Ultimate Romance Tropes List + Book Recs (2024)

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Romance tropes are essential to romance novels.

It leaves readers curious, rooting and wanting more of the two characters in love.

romance tropes list

Here’s the ultimate romance tropes list to help you find your next favourite trope along with some great recommendations!

If you’re an author, this romance trope list might be help inspire you, by revisiting familiar romance tropes or discovering new ones!

Read More:

What Are Romance Tropes?

A romance trope is a helpful writing device that hooks readers.

A trope is a plot device, motif, or theme that commonly appears in romance fiction. Some romance tropes examples are; enemies to lovers, forbidden romance, single-parent and love triangle romance.

At times love tropes are not solely made of one trope but may combine 2-3 tropes.

romance tropes list
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The Ultimate Romance Tropes List For Every Romance Reader

1. Enemies To Lovers Trope

steamy enemies to lovers romance books

Enemies to lovers is a very popular romance trope. Recently, this trope has been getting so much attention on booktok and bookstagram. 

The enemies to lovers trope consist of two people who hate each other and eventually fall in love. 

Another name for this trope is “haters to lovers”, not to be confused with “opposite lovers”. Usually, these two characters are working on conflicting goals or have very different values.

One of my most favourite steamy enemies to lovers romance novels would be A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore.

Best enemies to lovers book recommendations:

Read More:
25 Enemies To Lovers Fantasy Books To Add To Your TBR 
21 Best Enemies To Lovers Books (A List For All Readers)
7 Steamy Enemies To Lovers Books (Spicy!)

2. Friends To Lovers Trope

romance tropes list

In this trope, the couple starts off as friends, sometimes since childhood, in school/college or maybe they’re from the same town and have lost touch with each other.

Best friends who slowly discover they’re falling in love and cannot stay away from each other is definitely a popular romance trope among readers.

Best friends to lovers book recommendations:

Read More: 25 Best Friends To Lovers Books

3. Forbidden Romance Trope

how to read fantasy books for beginners

The forbidden romance trope is where two characters are not supposed to be with each other. In some cases, it’s frown-upon and not acceptable socially.

Usually, the characters in this romance trope have different races and socio-economic backgrounds. This trope is popular in fantasy romance books where a human often falls in love with a magical being.

Best forbidden romance trope book recommendations:

Read More: Colleen Hoover Books In Order (Masterlist & Mindmap)

4. Insta-Love

romance tropes list

Insta-love is a romance trope that often is not favored by readers because they fall in love so quickly, it can be unbelievable at times. 

Whereas, some readers enjoy this trope because it’s innocent, pure, and genuine. At times, this trope is also known as “love at first sight”.

Best insta-love romance trope book recommendations:

Read More: November 9 Summary and Review (Non-spoiler & Spoiler)

5. Slow Burn Romance Trope

romance tropes list

This trope is usually paired with other tropes like enemies to lovers or friends to lovers. It is when the characters take a long time to fall in love and leave readers highly anticipating their romance to bloom.

Some readers really enjoy this romance trope while some get impatient and may DNF the book.

Best slow burn romance book recommendations:

6. Age-Gap Romance Trope

The age-gap romance trope consists of one older and one younger person. Usually, we see this trope in romance novels – where the man is older than the woman. A more unique sub-trope would be the older woman trope.

Best age-gap romance trope recommendation:

7. Love Triangle

romance tropes list

The love triangle trope is when there are three characters, two falling for one love interest. It’s a monogamous way of love, where there can only be one character that eventually gets into a relationship/marriage with the other person.

Best love triangle romance trope recommendations:

Read More: Review: Daughter of The Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

8. Fake Dating/Relationship Trope

books like the love hypothesisx

Another very famous trope – you’ve probably heard of the fake dating (fake relationship) trope. Many best-seller romance novels in 2021 and 2022 had this trope. 

Two people get into made-believe relationship, often to mutually benefit from it. This trope gets even better when it’s combined with the enemies-to-lovers trope or forced proximity trope. 

Best fake dating romance trope recommendation:

9. Single Parent Trope 

romance tropes list

Single parent romance trope is where one of the characters is a single parent. This trope is not the easiest to write (or read) if you are easily triggered by death, divorce or losing a partner. 

