Aug 29 2014 8:30am

Trope of the Month: Separated Spouses

When the Duke Returns by Eloisa JamesAcademically 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!).

Sometimes you love someone, but you can't be with them—whether it's war, personality differences, or anything in between. However, these are romances, so they won't be separated for long!

Here are a few recommendations for this trope off the top of our heads:

Do you like the separated spouses trope? What do you think are some books that epitomize this trope? How do you think it differs from other “marriage” tropes?

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1. Scarlettleigh
If I had to pick one trope that I love the most, this would be it-- even more than friends to lover. Because it is the ultimate fairytale -- a do over -- a second chance to get it right-- a love so strong that even though the couple experienced heartbreak they can't forget each other (I'm not talking about the Pamela Anderson type of love though<g>)

I always have the expectation when former lovers are in the story together, that they will be re-united.

Of course that is not always the case--many times the author uses the ex to show that the heroine has moved on -- which even if I like the new hero and the author shows that he is a better fix than the former, I feel a little let down just because I have a built in bias for the exes, especially if there are children involved.
2. Kahintenn
One of the best romances ever written, Sherry Thomas's Not Quite a Husband, uses this trope. The book won the RITA for Best Historical Romance in 2010. It is extremely moving...the first romance I ever gave an 11 on my 1-10 scoring system for books.
Barbara Bauschka
3. njoireading
This is by far and away my favorite trope. Not Quite A Husband is my ultimate favorite, but there are so many others. I guess it is the "hope" that resonants with me. Private Arrangements is another, again by Sherry Thomas.
4. Loquacious
Oh, I love this trope! Lady Isabella' s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley is one of my favorites that uses it.
5. Bell
Arouse by Nina Lane is a great read with this trope. And Professor Dean West, well ??
6. Bell
Lol, not sure why that ended up question marks. I loved the Professor.
7. Venus Mandy
I think it depends upon whether or not there is cheating involved. Meaning did they have sex with anyone after they got married and separated. If just one side does it I have a problem. If both sides have new relationships well then I am okay.
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