Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Romance Novel Themes

Good morning, Renee Ryan here.  In honor of a personal anniversary I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.  Thirty years ago I read my first romance novel.  At the time, I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies.  Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material.  A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of study and took pity on me.  She handed me a Harlequin Presents romance novel and said, “Take a break.” 
I was hooked.  Romance novels became my greatest treat after a long day of studying or test taking.  At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began for me.  I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.   Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite romance novel themes.
  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Reunion/Old Flame
  • Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
  • Cowboy
  • Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
  • Widow/widower
  • Single parent
  • Twins
  • Mistaken identity
  • Nanny
  • Guardian/Protector/Lawman
  • Bad boy and Good girl
Within each of these themes are a million different storylines.   I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels to date.  For example, I used marriage of convenience and widow/widower in my book HEARTLAND WEDDING.  In MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widow/widower.
I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.
What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and I’ll put your name in a drawing to win my November release FINALLY A BRIDE, book 7 in my Charity House series.  By the way, FINALLY A BRIDE has the reunion/old flame and matchmaker themes.   


  1. I've loved reading romance since my mom gave me some Jeanette Oke novels as a teenager. My favorite themes are cowboy and marriage of convenience. Looking forward to reading your new book, and thanks for the giveaway!


  2. I'm a suspense reader/writer at heart. I'm the woman in jeopardy theme.

  3. Hi Heidi! Great choices for favorite themes!

  4. Pamela, aha! Woman in jeopardy makes perfect sense!

  5. I'm with Pamela. Woman in jeopardy is my favorite theme.

    Love my heroes to be macho protectors! :)

    Okay, what sorority?

  6. I read most of my life but when I when I left school it slowed down till hardly reading at all. An older lady always gave us a gift at christmas and in the late 80's gave me Janette Oke's first book in the Canadian West series. She gave me the next one for my birthday and I was hooked again. I also found the heartsong presents books and there was another promises promises I think. LI came to Australia later.
    favourite theme not really sure I like lots of different ones. I did get a little tired of hidden baby books where the hero didn't know he was a father.

  7. Hi suspense writers are all the same. ;-)

    I'm an Alpha Delta Pi!!!

  8. Jenny, I'm embarrassed to say I've only read one Janet Oke book. I think I better read some more. Her name comes up a lot!

  9. P.S. Jenny, I agree. Besides, I think Secret Baby themes are really tough to pull off. How could you NOT tell a guy he's going to be a father? Tricky, tricky stuff.

  10. Renee, While I did love Janette oke I think now a lot of people struggle with her books as Chrisitan fiction as evolved a lot. I got to the point her books were very much the same after a while but the Canadian West series will always be one of my favourites cos it got me back to reading and made me fall in love with both Canada and mounties.
    I think I know what I dont like more than I like I also dont like weak heroines who need a man to do everything for them. Its not so bad if they are weak and put in a situation where they have to now cope and realise how strong they are but if a man comes along to save them it can annoy me.


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