Historical Romance 101: Favorite Tropes

Welcome to another segment of Historical Romance 101. Today we will be discussing romance book tropes and what we love about them and share some personal favorites. Please join in and visit the other fabulous ladies: Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tales, Amanda @ On A Book Bender, and Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook

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So I am super stoked for today’s feature, in fact out of all the topics we are discussing this month, this one I have been long awaiting for and most thrilled to share with you all!! I love romance tropes and there are SO many out there. For those of you who don’t know what a trope is. Its a common story line that may appear in a genre of books with a catchy phrase – i.e. Friends to Lovers in romance, or childhood sweethearts. There are many different set ups to book tropes, but I love having a theme to a story which provides a good conflict that brings a couple close together. This can happen in a variety of ways and formations. Below I am going to list my favorites to see in historical romance—-Now it is a comprehensive list, and I have listed it in alphabetical order, reasons why I love this trope and why I love the books I listed under them. So tell me which ones are your favorites and some books you love the most under these. I would love to know! 🙂

Amnesia 

This trope is where one of the main characters: our hero or heroine suffer from severe memory loss, but also this could include fake memory loss as a part of the development of plot. This can be quite different to read, and adds such a unique element to a romance. What I have loved most about is, is seeing the way it can bring a pair close to each other without knowing the other’s past or memories and help each other through the recovery of those memories. In some cases, memories can return a great moment or a not so great. This is what makes each book that contains this trope fun. Is seeing when and where this will happen. Especially if there are conflicting interests.

Arranged Marriage 

I had so much trouble narrowing down my top picks for the Arranged Marriage Trope. This is such a fabulous one, what I love most about it is seeing strangers having to learn each other and the way they fall in love especially if the circumstances to their marriage isn’t on friendly terms. Many times we will see this trope happen between two warring clans or group of people or even family’s.

Best Friends Sister 

This trope can be so fun and easy going at times but still add a certain conflict and even “forbidden” tone to the story. Usually its not super strong but is still a focus. What I love about this trope is many times, you see how the main characters have known each other for most of their lives in many cases.

Boss and Secretary

The office themed romance has been pretty great to read. Some of my all time favorite books have this trope. This brings about moments of main characters working together, and an increase of sexual tension and almost a sense of the “forbidden fruit” as it were.

 Disguised As A Male 

This trope is a bit different from the others, but can bring some playfulness to the romance. This feature the heroine posing as a boy or a man in disguise. This makes sense in many ways. In the historical periods, there were restrictions of women. And if they poses as males, they had way more freedom. It can be great to see this element in a romance. I first discovered this in Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey. Our heroine  wanting adventure, poses as a cabin boy for a ship captain. But this captain, sees who she really is from the first moment, and plays around with her. I love this playful element and you see it quite often in this trope. It can balance out a story full of conflict or drama. This trope is also evident in various time periods and settings. From Medieval, to Regency to the American Frontier.

Enemies To Lovers 

This trope involves the two main character who have a conflict of interest. Whether its a matter of revenge, or family feuds, or just a great dislike or even hatred for each other. But you know what they say hate and love are divided by a thin line. These stories are full of angst and passion and dramatic interaction but boy can they be fun too!! I love seeing the tension build between the pair and my favorite aspect and seeing the change go from love and hate.

Fairy Tale Retellings

Now this trope is one that I have always loved seeing and can be so romantic and sweet at times. I love the way authors will take a certain fairy tale and add some different twists. Such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Pygmalion, Robin Hood, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and The Ugly Duckling.

Forbidden Romance

Now I love and adore this trope so much!! What is so interesting about this theme is seeing a couple fight against forces that want to keep them apart yet still find a way to be together. This can include family, country leaders or matters of duty and honor.

Friends To Lovers 

One of my favorite aspects of reading romance is seeing a friendship happen, whether its at the beginning, the middle or the end or all the way through. Or even seeing a friendship start from the beginning as children or teenagers, and seeing some conflict drive them apart and see them connect again. It is such a wonderful experience to see a pair transition from friendship to something more intimate and passionate. I connect better to this type of trope than any other, because I feel this is the most important kind of bond a couple can have….is being friends as much as being lovers.

Hearts Being Held Captive 

This trope may not be for everyone but I truly have LOVED it so. It has a sense of danger and mystery and intensity that is great to see in a romance. This can hold a variety of circumstances in just about any era and/or setting.

Love On The Road 

Road or Cabin romances are stories that happen on the road as it were, it brings adventure, thrills, danger and some excitement. I have a certain fondness for this trope. I love seeing a couple go on an adventure together, and end up falling in love.

Love Triangles 

In this trope I tend to be a bit picky about. Having this element in a romance can be tricky and stressful. What I prefer seeing with this trope is where you have one of the main characters who are engaged or in a relationship of sorts with not the other main character and they need to find a way to get their HEA for everyone involved.

Mistaken Identity 

This is where we see a wrong impression or a secret identity to achieve a certain goal. Sometimes it can be for one’s own protection, a honorable reason or to serve their country and personal interests.

