Book Tropes: A Powerful Guide For Romance Readers

If you are a romance reader, then you’ve certainly heard about romantic tropes. 

Ever encountered in different books a scene where the man and the woman, who are attracted to one another, have to sleep somewhere and there is only one bed? Well, that’s a trope.

What is a Trope?

It’s the theme the author uses in the book to make the story move forward. Also, can help the reader identify better the type of story he’s going to encounter. A story trope can be found in movies or books, basically in any genre, but it’s most famous in romance sub-genres.

Romance Sub-Genres

Before diving into tropes, it’s important to distinguish sub-genres in romance. Sub-genres define the books in different categories:

  • Contemporary: Contemporary romance is a romance book that is contemporary with the time of the writing of the book
  • Fantasy: When the setting involves magic, supernatural and/or science fiction elements. Usually is set on other worlds different than ours
  • Historical: Where the timeframe of the story takes place sometime before the 1950s
  • LBGTQ: Love stories between anyone who doesn’t define themselves as straight
  • Young Adult: Stories written for readers between the ages of 12 and 18
  • New Adult: Stories written for readers between the ages of 18 and 30
  • Romantic Comedy (RomCom): Characters face a series of amusing situations before they end up together
  • Erotic: The plot revolves around the sex. The intimacy between characters is central to the main character’s growth and relationship.
  • Spiritual/ Religious: Often includes Christian fiction, or ‘clean’ fiction but also can happen when the main characters set to heal themselves spiritually
  • Paranormal: when the main plot is focusing around paranormal characters such as vampires, werewolves, aliens, shapeshifters, demons, zombies
  • Suspense: when there is usually a mystery to be solved or there is a suspense plot line besides the love story

The stories don’t necessarily have to fit into only one sub-genre. A Contemporary Romance can also be included in the Young Adult sub-genre.

Some of the most powerful romance tropes:

Age Gap

Includes romances where the characters have a big difference in age between them. This trope usually has Forbidden Romance too.

Some age gap romances below:


Where the relationship between the main characters is not well accepted in society standards. It can be a teacher/ student, priest, stepbrother, boyfriend’s father, etc.

Some recommendations below:

Enemies to Lovers

One of my absolute favourites! When the main characters can’t stand each other but as the story evolves, it also develop their feelings (usually they already have chemistry/ feelings but won’t admit it to themselves).

Some recommendations below:

Friends to Lovers

The main characters are good friends and then they become something more.

Some recommendations below:

Touch Her And You Die

It’s a new famous trope nowadays, where the female character is in peril or someone is getting handsy with her and the main male character makes his threat to whoever is doing it to her.

Some recommendations below:

Who Did This to You

Usually when the female character carries scars from the past or injuries (physical or mental) and the male character angrily inquires about it. Usually develops to a fight between the male character and the aggressor.

Some recommendations below:

Small Town

It takes place in a small town and its inhabitants playing central roles in the story and relationship of the main characters.

Some recommendations below:

Forced Proximity

When the main characters are forced to spend time together. Usually they are stuck in some location or in a room (it can include the ‘one bed’ trope).

Some recommendations below:

Forbidden Love

The main characters can’t be together. Whether they are from families who are enemies or there is a big social difference between them (ex. He’s a prince and she’s a commoner).

Some recommendations below:

Second Chance

When the main characters first encounter didn’t end so well but they are giving it a second chance (usually years later).

Some recommendations below:

Arranged Marriage

When the main characters are forced into a marriage arranged for them by other parties.

Some recommendations below:

Fake Relationship

When the main characters fake a relationship for beneficial reasons (it can be for both or just for one of them).

Some recommendations below:

Reverse Harem

Where the female character has a romantic/ sexual relationship with more than two male characters.

Some recommendations below:

Brother’s Best Friend

Very similar and yet different from the ‘best friend’s brother’ trope. It’s when the main character has feelings for the brother’s best friend.

Some recommendations below:


It focuses on a billionaire as one of the main characters. It’s usually the male character but there are also stories where the female character is the billionaire. This trope can also include the ‘secret billionaire’ trope where the billionaire’s status is hidden/ unknown.

Some recommendations below:


When the romance features a bodyguard and the client.

Some recommendations below:


When one of the main characters is in the Mafia (it’s usually the male character) and the other is a common person. This trope is sometimes included in the dark romance or suspense.

Some recommendations below:

Grumpy Sunshine

When one main character has a bad temper and is always broody and the other is always happy and optimistic.

Some recommendations below:


This trope is seen many times in the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope. It happens when the main characters work together.

Some recommendations below:


It revolves around sports. When one or both main characters have a career in sports or practice sports regularly, the plot is set in those environments.

Some recommendations below:

This post may contain affiliate links. Please check out my Affiliates & Review Policy for more information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s