July 26th is all about our favorite tropes. Oooh boy do I love recurring plot themes in literature. Old ones, overused ones, obvious ones, mixed ones, multiple mashups…I’ll take them all. Seeing a trope in the book’s blurb doesn’t turn me off, it actually makes me more likely to buy the book. This Friday I’ll celebrate all my insta-buy literary themes.
Beauty and the Beast
My very, very favorite of all the tropes. Something about seeing through outward appearances to the genuine, loving, real person within has always caught my attention. You know that sweet, squeezy feeling you get around your heart when they finally figure out that they’re really, truly loved? In spite of everything? Yeah. I love that feeling.
Beauty (Robin McKinley) Beastly (Alex Flinn) When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Eloisa James) Lover Awakened (JR Ward) To Beguile a Beast (Elizabeth Hoyt) To Seduce a Sinner (Elizabeth Hoyt) Romancing the Duke (Tessa Dare) Demon from the Dark (Kresley Cole) Simply Love (Mary Balogh) Shattered Silence (Anna Carven).
Enemies to Lovers
Friends to lovers is fine, sure, but to me it’s missing the sizzle that only comes from a bit of back and forth. Some snarking. Maybe even some lovely sarcastic repartee. Having our lovers be enemies first adds legit tension and a genuine obstacle to overcome. And that resolution! So satisfying.
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare) Dark Skye (Kresley Cole) The Hating Game (Sally Thorne) Walk of Shame (Lauren Layne) It Happened One Autumn (Lisa Kleypas) Tamed by the Troll (Tracey Lauren).
Misfit Finds their Niche
The best bit is when the other characters finally realize what a gem the misfit was the whole time. And I love making it through all of the hardships to the moment when our underdog reaches their happy ending. Either by finding their niche, or creating their own. Happily ever after never felt so good!
Harry Potter (JK Rowling) The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson-Burnett) Graceling (Kristin Cashore) Unseen Academicals (Terry Pratchett) The Blue Sword (Robin McKinley).
Mail Order Bride/Marriage of Convenience
Something about the forced proximity keeps me reading. Will they seek out the little things about each other that are worth loving? Will they spend the precious time needed to understand each other? Or will they keep it at convenience and go their separate ways inside the same house? And also…sexual tension, boss level.
Slightly Married (Mary Balogh) Devil in Winter (Lisa Kleypas) The Alien’s Mail Order Bride (Ruby Dixon).
A) the conflict is built in, because everything from culture to morals to other people are against the relationship. Yay! And b) I just like forbidden things, okay. Definitely why I wrote this kind of trope into my first two books.
Big Mistake/Step Into Love (Lili Draguer) By the Currawong’s Call (Welton B Marsland) Red Rose (Mary Balogh) Priest (Sierra Simone) Pestilence (Laura Thalassa).
Good list. I think ‘enemies to lovers’ happens a lot (at least in fiction), surely as often as ‘friends to lovers’.
It is a perennial favorite and I fully endorse this trend 🙂