Academically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s],“ which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.
But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.
Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).
When the team initially discussed this trope, we soon realized it was not one that we saw in modern romance as much. The notable recommendations published in recent years were usually on the darker side or paranormal, with a few exceptions.
Many of the books listed below are beloved in the genre, but also polarizing, especially when seen through the gaze of the modern reader. A hero or a heroine held captive and then falling in love with their captor can leave a lot of room for something to go wrong—if the author doesn't tell it in the right way, etc. We have loved the enemies to lovers trope and villains to heroes, but one member of the team suggested that if she went back into some of the iconic “held captive” romances that she might not see them with the same glow she had upon the original read. Do you feel the same? Do you think it's a trope that you would like to read now, or should it stay in the past as a trope of yore? Do you think any one subgenre is more equipped to handle this trope? Have you read any of the books listed below?
- Beware the Scot's Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries
- Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
- The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss
- The Conquerer by Brenda Joyce
- Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
- Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts
- Prisoner by Annika Martin and Skye Warren
- Devil's Game by Joanna Wylde
- Heat by R. Lee Smith
- Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
- The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros
- Cold as Ice by Anne Stuart
What iconic held captive romances did we miss? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!