Popular Romance Tropes

Let’s Talk About Tropes

In the romance genre, we often see some types of plots or character types repeated. These similarities resonate for myriad reasons.

Some tropes are common in vintage or old-school romance, but not so much in modern romances. Then there are tropes that never go out of style.

What’s the appeal of a trope? Readers appreciate experiencing familiar tales in different settings or with various kinds of characters. A trope can be retold over time. In the hands of a gifted author it can appear fresh.

At Sweet Savage Flame, we’re dedicating a page to these common themes. Visit the MENU under BOOK REVIEWS and click on ADVANCED BOOK SEARCH. You’ll find a new way to search for book reviews via plots, settings, hero & heroine. We’ll be updating the list with each review.

Examples of Tropes


The main character losing his or her memory can lead to a great romance.

highland fire george jones
Highland Fire

Second Chance at Love

Sometimes a romance is better the second time around with the same person.

one husband too many
One Husband Too Many

Friends to Lovers

It’s always refreshing when a relationship starts out on a solid foundation of friendship.

four dollars and fifty one cents lass small

Love Triangle

Who does she love? Who does he love? The drama of a love triangle may result in one heart being broken, but it also provides entertainment!

yesterdays love
Yesterday’s Love

Marriage of Convenience

Marriage doesn’t always begin with love. In the marriage of convenience trope, the hero and heroine marry first, on the basis of practicality, money, property, or social standing.

duncans bride
Duncan’s Bride

Captor/ Captive

It’s an older trope, but it still checks out.

edin's embrace pino

Multiple Lovers

The old-school romance trope of the heroine having multiple lovers can be found in the more erotic romances of today.

Skye O'Malley
Skye O’Malley

Secret Baby

A secret baby whose parentage has been hidden for years is at the epicenter of some romances. Emotions can turn on a dime in this type of story.

the secret baby
The Secret Baby

Millionaires & Billionaires

For some readers, the appeal of a mega-wealthy hero always glistens like gold.

the millionaires mistress
The Millionaire’s Mistress

Enemies to Lovers

There’s a bit of a thrill when we see two people who can’t stand each other get turned on by the other.

arafura pirate
Arafura Pirate

Your Opinion

What tropes do you enjoy? Do you prefer familiar plots, characters, or settings?

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

2 thoughts on “Popular Romance Tropes”

  1. Thanks, Jacqueline. Tropes matter to me. A lot.

    There are some tropes I love. There are some tropes I feel neutral about, but I’ll read romances that revolve around them if they have other aspects going for them. And there are some tropes I love to hate!

    Which are which? Well, that would require a whole article, not a comment. But allow me to note that my favorite trope isn’t on this list.

    So here it is: “Such is the power of love.” Someone does something extraordinary for love.

    It might be difficult, dangerous, and/or costly. It might break the rules. It might break the law. It might be downright crazy!

    But love matters more than anything else. So a protag does it. And to Hell with what the rest of the world thinks!

    This trope has never been easy to find. Used to be, a reader had to really look for it. But nowadays, well, forget it. It’s just not there. Today’s romance community has other matters on its mind.

    So what do I do about this absence of my fave trope from today’s romances? You guessed it. I write my own!

    1. Fabulous! I want to read your works when you release them, so please keep us updated! The power of love is an over looked trope, and when I think about, that’s kind of peculiar in a genre defined by love itself. I’ll add that trope to the page, but have to ruminate upon which books qualify. There are some books I’ve read that are based on the power of love, but I’ll have to track them down for re-reads to review.

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