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General Discussion on HR Books > Favorite romance tropes

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Emery Lee (AuthorEmeryLee) Although "dissolute rake meets charming (and always virginal) ingenue" is still after forty-some years the prevalent romance trope, (I cut my adolescent romance teeth on Barbara Cartland!)I find myself actively seeking out alternate premises for my weekly romance "fix."

While I still enjoy a light Regency Romance novel, there are several caveats: It MUST have an interesting sub plot in a well-researched setting. The dialogue must be period appropriate, and written with wit and humor (a la Heyer, otherwise I am bored to death.

These days, I generally tend to seek out darker, more complicated stories with imperfect or almost fatally flawed characters. I also like to see alternative scenarios (star-crossed lovers is a fave).

What is your favorite romance variation? What do you seek in the developing romantic relationship, and what novels/authors best represent it?

PK Reeves | 33 comments Try Eloise James This Duchess of Mine followed by A Duke of Her Own. A very different approach to HR with complicated scenarios involving wife & husband plus lovers scenario. People tend to forget that matrimony included extra marital affairs which was the norm in the society, especially among the aristocrats.

I loved the plots and the characters are well done.
Began reading Michel Farber's The Crimson Petal & the White. It does not fall in HR but it's proving to be an excellent read for Victorian London period.


message 3: by Julianna (last edited May 18, 2010 04:51PM) (new)

Julianna (AuthorJuliannaD) | 328 comments I have a lot of favorite romantic themes. I like when the hero and heroine are from "opposite sides of the track." I thought Elizabeth Hoyt did a great job with this theme in her Princes Trilogy. Another favorite is "forbidden love" and I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who does this one better than Barbara Samuel. "Friends to Lovers" and "Reunion" romances are themes I love too, but I can't think of one single author who does them the best. Most of my favorite books in these themes are spread out among several different authors.

Emery Lee (AuthorEmeryLee) PK Reeves wrote: "Try Eloise James This Duchess of Mine followed by A Duke of Her Own. A very different approach to HR with complicated scenarios involving wife & husband plus lovers scenario. People tend to forget ..."

I have never read Ms. James. I am putting these titles on my TBR list. Thanks!

PK Reeves | 33 comments Emery you will love her. Eloise James is actually an pseudonym for Mary Bly, an English prof at Fordham University. Let me know what you think once you start reading her. I was blown away by her unconventional approach to ton life, depicting life in a non glass bubble, actually she presents the ton with the harsh realities. As a reader I kept cheering for her heroines caught in loveless & hierarchical matches.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (Gatadelafuente) | 488 comments My top five list (since I don't want to keep you all day):
1.Tortured heroes (also like tormented heroine)
2.Old Maid/Spinster/Wallflower
3.Virgin hero
4.Less than perfect/physically flawed
5.Dark romance (preferably with antihero or dark hero/ or heroine for that matter)

PK Reeves | 33 comments Tortured heros with the antihero turned good ... via salvaged by a witty non conventional heroine (eg: spunk, non straitlaced, spirited woman: think Balogh's Freyja) and voila!

Susinok Oh I love me a tortured hero! Lord of Scoundrels, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, The Duke and I. They are often rakes to hide the emotional mess that they are.

I also like geeky heroines/spinsters.

message 9: by Yaseena (last edited Jul 16, 2010 08:32AM) (new)

Yaseena | 132 comments Here are my top 5 (in no particular order)

1. Tortured heros/less than perfect/physically flawed
2. wallflower/shy or tortured heroine/spunky heroine
3. Reformed rakes
4. Love stories between old childhood friends
5. Romances when one falls in love with a friends sibling

I'm actually looking for some good romance reads with the #5 theme or #4 any suggestions?

Jen (dandiestlion) | 10 comments I loved the way Elizabeth Hoyt wrote The Raven Prince. To me, this is the epitome of good storytelling. It's fresh with it's shocking(at the time) sensuality, it's sweet with the way the two fall in love. It's the whole secretary-boss scenario...and she actually made the love story very realistic. It had just the write amount of everything, really. Oh, and the whole solve-a-mystery-or-exact-revenge thing didn't exist in this book, which is also a plus. Instead, it focused on the burgeoning romance between the two likable main characters. I still remember how it felt to read it for the first time... I was so surprised Hoyt hadn't written any other books at the time, because when i was done with this one I immediately went on a hunt for her backlist. This hasn't happened again to me...yet.