However, it is interesting to see how a character navigates their love for a single parent because it’s not just about the parents but the family/children that come with it.

Single mom romance trope is usually one of the more unique romance tropes as we usually find single dad romance books more on bookstore shelves.

Best single parent trope book recommendations:

Read More: 20 Single Parent Romance Books To Read

10. Opposites Attract Trope

romance tropes list

Opposites attract trope is when two characters are very different from each other. They do not necessarily hate each other, but often times disagree with one another. At times, they can compliment each other really well.

Best opposite attract romance trope recommendation:

11. Forced Proximity

enemies to lovers books

A popular romance trope would be forced proximity. Oftentimes, this trope is paired with other tropes such as roommate romance trope or fake dating trope.

Some common examples are when these characters have to see each other everyday at work, attend a wedding together and are stuck with each other on a trip.

This is a fun trope that many readers seem to always enjoy because the characters start feeling emotions they’ve never felt before and start opening up to each other.

Best forced proximity romance trope recommendation:

Read More: 12 Books Like The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren & 12 Books Like The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

12. Brother’s Best Friend Trope

twisted series in order

Brother’s best friend trope is really popular among romance readers. It is when the brother’s male best friend falls in love with the sister. 

In a way, the best friend also is a possessive male character, wanting to look after the sister. It can be a heart-warming romance if done right, but when done wrong – it can be cringy to read.

Best brother’s best friend romance book recommendations:

13. Roommate Romance Trope

romance tropes list

Roommate Romance trope is often paired with forced proximity because they’re roomates – duh! Or in some cases, they could be housemates/neighbours.

Sometimes, these roommates despise each other. In other times, they’re college/childhood friends. 

Best roommate romance trope book recommendations:

14. Marriage of Convenience Trope

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Marriage of convenience trope is exactly what it sounds like – two people get married because it mutually benefits them. 

This arrangement usually brings them fortune, solves their family issues or saves them from some unwanted mess. 

It is refreshing to see two characters fall in love after marriage, instead of before. This romance trope can also be paired with the forced proximity trope.

Best marriage of convenience romance trope book recommendation:

Read More: 17 Marriage of Convenience Books To Read

15. Grumpy-Sunshine Trope


Grumpy-Sunshine romance trope consist of one love interest that is moody while the other is light and funny. Grumpy hero romance books is a common sub-trope.

You’ll find that, the two main characters in this romance book trope can be opposites and at times, also enemies to lovers.

Best grumpy-sunshine romance trope book recommendation:

Read More: 15 Books Like It Happened One Summer

16. Bad Boy Romance Trope

romance tropes list

Bay boy hero romance books have been an all-time popular trope. There’s something about a rebel or player that seems appealing to readers.

At times, the heroine changes the bad boy to become a better person. This can also be known as the “I Can Fix You” trope.

Best bad boy romance trope book recommendation:

Read More: 20 Bad Boy Romance Books To Fall In Love With

17. Billionaire Romance Trope


The billionaire romance trope (yes, millionaires aren’t enough for most readers!), is a common romance trope. Mostly, men who are bossy billionaires are main characters of this trope.

Best billionaire romance trope book recommendation:

18. Celebrity Romance Trope

romance tropes list

Nothing is more glamorous than a celebrity romance trope in books, so I just had to add it to this romance tropes list.

This trope usually consist of a famous celebrity and the other – an ordinary person.

With paparazzi and celeb gossip always on the rise, these characters will face challenges when navigating their love story.

Best celebrity romance trope recommendation:

19. Office Romance Trope

romance tropes list

Office romance, also known as workplace romance is a really fun romance trope. At times, this romance trope is paired with forbidden love, forced proximity or enemies to lovers trope. 

It can get really entertaining to read about how two people manage their feelings for each other at a workplace, leaving them confuse if this is really what they want.

Best office romance trope book recommendations:

20. Mafia Romance

romance tropes list

Mafia romance tropes are considered one of the darker romance tropes. Readers usually enjoy this trope because of the possessive, alpha males where family and loyalty mean everything to them. 

