Monday, August 17, 2020

Tropes I do not enjoy or read much

Girl lying in guy's lap

When it comes to reading romance, those familiar with the genre will understand the role of tropes in a story. There are so many tropes that make up the romance book world. Some we love, some we don't. I've had a niggle in my brain the last few days as I've read a story by an author I truly enjoy and it made me think of all the tropes I'm not crazy about. I try to avoid them if I can help it, although I make exceptions and read them on occasion if the book is by an author I trust.

What are those tropes, you ask? Here, let me tell you!!

To start, the trope I do not enjoy the most would be the second chance romance trope. The reason the couple broke up in the first place leaves me feeling that there's too much negativity and bad feelings from the past. Let's face it, romance is my happy place, so I don't like to go into a story filled with angst, hurt, pain, recriminations, and misunderstanding. And quite often, the misunderstanding can be rather manufactured and ring false, like in a lot of the Harlequin Presents stories or something that a simple conversation could have solved instead of the heroine running away and wasting a decade of their lives apart.

Sad girl

I am currently reading two stories that are second chance romances. Both by two of my favorite authors. The stories are extremely well written, but it also makes me pissed off because, in both instances, the situations and misunderstanding could be solved with a conversation rather than the heroine running away and cutting the hero out of her life for the better part of a decade. So much time lost.

Don't get me wrong, there are also situations where the reasons are painful and legitimate, and a lot of trust and rebuilding is required to wipe away the pain of the past. Nalini Singh does it particularly well in her Rock Kiss series with Kit and Noah in Rock Redemption, when Noah intentionally betrays Kit to push her away. He has his reasons, and you find out how awful, painful, and equally misguided they were, but he needed to get to a place of love and trust where he could heal. Equally, with Sarah and Abe in Rock Wedding, Abe has a lot of making amends to do when it comes to winning Sarah back. Whether intentionally or not, he did destroy her love and marriage, causing Sarah a tremendous amount of pain.

Search and Destroy by Julie Rowe Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh

What I like about Nalini Singh and Julie Rowe's stories is they do deal with the past and the issues with a great deal of maturity. It's difficult and painful, but they deal with them as adults, and they communicate. It's a biggie for me. It doesn't take away my feeling disgruntled because so much time has passed with life and love wasted, but it does soothe my soul somewhat that it's dealt with well.

I know the second chance romance trope is a popular one, and many people don't feel the way I do. I know a lot of people enjoy the trope. Personally, if I read a blurb and the story hints of a second chance romance, I'd generally avoid it unless it's an author I trust a great deal, so I know they will handle it well. I do not like it when there's too much focus on the past, the pain, the recriminations. I prefer the pain to be dealt with early on, and the story focused on how they move forward as a couple.

My other non-favorite trope is the enemies to lovers one. You'll see a pattern when it comes to tropes I don't enjoy, and it's when there are negative feelings involved to drive the story. For whatever reason, be in the new bully romance trend, or the more traditional enemies to lovers, two people fighting for a business deal, rival families, or rival objectives, the trope starts off with a battle between the hero and heroine. They do not like each other, but they are helpless in their attraction. This causes fights, arguments, one-upping each other, and all sorts of other unpleasant things they do to each other as they resist their attraction and fight it out to come out on top. And then there's always the potential that one person has wronged the other and that's why they are enemies, so revenge is on the cards. Nope, sorry. That kind of conflict does not work for me. Romance is my happy place, remember?

Angry girl shaking first

Another spin-off of the enemies to lovers trope is the revenge trope. If, for whatever reason, the hero or heroine try to get close to the other due to some revenge scheme they have concocted against the other person, then I'm out. There's a lot of negativity associated with that particular trope that does not sit well with me. The whole you have wronged me or my family, and I need to seek vengeance to get even is not a particular feeling I like to explore in too much depth. All the things I don't like come into play, including lies and deception, since it will involve hiding something from their "target" in order to get close and take advantage to get their revenge. Of course, there are instances when the revenge is not against each other but against a third party. I have to admit those are not as repulsive to me, but at the same time, there is a negative emotion that drives the character's motivation despite the attraction that I do not find appealing.

And finally, the mistaken identity trope. When it comes to the mistaken identity trope, it's the intent and the inherent deception that bothers me. I have a very low tolerance level when it comes to lies and deceit in my romance, so whether it's intentional or otherwise, I have no patience for it. It doesn't matter who does the deceiving or who does the lying. The moment that comes out in a book I'm reading, I'll likely DNF it quite quickly unless the lies are cleared up quickly and almost right away. If the deceit carries on for the entire book, then it's going to take something special in the writing or the author for me to keep reading it to the end. One of the few examples I can think of where I actually finished the book is Undercover With The Nanny by Cathy Skendrovich. Intent and the actual situation probably had a lot to do with me finishing this particular book, and the blurb didn't indicate a mistaken identity trope, so I went into it unaware.

Man with mask

No, not finally. I have one more. Secret babies. I don't think I've read many of them but the very thought of them disagrees with me. It truly bothers me when a woman decides for whatever reason to hide a pregnancy or a child from his/her father. I don't think any father deserves to not be informed of the situation. What he does with it is entirely up to him, but hiding it from him does not work for me. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances? Perhaps the reason is a good one? Perhaps she tried but couldn't get in touch with him and he doesn't find out till much later. Okay, if she tried, then it's easier for me to stomach, but if it's intentional, that she deliberately hid the pregnancy and the child from the father. Yeah, not for me.

So there you have it. Some tropes I'm not crazy about but will still read if it's by the right author though generally, I'd avoid them if the blurb hints at them. I know this post is not all sunshine and roses because I'm not talking about tropes I love. Please bear in mind this is only my opinion and is not a reflection or a criticism of what you love to read. I know a lot of people who do love these tropes. Are you one of them? If you love these tropes, tell me why. I'd love to know how your reasons for loving them differ from mine. And are there any trope you do not enjoy?

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  1. I don't really go by tropes, as such. I'm not keen on billionaires or royalty. Especially royalty, but I have been known to read it. Second chance is fine by me. People do grow, move away, go to university, join the forces etc, and lose touch. Esp before the internet or social media, lol

    1. A lot of it depends on the reason that a second chance is needed. I love billionaires and royalty. They are the ultimate fantasy so I find them fun to read.

  2. Not sure if this is a trope but I do love a fairy/folk tale reimagined. Juliette Cross' Lily series was lush and magical. I'm currently reading Rosethorn Valley Fae tales by Tasha Black. They are short tales but pack in a lot, and I can recommend them.

    1. Oh yes, Juliette's fairy tale vampire series is awesome. It's a very underrated series. I love them. Have you read her Vessel trilogy? That's fantastic too.

    2. Yes, loved the vessel trilogy, and the Dragons. I couldn't finish the Hex book though

    3. Her Dominion series which is set in the same world as the Vessel books are great too. The Hex books are very different. I enjoyed it but I didn't love them as much as I did the Vessel, Dominion, and all her other books. I prefer her books with the deeply emotional and intense tone to them.