Back to Top

Tag Archives: tropes

beauty&beast-vintageCan we talk about #tropes? Romance fiction is full of them, and some are specific to Regency romance. Do you have favorite tropes that always draw you to a story? Or some that guarantee you won’t pick up a book? I got a poor Amazon review for my book An Unlikely Hero mostly because it was a “house party” story and the reader was sick of those. I do wonder why she bought it!

Elena talked about a few she dislikes back in January here when she was judging Rita books –and oh, boy, that task is coming up again all too soon! But the reason tropes are on my mind today is because in my “other” little Regency author group, the Bluestocking League, we are working on a website where we intend to include what may amount to a small encyclopedia of Regency romance tropes –a list, with descriptions of each and perhaps a few words about their appeal– and we have been compiling the list to start with. Not as easy as you might think, despite the existing lists already out there!

Want a peek at our list-in-progress? Have any you think we should add? Here it is in no particular order:

Loveable Rogue/Rogues in love

Agents of the Crown secret-agent-man

Childhood Friend Romance




Beauty & the Beast

Ugly Duckling/Makeoveri_love_being_estranged_mug-re330ccf88ac348ad8b2b7575bfeb37a8_x7jsm_8byvr_324

Estranged Lovers reunited

Friends to Lovers

Marriage of Convenience


Governesses Governess

(other) Boss/Employee


Mistaken Identity

(kidnapping) –almost always mistaken identity?

Rags to Riches

Wounded Hero/Caretaker Heroine

House Party Chatsworth-House

Masquerades (including Secret/Hidden Identity)

Road Trip/Runaways



my-guardian-angel-85701 Ghosts/guardian angels/magic locket–i.e. Something paranormal outside of self influencing the romance.


Thief/highwayman/con artist  (are there any gypsy Regencies–and if so, would they fit here or as own trope?)

Hidden treasure


Spies (not just Agents of the Crown–could be a soldier, a French spy, etc.)

Wills (tricky provisions and/or inheritances that play a major role in the plot)

Marrying out of one’s class (not sure how to say that more simply)

Demi-monde/light skirts



InventorsMusicians 1817


Heroes who have a profession

Naval/Sea faring



Handicapped (could be hero or heroine or secondary character whose handicap is an issue)

Social Issues (including slavery, abuse of children, etc.)

Farming/Raising Horses/Animals?

Waterloo (since this seems of particular interest to some readers)

Christmas (and perhaps other  holidays)

India/Other foreign travel?

Children (stories where a child or children play a significant role in bringing the hero and heroine together)

Lots of books include more than one, and some overlap. Which books that you’ve read (or written), leap to mind when you look at these tropes?

We could talk about which favorite tropes appear in which favorite authors’ books. Or we could get into a discussion about where some of these tropes originated (besides the history of the period itself) –Austen? Heyer? Some of the early Regency writers like Cartland?

Sadly, I’ll have to leave that to you in the comments –I am really short on time this week! But I would love to hear what you all have to say about some of these tropes, or even about the list itself!

There are a lot of Regency plots out there. Some I love, some not so much. What do YOU think? I’ve listed a few. Let me know how much you like the plot!

For the purposes of answering, assume the book is well written and you find the blurb interesting. I totally get that a great author can rock any of these plots. What other plots do you love, love to hate, or hate like poison? Tell me in the comments.

Marriage of Convenience

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Forced Marriage

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Virgin Widow

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Innocent But Fiesty Heroine

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


The Betrayed Hero (aka I'll never trust again)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Carol Roddy - AuthorLove is worth the risk. . .

If you have visited my Web site you’ve seen that tag line. But, what’s the greatest risk?

Risk can refer to physical risk. Romantic suspense thrives on it. Common Regency tropes associated with physical jeopardy include kidnapped heroines, pirate capture, War (Peninsula or Waterloo usually), or basic assassination attempts by villainous characters. We all love heroes—and sometimes heroines—who face up to these challenges and come out winners, especially the ones that get a little beaten up in the process.

Risk can refer to social risk. The regency subgenre was built on dangers to women in particular if they challenged societal expectations or broke social mores. Common tropes of this kind include the young girl led astray to trap her into marriage, the family hounded from London in disgrace, the deb tricked into disgrace by a vicious rival, and, one of my favorites, the older woman in a small town with A Scandalous Past. The risk to the men? Always—shudder—the parson’s mousetrap. We all love the heroines who take a chance by thumbing their nose at convention and get away with it.

The greatest risks of all, however, are the dangers to the human heart, the most vulnerable of organs. Heroes and heroines might take physical and social risks, but still guard their souls and emotions closely. The ones who find it difficult to trust their hearts to another make for the most satisfying reading.

DANGEROUS WEAKNESS2 (5)Dangerous Weakness, my newest work, abounds in all three, but the hero and heroine see them differently.

