What is a romance novel?A novel with a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending (either happily-ever-after or happy-for-now).
SubgenresA romance novel may also fit into a subgenre or two. To properly belong to a subgenre, the elements unique to the subgenre must be present and integral to the plot. In other words, the story would not work if those elements are removed.
- Contemporary - novels set from the 1950s to present day
- Erotic - novels that include explicit sexual interaction
- Historical - novels set prior to the 1950s
- Paranormal - novels that include aspects of fantasy or science fiction
- Inspirational - novels that include religious or spiritual beliefs
- Suspense - novels that include aspects of suspense, mystery or thriller
- Youth Adult - novels that feature young adults
The subgenres can be further subdivided into themes. Contemporary romance includes chick lit, cowboys, medical, and sports. A historical romance covers themes like Highlander, medieval, regency, time-travel, and frontier. Paranormal romances feature ghosts, magic, shapeshifters, time-travel, and vampires.
TropesA romance trope is a plot device used to bring lovers together in a story.
According to Romance Writers of America (in a 2014 survey), the top ten most popular romance tropes are:
- Friends to lovers
- Soul Mate / Fate
- Second chance at love
- Secret romance
- First love
- Strong hero / heroine
- Reunited lovers
- Love triangle
- Sexy Billionaire / Millionaire
- Sassy heroine
Romance is vast literary genre. You can find novels written in every imaginable niche, from 'a secret baby, billionaire, contemporary romance' to 'a time-travel, vampire, paranormal romance'. Romance novels have come a long way since the "bodice rippers" of the '70s and '80s. I am proud to be an avid reader and writer of romance.
What is your favorite type of romance novel?