January 6, 2012

Book 101 - Romance

As is the case with a lot of novels, genres have a tendency to mingle with each other, and you can rarely assign just one specific genre to a certain book. While for some folks a romance novel is, well, just a romance novel, there is actually much more to it that first meets the eye and heart.

What the all have in common are two basic elements. First, quite obviously, we have a central love story. After all, what would a romance novel be without two individuals falling in love, and their inevitable struggle to make the relationship work. And secondly, there needs to be a preferably emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending. All the struggling simply has to have a happy ending or no one would continue reading such novels except for hopeless pessimists.

Generally romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality that can range from sweet to extremely hot. It's these settings and distinctions of plot which creates specific subgenres within romance fiction. So yes, a romance novel loves to get intimate *wink* with other genres.

Contemporary Romance
Contemporary romance novels - the largest sub-genre - are set in the time when they are written, and usually reflect the mores of that time.

Historical Romance
Historical romance is set before World War II. This subgenre includes a wide variety of other subgenres, including Regency Romance.

Romantic Suspense
Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

Paranormal Romance
Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.

Science Fiction Romance
A science fiction romance is a romance novel that takes place in a story that would otherwise be classified as a science fiction story.

Fantasy Romance
Also known as Romantic Fantasy, this is a subgenre of fantasy fiction, describing a fantasy story using many of the elements and conventions of the romance genre.

Inspirational romance
Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship.

Multicultural Romance
Multicultural romance typically features a hero and/or heroine who is African-American, although some multicultural lines also include Asian or Hispanic heroes or heroines or interracial relationships.

Erotic Romance
Erotic romance is a blend of romance and erotica. These novels also usually include more sex scenes, often focusing more on the sex act rather than being a more traditional love scene.

Young Adult Romance
Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

You could say, romance can be found in pretty much any genre, and you just have to pick the ones that suit your reading taste the best.

Do you like to read romance novels? Feel free to share your romantic guilty pleasure reads with me!


  1. I used to read Anais Nin's erotic novellas, but that was a looooong time ago; Now, from time to time, I like reading some historical romance. I had no idea there were so many subtypes :)

  2. I haven't read much romance and I had no idea that there were that many kinds. Thanks for the info.

  3. I like the breakdown of romance novels...i guess mine falls under the Paranormal Romance category (Dantalion Of the Goetia)www.fantasyromanceoccult.com if anyone is interested :)