I’m not gonna lie. This week has been harder for me than previous quarantine weeks. I’ve been keeping myself on a schedule to keep things moving, but the last few days, I’m just feeling down. I’m going with it and letting myself sit in this feeling, because we hear so much about needing to brush negative feelings aside etc etc but I think it’s ok to absorb how we feel until it passes. Makes me cherish the happy times even more!
One pastime that can take us to another world… books! And specifically, romance novels! Being cooped up in the house with our partners 24-7 can lead to agitation and irritability. Reading a good love story can be a great way to give you new perspective on each other and perhaps re-kindle sparks!
My friend and romance novelist, Lisa Becker, knows her romance books! Read her thoughts below:
By Lisa Becker: Forced proximity. Enemies to lovers. Friends to lovers. These phrases may describe your current quarantined relationship with a spouse, but they are actually common tropes used in romance novels. A trope is a character, theme or plot device so frequently used in a genre they are seen as familiar or conventional, thereby giving the reader a sense of what the story is about.
My story right now is one of self-distancing, shelter in place. If you’re anything like me, you’re hunkered down in your home, showing gratitude for essential workers, secretly obsessing over scientific projections, and whiling your time away until the pandemic is under control. I’ve cried over news stories, laughed at memes, dominated my kids in board games, and binged the latest Netflix must-see TV series.
Why we should read a romance novel
I’ve also read a lot of books. Being a romance novelist myself, I often turn to hopeful, romantic and steamy happily ever afters for entertainment.
I recently read a wonderful book called The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams about a professional baseball player seeking to save his ailing marriage. He finds help from an unlikely source—a secret romance book club made up of fellow athletes. These alpha males use lessons learned from romance novels to repair their crumbling relationships.
While I’m not certain the following suggestions can bring a relationship back from the brink, I do believe a fun and sexy novel can help alleviate stress, be a form of self-care, and serve as a fun temporary distraction from what’s going on around us.
Following are five of my favorite romance novel tropes and a suggested title (note: these books contain mature content and are for adults only) for each.
Forced proximity is any plot device that forces the two main characters to spend time together, even if they don’t want to. Think a couple forced on a road trip, trapped in a snowstorm, stuck in an arranged marriage or the comical “there’s only one hotel room left” scenario. Whether the two characters are already attracted to one another or fierce enemies, being forced together gets the sparks flying. Among my favorites in this trope is Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date, where Alexa and Drew are stuck together in a hotel elevator before agreeing to become fake dates (another excellent romance trope!) for the wedding Drew is attending that weekend. From there, lust and love bloom leading to a multicultural, long distance experiment that just may be what each of them needs.
Best Friend’s Sibling
As the name would suggest, this romance trope follows the relationship between two characters connected through one of their siblings. The addition of familial relationships creates a layer of drama and angst making this one of my favorite tropes. Among the many books that follow this formula, Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Player stands apart. Chronic Casanova Will Sumner meets his match in the brainy, workaholic Hanna Bergstrom, who happens to be his best friend’s little sister. Will is asked to help her become more social and in doing so awakens something in both of them.
Enemies to Lovers
They say there’s a thin line between love and hate. Nowhere is that truer than in the enemies-to-lovers romance subgenre. Classics in this trope include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. In these stories, two people who hate each other (usually for inconsequential reasons) overcome their disdain and fall in love. For a modern twist on this trope, look no further than Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, which was recently optioned for a major motion picture starring Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell. In this workplace romance, Lucy and Josh are mired in a series of petty one-upmanship before competing for a job promotion.
Friends to Lovers
This is such a popular trope because many of us can relate to having an unrequited crush, whether it’s someone we’ve known forever or recently met. We’ve held out hope that we can convert that friend to a love interest. We love seeing two people bond with each other before a physical relationship gets in the way and watch with anticipation as friendship grows into something more and the romance builds and blooms. A favorite in this genre is Emma Chase’s Overruled, the first in her Legal Briefs series. Stanton and Sofia are friends and coworkers who find their friends-with-benefits arrangement up-ended when Sofia promises to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.
What could be more fun than watching two people who seemingly have nothing in common find that maybe they’re not so different after all. How to Date a Douchebag by Sara Ney is the first in a fun-fueled, jocks-behaving-badly, college-set series where “douchebag” wrestling team members find love in unexpected places. In the first in the series, crude, arrogant, sex-driven wrester Oz meets his match in the sarcastic, classy and conservative Jameson.
Lisa Becker is an award-winning romance writer who spends her time like she spends her money—on books and margaritas. As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “For every chair, there’s a tush.” Lisa is now happily married to a wonderful man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach, California with him and their two daughters. So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!
Connect with Lisa
Goodreads: Lisa Becker
Find Lisa’s Books Online
Free Book Delivery to South Bay
If you live in the South Bay, you can order a paperback directly from Lisa and have it delivered to your doorstep. Visit her website www.lisawbecker.com for more details.