Fani | 195 comments I also like brooding, tortured and also imperfect heroes. I think it brings out a hidden vulnerability in them that makes them endearing. Also I'm a huge fan of unrequited love stories and marriage of convinience. I can't have enough of both!

Authors... hm, I think Balogh in her older books did well with tortured heroes. Also Julia London manages to create brooding men with hidden vulnerabilities; love her heroes the most. And I agree with Hoyt because she stays away from perfect people, either emotionally or physically. Anne Stuart draws the most perfect antiheroes I've read about.

Amar | 150 comments Jen BIG ditto on EH's Raven Prince, such a sweet book...love how EH pairs up flawed h/h...To Seduce a Sinner was a sweet love story done in a similar way.

Carol *Young at Heart Oldie* Amar wrote: "Jen BIG ditto on EH's Raven Prince, such a sweet book...love how EH pairs up flawed h/h...To Seduce a Sinner was a sweet love story done in a similar way."

I loved 'To Beguile a Beast' because Sir Alistair Munroe was the perfect example of the brooding, tortured and imperfect hero (to quote Fani). The love story between him and Helen Fitzwilliam was so poignant.

Amar | 150 comments Carol just read To Beguile a Beast again...looooove everything about Sir Alistair, esp. the way he slowly warms up to the kids.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

The tropes I love:

1) Uptight hero or heroine tormented by a free-spirited heroine or roguish hero.
2) Reunited lovers
3) Marriage of convenience
4) Lovers to friends
5) Hero and heroine on opposite sides of the law
6) Scientist or nerdy heroes

Lori Baldi I can't say that there is ANY particular "trope" that I go for. There may be some that I stay away from. If the writing is good I'll stick with it. I honestly don't notice a particular type of book. I like them all as long as the story is good.

message 17: by Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria (last edited Dec 04, 2010 09:08PM) (new)

Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria | 15 comments There are some types of books I just know I'm going to love:-

Reformed rake, and even better if a plain heroine (that way I know he loves HER and not just that she's beautiful)


Secret love, when one of the parties has loved the other one forever and the other one slowly falls in love back

Marriage of convenience and they both fall in love as they get to know each other

Beauty and the beast always appeal

I read a book in the last year that was so amazing and was a bit "different." Scandal by Carolyn Jewel. The rake had already reformed as he'd fallen in love with the heroine before the book started. The heroine didn't like the H as he was a friend of her disgusting rake husband who she didn't love. It kept going back in time, which I don't normally like as it can get confusing, but she did it in such a way that explained why something was happening in the present and we got to see how the H fell in love with the h in the past and how the h came to love the H in the present. It really is one of best books I've read and I thought the author was very clever the way she handled it. It's in my top 5 books of all time and I recommend it highly.

I also love Elizabeth Hoyt books (she's an auto buy for me), I think because so many of them match my fave themes. My favourite of hers is To Seduce a Sinner - I loved that the heroine had been in love with the hero for some time and why, and that she had the guts to propose to him and get what she wanted. I loved that she didn't turn out to be such a mouse we all thought at the start and the way he became intrigued with her and realised there was way more to her than it seemed and then fell in love with her. It didn't hurt that he had a wicked sense of humour and he made me laugh out loud on the first page.

Oh, yeah, another thing that recommends books to me - heros that are very deep, but can make me laugh! Like Simon in Hoyt's, The Serpent Prince. I loved the interplay between Simon and h's father in the first part of the book!

Laura | 5 comments I love spinster/bluestocking/plain/PLUMP heroines and rake/brawny/smart heros, h/h that annoy or dislke each other, tortured heros, forced marriages, house parties in the country, h/h traveling together, and ooo my favorite - trapped in a cabin together - lol!

Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria | 15 comments Oh, yeah, trapped together, that's a good one. I forgot about that! Love that too

Jennifer C I love trapped together! Probably my favorite as well.

Emmaline | 8 comments Tropes I love but just don't see enough:

- smart/bluestocking heroines
- wallflowers
- kind, charming heroes

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Authors mentioned in this topic

Elizabeth Hoyt (other topics)
Barbara Samuel (other topics)