In this discussion, we delve into beloved romance tropes that captivate readers, including alpha heroes, evil family members, heroes in pursuit, ethnic/racial differences, and arranged marriages/marriages of convenience.
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We Can’t Get Enough of These Romance Tropes
At Sweet Savage Flame, we’ve talked about tropes in romance before. Some plot devices and character types never go out of style, like alpha heroes and arranged marriages or marriages of convenience.
We’ve looked around to find 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!
#2 Evil Family or Siblings
In books, evil family members are a source of fun.
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 and add 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 appealing and intriguing men 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 devoted to winning over his lady love can be very appealing!
#4 Ethnic/Racial Differences
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, and 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.
#5 Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience
We adore stories where the hero and heroine are paired 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 initially for one pair, while the other partner has to learn to love. Other times, both enter the marriage with hopeful expectations, and something goes awry, introducing challenges in their relationship.
Arranged or marriage-of-convenience plots always appear on best-of lists, and they must be, as they’re so prevalent in the genre!
Final Thoughts on These Tropes
Romance novels are enriched by these enduring tropes, offering readers a variety of romantic experiences.
Whether you prefer protective alphas, dramatic family dynamics, determined pursuers, cross-cultural love, or slow-burning arranged marriages, there’s a trope for everyone to enjoy.
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!