AtoZ, Blog Challenge, Books, Fantasy Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women authors, Young Adult

Quean-crazed – 5 oft used romantic tropes in books


At one time, an old word for a sex worker, quean came to be used as a nickname for any pretty young woman in the Middle Ages. A man who was quean-crazed was ultimately besotted or love-struck. I am exploring romance as a genre by looking at the 5 most popular romantic tropes and the books they are used in. 

Who doesn’t love a good romance when done right? I began my journey down this rabbit hole the traditional way. Mills & Boon, Harlequin Romances, Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steele, and so on and so forth in my teen years. Later on, the movies helped fulfill my romantic fantasies.

I think romance is one of the most successful genres across the board. It’s one of the most basic and much requited human emotion. We go to any lengths to bring a glimmer of it in our lives.

A romantic story essentially comprises of two people who will eventually fall in love and the roller coaster ride they have to engage upon to reach there. It’s the characters, the events, timeline, and most importantly the romantic tropes which help in achieving this goal.

What is a romantic trope?

Essentially speaking, romantic trope is a plot device employed to create a hook in the storyline. It’s main purpose is to engage the reader’s attention and gain their empathy. From Shakespearean plays to modern day bestsellers, all romance novels indulge in romantic tropes. Let’s explore five of my favorite tropes from romantic fiction and my favorite books where these are profiled.

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Enemies to Lovers

When it comes to fictional relationships, this trope is used most commonly and finds it’s place in every kind of literary genre. From Classics to the fantasy fiction to the historical fiction and of course Young Adult, there is a liberal sprinkling of “Enemies to lovers” trope in bestselling romance novels. Two characters in the tale who cannot stand each other for some strange/frivolous reasons but learn to like each other enough to fall in love eventually. Sounds pretty blah but it’s actually one of the most successful trope. Here are a few books I found them in. Do you have any names to add to this list?

Star Crossed lovers

A slight deviation on the “enemies to lovers” this one is about lovers who are not destined to be together due to hard-to-win-over issues. The obstacles could be social class, religion, competition, rivalry, or even the scenario of alternate universe. The passion and love is real between the two lovers but fate has other plans for them and they have to work very hard to be with each other. I love how this trope has been executed to perfection in The Night Circus where Celia and Marco are pitted in a magical duel against each other, and the winner will be declared when one of them dies.

Forbidden Love

This romantic trope is a slight deviation on star crossed lovers as the love is simply forbidden due the fact one is a mortal while other is a vampire as in the Twilight series or arch rivals where one has betrayed the other as in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. In this case the writer is banking on keep the reader divided over which of the two lovers they empathize with the most. It keeps the hook embedded deep into the story.

Friends to Lovers

This trope explores childhood friendships which slowly develops into a romantic relationship. Or it’s new friends who share hobbies/passion which brings them together. The bonding is sweet and innocent as it begins as friends and over time matures into a passionate one. Here the mental connection is stronger without the distraction of a physical one. One of the sweetest example of this trope is of Ron and Hermoine from Harry Potter series.

  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Allire

Forced Proximity

The stuck together romantic trope has been explored in quite a few dramatic situations. From being snowed in a mountain cabin to a road trip which is never-ending due to several issue like traffic/car breakdown, etc. One of the most effective use of this trope is by Beth O’Leary in The Flatshare where the two become flat mates but are never in the house at the same time. One has a day job while the other has a night shift. If you haven’t read this modern romance yet, I beg you to pick it up now.

So there you have it. These are my favorite romantic tropes and the books based on them. What did you think of this post? What is your favorite trope/book from my list? Please share your favorites in the comments below and if you are stopping by from AtoZ, then don’t forget to leave your links too.

Coming tomorrow R- Red Herring!!!

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For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

I am participating in this years challenge with Life Of Leo with a shared theme of quirky bookish words. Both of us are interpreting the words as per our reading tastes.

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2 thoughts on “Quean-crazed – 5 oft used romantic tropes in books

  1. I like the friends-to-lovers trope the best! ;P
    I loved reading The Fault in Our Stars. It was so beautifully written!
    I haven’t read many romance books lately, unlike when I was in college when I read romance books by the dozens. I guess age has got a lot to do with least for me, it is so.

    1. Yeah you are right about age being a factor for reading this genre. I am also in the same boat. Now its mature love that gets my attention but not these YA fictions which seem so immature and banal.

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