Lily Thornton, the heroine, is an intrepid young lady. As the daughter of a diplomat she has grown up in the great cities of Europe, speaks six languages, and socializes with gentlemen of all ranks and ethnicities. She is confident and independent. At one point in the story she even finds employment as a teacher in the Sultan’s Seraglio. The girl has spunk. She fears little, at least she didn’t until she made a colossal blunder in Saint Petersburg and almost succumbed to the charms of a weasel, one that follows her back to England.

When Lily finds herself thrown in with the hero, who is investigating her tormenter,  and she succumbs to his lovemaking too quickly, she pulls back in panic. She can’t possibly trust him, especially since she knows he has no intention of marrying beneath him. When he subjects her to an insulting marriage proposal, she refuses to accept him. She will not trust her heart to a man who will step on it, hide her away in the country, and push her aside as an embarrassment. She would rather make her own way as a single mother. The risk to her heart is greater than social disgrace.

Richard Hayden, the Marquess of Glenaire has no fears. He manages his life in an orderly manner, at least until he meets Lily. His never puts a foot out of line socially, at least until he meets Lily. He plans a secure future with a socially correct and perfectly safe wife who will leave him to his work and be a proper duchess when he inherits. He knows the dangers the wide world presents because he works night and day to keep England and its interests safe. Therefore, he knows better than anyone what kind of danger Lily puts herself in when she disappears from London in the direction of the Mediterranean.

Richard doesn’t hesitate for a second—he sets out after the fool woman who has led him a merry dance, thrown proposals back in his face, and refuses to behave, as she ought. The Pirates that take them may be dangerous, but he manages them fearlessly. It is more terrifying for him to admit to Lily that he loves her. He doesn’t want a duchess, he wants a wife to love and protect. What if she says no again?

Love is worth all those risks, but especially that of opening your hearts, as Lily and Richard finally find the courage to do.

Have you ever taken a bit chance on a relationship? How did it work out? I will give one person who comments (randomly selected) a Kindle copy of either Dangerous Works or Dangerous Secrets.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Guest | Tagged , | 11 Replies

This year I received NINE books to judge in RWA’s RITA contest. It appears, from online discussions, that people who are open to judging a broad range of categories can get swamped, as I have. Unless there are changes in how they do things, I may have to opt out of more categories next year, because this is going to be a challenge!

Anyway, judging the RITAs is always a mixed pleasure. Usually I find some new authors to follow, but almost always, I also run into books that use some tired old tropes I don’t see in my favorite authors’ books. Here are a few I’m braced to expect:

Tired Trope #1 – The Feisty Redhead

Red hair is gorgeous, and I understand why authors might use it in a symbolic sense, to connote passion (although I’d also argue that blondes and brunettes can be just as passionate). I do wonder about the idea that redheads are naturally short-tempered.

When I googled around, I found some historical background for this idea of the “fiery redhead” and also some articles suggesting that the gene that produces red hair may also cause an increased sensitivity to pain. So perhaps a redhead might react more strongly if one accidentally stepped on her toes? It still seems like a stretch to assume that redheads have a short fuse about everything. It’s not borne out by the ones I know. They aren’t wimps but also aren’t at all the sort to jump to erroneous conclusions or blow up at trifles.

The stories that really rub me the wrong way are the ones featuring a redheaded heroine who blows her top easily and a hero who somehow thinks this is cute. Taken to this extreme, it’s infantilizing women’s anger. I prefer to read about a heroine who can be angry with real reason and a hero who, even if he disagrees with her, will take her seriously.

Tired Trope #2 – The Rich, Handsome, Alpha Chauvinist

Sadly, in most of the batches of RITA books I’ve judged, there’s at least one book with a hero who crosses the line from alpha to abusive. He shows a consistent lack of respect for the heroine, disregards her ideas, needs and desires, and may judge her sexuality using a double standard.

In a historical romance, I can imagine a hero whose upbringing and experiences may not have prepared him for a heroine with untraditional abilities or strong passions. I still want him to be intelligent enough to recognize, accept and eventually be delighted by what he learns about her true nature.

However, I actually see as many or more chauvinistic heroes in contemporary romance. Seriously, have we not gotten past the modern hero who’s surprised when a heroine proves to be intelligent and competent? Or one who slut-shames her for having as strong a libido as his?

Even if there’s some good grovel at the end, I can’t believe in a happy ending for these couples. I see the heroine ending up in what amounts to a luxurious cage and the “hero” eventually replacing her with either a younger wife or a mistress, depending on the setting.

I want to read about a hero who loves the heroine in all her complexity. One who does not see her as a static, desirable object but a living woman, who will change and acquire new wisdom and power as she goes through various phases of her life. Because he loves her, he’ll be excited to be her companion for that journey.

What do you think? Are there other tropes you’d like to see retired?


Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By