Marriage of Convenience 

Marriages of Conveniences happen due to circumstances to surround the couple. This is usually where neither one desire a marriage  but do it out of necessity.

Rags to Riches 

Now this is a blast to read, I love seeing the crossing of lines of society we see in this one. Where one main character is wealthy and the other is not.

Royalty

In this trope we find a wonderful and charming yet a sense of forbidden fruit here!! I love the royals especially when they fall in love with a commoner.

Second Chance 

This trope where we have a couple that once loved each other, but were seperated by various circumstances and brought back together and found a way to be together again. This is such a wonderful set up to a romance, in fact its one of my favorites. Mostly because this is a dream for many people in reality, especially myself personally. This trope is my “heart throb” trope.

Secret Baby 

This involves either a baby hidden away in secret, or becoming pregnant.

Unrequited Love 

This can be a heartbreaking theme to a romance, where one loves the other but isn’t returned.

Giveaway

There will be five winners: one grand prize winner, two runner-ups, two second runner-ups.
Winners will receive one or more historical romance novels. See below for specifics.
One entry per day per person throughout April.
You must be 18+ to enter.
Winners must live in the U.S.

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18 thoughts on “Historical Romance 101: Favorite Tropes

  1. Ooo, I love the amnesia trope, although I think I’ve only read 1 HR. Someone To Watch Over Me. I have read a number of CRs with the amnesia trope.

    I’m also a big fan of the Best Friends brother trope too. Romancing Mister Bridgerton is particularly a favorite. Oh and enemies to lovers. Like The Viscount Who Loved Me!

    I also really like the Held Captive trope, too! Honor’s Splendor is wonderful! I’m personally not super into second chance at love or women masquerading in pants tropes. I don’t dislike them, but they don’t call to me either. I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the month already!

    1. Someone To Watch Over Me is so good, love it!! I haven’t read hardly any CR with Amnesia (only a couple), pretty much only HR.

      I really love the tension in The Viscount Who Loved Me…so wonderful. I always find the women in pants, to be so entertaining. I can’t believe we almost through either….so sad in some ways but in some its been a blast doing this. Made me realize how much I have actually read. Crazy.

  2. I can’t believe I forgot about on the road! I love me some road trip romances. Great list (as always), Renee! 😀

  3. Ahhh so many recommendations! I’m bookmarking this!
    My favorite is best friend’s brother, road trip, marriage of convenience and wallflower romances.
    Thank you for this list! 🙂

  4. Such a great list! I love Second Chance, but Love on the Road and Friends to Lovers are a close second. I’ll be checking out a lot of the books listed in the other tropes, though!

  5. I like enemies, friends, second chance romances, fairy tales best. I’m not usually a fan of amnesia plots and I guess I don’t really understand the best friend’s sister. I never think it’s as big a deal as everyone else does lol

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  6. So many amazing tropes and so many books I want to read!

    My favorite rags to riches (the whole series has different tropes — a few great marriage of convenience, too) is Seducing an Angel (Huxtable Quintet #4) by Mary Balogh, highly recommend!!

  7. Oh this is a great topic! I also like tropes, although sometimes they can be a hit or miss or it just depends on how the the author or book handles it. i never was a fan of amnesia plot line,s but recently have read a god book with it, so I now give that a try if the book sounds really good. My favourite are friends to lovers and second chance romances. I’ve only read a few arranged marriages or marriage of convenience books so far, but I enjoyed those so far, so I will be looking for more books with that. I also love a good forbidden romance book! I am currently reading a book with the secret baby trope, but I think that’s the first book with that trope so far, so I can’t really form an opinion yet. Mistaken identity can be interesting too, although I don’t like the lying aspect that’s usually involved it can lead to some interesting situations.

  8. Gah so many awesome tropes! I’m a huge sucker for marriage of convenience (I love love Worth Any Price!) and enemies to lover and roadtrip romances, haha! Hmm, the only ones I’m not usually the biggest fan of is love triangle and I need to be in the right mood for secret baby and amnesia.Great list, there’s definitely a bunch of books I want to check out now!

  9. I am a fan of all of those except the triangle. My favorites from that list though I don’t read them a lot is enemies to lovers and arranged marriage. I just read a good arranged marriage, Temptation Has Green Eyes by Lynne Connolly.

  10. Oh…my to-read list is growing today! Like you, this was my favorite post to write and it is so much fun to read. I am addicted to some of these tropes such as unrequited love, road romance, and second chance. The only ones that you listed that aren’t my usual cup of tea are secret baby and love triangles. But, if a good writer does it, I am willing to try anything!

  11. I didn’t realize there were so many tropes, Renee, but I certainly *love* many of them! I don’t think I’ve read an amnesia-themed HR but I’ll have to check out one on your list. I certainly love arranged marriages, forbidden romances, and marriages of convenience. 🙂 I think my favorite thing about the feature you’re doing is the list of HR titles I now have to read!! Love it! 😀

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