In dark mafia romance, it’s dangerous for the love interest to be with this person, yet they cannot stay away from each other.

Best mafia romance trope recommendation:

Read More: 25 Hot Mafia Romance Books That’ll Make You Blush

21. Pen Pal Romance

romance tropes list

Pen pal romance is one of the most underrated romance tropes. Plus, you don’t really see it being featured in most romance tropes list.

A pen pal romance is when two people fall in love through the exchange of letters. 

The romance through written words is what leaves readers wanting more. It is undeniably a slow-burn, where readers hope the characters eventually meet each other.

Best pen pal romance trope recommendation:

22. Plus Size Romance

romance tropes list

A trope that we should be seeing more of in not only romance books but curated romance trope lists are plus size romances.

Plus size romance is a controversial romance trope. I’ve noticed there are more books that feature one or two of the main characters as plus sized. 

Commonly, it is the women who is portrayed as plus size, with a male character who eventually falls in love with all her “flaws” and accepts her for who she is.

I’m not a fan of this trope. Mainly because sometimes it makes being plus size seem like it’s not “normal” or its a “flaw” that the character should embrace.

Best plus size romance trope recommendation:

23. Fairy Tale Retelling

romance tropes list

It’s not a romance tropes list without the Fairy tale (folk tale/mythology) retellings. These are re-imagined stories or have inventive twists on common tales we hear from childhood books and movies.

Beauty and the beast is a great example of a fairy tale retelling and is quite popular too. Hades and Persephone from Greek mythology has many retellings as well.

Best fairy tale retelling romance trope recommendation:

Read More: 6 Enchanting Books Like Six Crimson Cranes & My Review

24. Amnesia Romance

romance tropes list

Amnesia romance is when one of the love interest loses his or hers memory due to an accident or unfortunate event.

Best amnesia romance trope recommendation:

25. Royal Romance

romance tropes list

Royal romance trope is when one or both characters are from royalty. Sometimes, this can be seen as a forbidden romance.

Best royal romance trope recommendation:

26. Interracial Romance


The interracial romance trope consists of two characters of different ethnicity falling in love.

Often times, this trope is paired with the forbidden romance trope.

Best interracial romance trope recommendation:

27. Paranormal Romance

romance tropes list

Paranormal romance tropes are one of the more unique romance tropes in this ultimate guide.

More traditional paranormal romance would mean ghosts, spirits and beings from another world. However, sometimes this trope is found in fantasy books, with magical beings such as vampires and werewolves being the love interest. 

Best paranormal romance trope recommendation:

28. Cowboy Romance

romance tropes list

Finally on this love tropes list is cowboy romance! Spicy cowboy romance novels has been picking up some steam in the reading community, especially on bookstagram and booktok.

The cowboy romance trope revolves around the strong, masculine (and often morally-grey) cowboys. They’re often set in ranches, small towns and deserts.

You can expect love stories involving a cowboy to be adventures, wild and passionate. This trope is usually combined with other staple romance tropes such as forced proximity, fake dating and enemies to lovers.

Best cowboy romance novels recommendation:

FAQ: Romance Tropes List

What Is The Most Popular Romance Trope?

Some popular romance tropes among readers and writers are Enemies to Lovers, Forced Proximity, Fake Dating and Workplace/Office Romance.

What Are Dark Romance Tropes?

Dark romance tropes are love stories where the main characters are morally-grey. This means there could be some trauma, violence and profanity involved. These books have the age rating of 18 and up as they have mature content.

How To Create A Romance Trope Tier List

Visit tier making sites and find this romance book tier template. Once you’re done creating yours, you can share it on social media! Besides, you can also view other people’s romance trope tier list in the community tab.

Get Your Romance Reading Journal
(Functional, Minimal & Aesthetic)

romance reading journal printable
romance reading journal printable

Are you a romance reader trying to keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read but there’s just too many books to think about?

Think no more, journal instead!

Wrap Up: Romance Tropes List

And there you have it, the ultimate romance tropes list! Did I miss out any of your favourite tropes? Let me know in the comments and i’ll add it to this list of tropes!

Read these romance tropes right away:

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