” heroes who would never dream of hurting their lady loves
    2. Charming Rogue/ secretly noble heroes
    3. Bodyguard crushes
    4. Heroines with baggage from a traumatic past aka “broken bird heroines”
    5. Unusual time periods


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