What was the last romance novel you read? When you finished the book, did you say, “More, please?” Or did you go, “I want to read less of that type of story?”
I was reading a novel that I thought was going to be romantic, or at least would have romantic elements in it. It comes in two volumes, and I settled in my reading chair, certain I was going to be swept away to a faraway land of happily ever afters. Well, several chapters in, and the war still went on. Battle after battle after battle. I am talking literal battles with death and destruction. There I was, looking for romance, only to find the hero mortally wounded. What on earth? Needless to say, I closed the book and went, “I don’t know if I want to read more of that.”
Dear reader, have you been there, reading a supposedly romantic book that didn’t “get there” fast enough for you? I am sure that if I had kept reading (and I just might — in another summer) there will be romance. The book promised there would be romance. Surely I would find romance in the second volume, if not the first, of the epic tome. Yes? One can hope.
What about this: Have you read a romance novel, rooting for the hero and heroine to make a character arc from bad to good or from good to better, and you cheered them on until the very end, and then learned that they never changed or that they didn’t take that leap of faith or didn’t keep a promise or something? I once read a Christian romance novel in which the hero never believed in Jesus from day one to the end of the book (he said so himself), and somehow he was the “savior” of the Christian woman whose life completely fell apart in spite of her faith. Would you still keep reading other books like that, or would you say, “More redemption, please!”?
This, I want more of: When I get to the end of the romance novel, I can’t help but smile at the happy outcome. While not everything is put perfectly right, the hero and heroine still emerge victorious because their God has delivered them through the valleys. I love that sort of arc, and I do write about such happy endings myself.
While there are many tropes in the romance genre, I was thinking more along the lines of elements inside the novel. For example, some readers want to read about strong heroines and some seek out sensitive heroes. Some want to read about single parents falling in love again, and some like multigenerational family saga. Some readers prefer to read all about cowboys. Some want more multiracial romances.
What about you? What do you want to read more of in a romance novel? What do you want to read less of?
Either way, I wish you a happy reading summer!