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Trendy Themes in Romance

Even if you’re new to the romance genre, you’ve probably noticed some popular themes. Off the top of my head I can think of dozens.

I think the most common trope is the “rich kid falls in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks and reconnects as adults.” There’s also the “powerful boss falls for assistant (or any other employee).”

In historical romances, there’s the “powerful duke seduces the innocent governess” and the “roguish lord pursues spinster wallflower.” There’s also the friends-to-lovers trope and the secret baby plotline. Oh, and I can’t forget the “inexperienced heroine strikes up a deal with hot guy to teach her about lovemaking.”

In addition to the themes mentioned above, I’ve noticed that the romance genre experiences hero trends, similar to the way clothing styles change. Cowboys are always popular heroes (not sure if we should attribute this to John Wayne or not), along with soldiers, SEALs in particular. Athletes are popular heroes, too, especially football and hockey players.

One of my favorite books of all time, See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson, features a hockey player hero. Luc (Lucky) Martineau is a goalie with a horseshoe-shaped tattoo on his lower stomach. He’s totally lickable. And one of my new favs, The Deal by Elle Kennedy, also has a hockey player hero.

A few years ago, the MMA hero kicked his way into the genre. All of a sudden, there were dozens of books with MMA heroes, and interestingly, most of the plots had nothing to do with MMA fighting.

Now we’re in this period of rock star heroes and the borderline taboo hero—the stepbrother. Honestly, I’m not that interested in rock star heroes, but I do like the stepbrother set up. I don’t think it’s taboo, either. In fact, I think it’s more taboo to fall in love with your sibling’s ex. That plotline totally turns me off.

What kind of trendy themes in romance have you noticed? Which themes are your favorites and which ones do you dislike?

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