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And happy Valentine's Day, too! In honor of the day—because I love romance—I have to talk about (a few of) the romance tropes I enjoy, plus a book or two I've enjoyed seeing each used:
The Adventure: While the romance is often not the plot's main focus for these stories, when two characters go on an "adventure" involving adversity together, they usually develop romantic feelings for one another. And one of my favorite adventure-born couples is in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (despite the love triangle).
The Best Friends: It's so fun to meet two characters who have been best friends for years and see them discover deeper, romantic feelings for each other over the course of the story. Denise Hunter's Just a Kiss is one of my favorite examples of this trope, and Betsy St. Amant's All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is a cute one, too.
The Boy Next Door: It's so sweet when a character, having other romantic possibilities, still chooses the one right next door. Both Stephanie Perkins's Lola and the Boy Next Door and Kasie West's On the Fence use this one.
The Childhood Crush: While not always entirely realistic, I still love the romances when a character gets the chance to finally act on a long-held crush. Nicole Deese's A Cliche Christmas is a delightful holiday example of this trope.
The Hate-to-Love: Oh, this one is one of my favorite tropes because it usually involves witty banter. The two characters begin the story disliking each other and then have a change of heart. I think Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a classic example of this trope, but I also love it in Melissa Tagg's Three Little Words.
The Letters (or Emails): Because I love words, I can't help enjoying a story in which characters develop their romantic feelings by acting as pen pals. Kasie West's P.S. I Like You uses notes, while Julie Buxbaum's Tell Me Three Things uses emails, and they're both just so sweet.
The Marriage (or Engagement) of Convenience: When two characters start a relationship for reasons other than romance, I'm thoroughly entertained as the romance truly begins to appear. Denise Hunter's A December Bride and Richard Paul Evans's The Mistletoe Promise are lovely holiday stories (and keeping with the book-turned-Hallmark-movie theme, I'm hoping to read Denise Hunter's The Convenient Groom soon).
The Manipulations: I'm not advocating for manipulations within romantic relationships, but when it's entertaining and good-hearted matchmaking done by secondary characters (usually because the two main characters are too stubborn), I love it. So, it's no surprise that William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a perfect example of the matchmaking I mean, is one of my favorite stories.
The Time Travel: I love the idea of time travel, so romance developing around a character's ability to time travel is just fun for me. I loved Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (and am planning to read both Alexandra Bracken's Passenger and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander soon).
The Unconditional Love: The best for (almost) last? When a character commits to loving another through any obstacle, the romance can be a powerful one. Depending on the circumstances, this trope doesn't work sometimes and isn't wise, but when it's right, it's wonderful. My favorite of all romances, Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love, is an excellent example for this one.
The Unrequited Love: I'm including this trope about a character with a crush on someone who doesn't return the feelings simply because I wanted to mention Wendelin Van Draanen's Flipped. I read years and years ago, but remember it being super cute.
Which romance trope is your favorite?