I’ve been reading new romances, trying to figure out what makes a good one for me (not trying to establish a baseline for “good romance” since that depends entirely on the reader). The thing I keep coming back to is that although I love romance novels, some of them make me wince and think, Oh my god, that’s trite. And yet I keep reading anyway. (And some I throw against the metaphorical wall, but forget those.) One trope that fascinates me is the “we’re pretending to be in love/engaged/married” plot, which is really the contemporary version of the Marriage of Convenience. That plot always hooks me even though I know it’s a cliche, even though I know it’s ridiculous, even though I know that never happens in real life, it still gets me every time. I tried writing it once when I was writing category romance, and it was fun but I kept banging up against “this would never happen” so I’ve never tried it again, although I’m coming damn close with Nick’s proposal to Nita in order to give her his money. Since they don’t get married during the book, I think I’ve dodged that bullet, but they do move in together since somebody is trying to kill her, so I’m firmly in the “Can he protect her?” trope, which is a plot I actively hate (she’s not a victim, damn it), but it does get them in the same apartment and eventually in the same bed, so oh just hell it’s a Marriage of Convenience plot. Well, I do like that one, I’m just kind of ashamed of it. Sigh. Cowgirl up, Jenny. Own your guilty pleasures.
What did you read this week?