This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about what we like and dislike in romance novels. I actually wish there was another term for “romance novel,” because it automatically brings to my mind those old Harlequin paperbacks with Fabio-esque characters on the cover. In reality, the romance genre is very wide and varied, and they don’t all feature Fabio.
What I Like in Romance Novels:
- Hilarious and often embarrassing situations.
Yes, I love laughing out loud, but I also love the aftermath of embarrassing situations when characters make amends and you find out how likable they really are :)
- Pride-and-Prejudice-types of romances.
Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship is classic, and I don’t care how often I see it repeated in other romances. If it’s done well, there’s a high probability that I’m going to love it.
- Unrequited love and tragic situations.
I don’t care how sad these types of books are, I love unrequited love stories (especially if it’s no longer unrequited at the end). I also feel the same way about tragic books, when a fictional couple faces a dramatic conflict and they have to recover from it. I learn a lot of lessons from those types of novels.
- Letters! (or emails or text messages)
I think Jane Austen said it best: “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.”
- Character growth.
I always enjoy a story with deep and well-developed characters. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is trying to suffer through a novel, especially a romance, when the characters are utterly flat and unmotivated. (these books definitely show great character growth!)
- Deep themes and serious issues.
I love books that make me feel those deeper emotions. When it comes to romantic books, I really enjoy the ones that deal with sad, and even dark issues unrelated to the central romance. Also, maybe I just like books that move me to tears because that means it’s some pretty powerful writing.
What I Dislike in Romance Novels:
I can handle one or two clichés, but a whole book full of them? Not so much.
- Explicit descriptions and foul language.
Nope. I don’t finish any book, from any genre, that is overtly explicit/graphic or that includes too much foul language. Nothing turns me off quicker than seeing a dozen curse words splattered across a single paragraph, especially when they’re the weirdest and rarest ones I’ve ever heard. If an author can put THAT much creativity into which curse words their characters spew, surely they can come up with some less abusive vocabulary? (ok, rant is over–see, I told you it bothers me!)
- Unrealistic characters, plot lines, or dialogue.
If it’s unbelievable, it’ll be unenjoyable for me too.
- Characters who are obsessed with their significant others.
I’m talking New Moon Edward and Bella obsessed. I don’t want to read books where characters mope around and don’t know how to survive when their significant other leaves them or is gone for one day. It’s pathetic, dangerous, and in the case of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, just plain creepy.
What’s your favorite romance novel? Do you share any of my pet peeves or favorite motifs when it comes to romances?
24 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Novels”
Brilliant list Maggie. I quite like reading about unrequited love, however sad it may be!
I’m glad you feel the same way!
My list is scheduled to go live in 10 hours or so.
I’ve got the exact same last point as you and used the exact same example, haha! Bella and Edward is such a classic example of the way too obsessive couple. I’ve also got a few points that are similar to your pet peeves.
And great post! I really agree with your points on hilarious situations and unrequited and tragic love. I like these kind of romances too!
But I think we interpreted the topic differently. I think I interpret as romance in books, not just romance books. I think it’s interesting to see the differences in our list due to the different interpretation we have :)
I love TTT topics that can be interpreted differently! I’m looking forward to reading your list now :)
I love books that make me feel something sad.
My Top Ten Tuesday!
Me too! Sadness is such a strong emotion and I love when authors use it realistically in their novels.
Great list Maggie, I forgot some of these that I love about romance books- in particular the embarrassing moments!
I couldn’t agree more that the classic romances tend to be the best, like Jane Austen novels I do love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- love tragedies hold my interest a great deal. Even if they are rather morbid and like you said, you can learn a lot from them!
Oh and I love that Jane Austen quote “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.” :D
Here’s my TTT if you would like to check it out :) Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!
I knew you’d appreciate the classic romances :) nothing can quite compare to them!
Happy Tuesday to you, too! I’m going to check out your list right now :)
I’m wild about character growth. It’s really the most important thing for me. Well, that and electricity.
Hahaha, yes, electricity and character growth: our greatest needs in life! ;)
Haha, well, my all time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, so I’m pretty sure we’re going to have some different opinions. Although Jane Eyre is fabulous too. I really just wanted to say that I love your blog header!! So adorable.
I totally respect your love for Wuthering Heights! I have read it twice, and while I thought the writing was captivating and intriguing, the characters were completely awful (not poorly developed but just awful human beings). But it is the only book that has kept me interested despite my hatred towards Heathcliff and Cathy (really, Cathy’s the worst. Heathcliff is just obsessive). I still think Emily Bronte was a literary genius.
I get too squirmy during embarrassing moments because I want to die for the characters, but I love everything you listed especially character growth and unrequited love.
Sometimes I get that way too! I blush and yell out, “Oh my gosh, what did you just do?!” when a character embarrasses themselves. But other times I just laugh and thank God it didn’t happen to me :)
Loved your list and also the fact that it included recommendations! Character growth and embarrassing situations are the best to read! Loved your blog :)
Definitely dislike mopey characters…and I don’t think it’s healthy for young women to think that they have to be so completely dependent on their mate. You shouldn’t lose yourself when you fall in love!
It’s not healthy at all!
When the whole Twilight craze was first beginning, I was curious about the books. So, I got the audio version from my library’s digital site and began to listen.
And for the first third of the first book, I liked Bella. Then she meets Edward and all the personality she had is gone because “he’s so sparkly.” It got worse with each book and it’s one of the many reasons I don’t have much good to say about the series. Bella started as a interesting character and soon becomes one only defined by her love her Edward. Ugh…..
That’s exactly it, she’s defined by him. There’s no Bella without Edward.
#1! Sophie Kinsella is queen of embarrassing meet-cutes!
She is! Her characters are so funny too :)
Mmmm Pride and Prejudice type romances! I also completely agree with all your dislikes!
I can’t get enough of those types of romances!! I love the tension :)