So, this weekend, I was reading a book that I should have liked. I say “should have” because it had a good cover (super hot guy...who doesn’t love that?), a good blurb, and a ton of good reviews. I went into it with every confidence that it’d be great. Well, I made it to 4% of the story before I gave up on it. Why? It was all about one of my least favorite tropes in romance history: the secret baby.
My biggest problem with the secret baby in this particular romance was that there was absolutely NO REASON for the heroine to have kept this baby from the father. The hero wasn’t an abusive drug addict, he wasn’t some deadbeat loser. He was an upstanding, nice guy who deserved to be a part of his kid’s life. Why did the heroine keep the baby’s existence from the father? Well, she’d had a rough life and didn’t trust people easily. Oh, boo freakin’ hoo, lady! Lots of people have had sad lives and they don’t vow to do everything all by themselves, even when the father has billions of dollars and the heroine is in debt to a loan shark to pay for the baby’s heart surgery. (I’m not even making that up. I wish I was.)
After all this, I thought it might be a good idea to list out some tropes that I never again want to darken my Kindle. (Other than the secret baby baby thing. I think I’ve made myself clear on that one) Maybe authors will take pity on me and stop writing these things once and for all:
Are millionaires passe at this point? Do we, as romance readers, eschew the millionaire hero because he’s too much of a loser to have become a billionaire yet? I don’t see why. Being a millionaire is pretty darned impressive, as far as I’ve concerned. And yet just about every other hero you run into these days is a billionaire. But even more disturbing (and unrealistic) than that, is the fact that 95% of these billionaires are all under 35 years old. And they’re super hot. Sure. Because THAT happens all the time. Why, I’ll bet I can name a shit ton of young, male, super hot billionaires right now off the top of my head...oh, wait. No I can’t. Why? Because it just doesn’t happen like that in real life. So, can we stop making it happen in romance novels so often?
You see this alot in second-chance romances and historical romances. Some stupid misunderstanding (that would’ve been cleared up if the hero and heroine had TALKED TO EACH OTHER like adults at least once) keeps the couple apart for years. Why? Can’t we just have romances featuring couples that overcome REAL obstacles on their path to true love? Wouldn’t that be just as interesting?
Ugh. If a heroine or hero has no idea who they love, they’re stupid and I have no time for them. End of story. Of course, there are some exceptions, but overall, love triangles can go away and die as far as I’m concerned.
The power of the magical wang (and/or vagina)
If the fate of the world at any point in the story hinges on whether or not the hero and heroine have sex, then I’m out. This is just lazy writing and I can’t abide it.
This also applies to any past psychological scars or traumas that are suddenly healed when the hero and heroine have sex. (Example: He’s a man whore who has never stayed faithful or wanted commitment from any woman do to his deep-seated mommy issues, until he has sex with the heroine, and her magic vagina cures him of his man whoring ways.)
I believe that people can fall in lust at first sight. But love? Yeah, not so much. I want to read about couples who get to know each other before they start spewing love declarations. Why? Because it MAKES MORE SENSE THAT WAY. Lust will fade over time. But real love will endure. I’m much more apt to believe in the couple’s HEA if they are in love, rather than lust.
These are the arseholes who dip their wicks in every available vagina within a fifty mile radius before falling for the heroine. Gross. You just know these guys have a standing appointment at the free clinic every week to pick up their herpes meds and get tested for new STDs. No thank you. Give me a romance about a nice guy who hasn’t slapped and tickled half the female population of my state, thank you very much.
Greg and Marcia Brady
Can we all just agree that the step brother thing has been done? Sure, it’s been done really well a couple of times, but I’m over it now. I didn’t want to see Greg and Marcia Brady making out after potato sack races in the backyard, and I don’t want to read about step siblings falling for each other now.
Billionaire werepanther Navy Seal rockstars
OK, so I think we’ve discussed already that billionaires are rare. I’m pretty sure rockstars and Navy Seals are also fairly rare. As for werepanthers...who's to say? But what I object to here is not necessarily billionaires, werepanthers, Navy Seals or rockstars—but rather a hero (ONE hero) that just happens to be so many rare things all at once. What’s wrong with NORMAL kinds of heroes? The kinds of guys you’d find in real life?
(Note: an aside to the secret baby thing. As much as I hate the trope as a whole, I did find ONE novel in my reading history that had a secret baby that actually made sense to me. It was BN Toler’s Desperately Seeking Epic. I feel like it deserved a shout out since it was the exception to the rule. It’s a great book, too. Never let it be said that I’m a total cold-hearted bitch, m’kay?)
What about y’all? What tropes do you love, and which are you totally over? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!