Although outside the pages of the book I’ve never been at risk of being described as overly affectionate, I adore immersing myself inside a love story, losing myself in the characters’ emotions as they navigate the choppy waters of romance and relationships. 

Like many genres, Romantic Fiction offers tales of all kinds under its red, heart-shaped umbrella. It's a nuanced and glorious section of publishing that shows love in all its forms. And the power of social media is giving its readers a louder voice than ever before, whether that's through the rise of Romantasy, the growth of the #RespectRomFic movement or beyond. But not all Romantic Fiction stories are created equal, introducing: the tropes. 

Tropes are “a significant or recurrent theme” (thanks Google) and here we will be focusing on tropes within the genre of Romantic Fiction. Some you’ll fall head over heels for, some might give you the ‘ick, but they can be a shorthand for finding the right story to suit your mood. We’ll be journeying through some of the most popular romance tropes this year as a way of sharing some great reading recommendations with you all.

Seeing as though I’m the one creating these Collections, we’re starting with one of my personal favourite tropes, enemies-to-lovers. It’s tale as old as time, Character A meets Character B, they decide they loathe one another, you could cut the tension with a knife and then one day after plenty of intense glaring and sarcastic comebacks they realise that what they’re feeling might not actually be dislike after all. They say there is a fine line between love and hate and this trope spends its time using that line as a skipping rope. 

A classic example of the enemies-to-lovers set up is Pride and Prejudice – the fiery Elizabeth Bennet and the proud and stoic Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy show that even with an initial clash of personalities, a little understanding and perspective can make you see someone in a whole new light. Add in a Bullseye-style “take a look at what you could've won” walk round Pemberley and everything is in place for a much loved classic romance. 

Moving on from the much adapted classic to a more recent recipient of a book with a film adaptation, we give you Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. This workplace romantic comedy sees rivals Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman go head to head for the same promotion as their dislike of each other bubbles over with hilarious and toe-curling results. 

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue sees an enemies-to-lovers storyline pan out between Alex, America’s First Son and Henry the Prince of Wales. When the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an altercation between the pair, a plan is devised for damage control. A sprinkling of forced proximity (another trope I’m sure you’ll be seeing again as part of this series of Collections) and what begins as a fake, instagrammable friendship grows deeper. 

Another perk of writing these pieces is getting to decide which books I mention, so I have to include the enemies-to-lovers pairing that took BookTok and Bookstagram by storm this year and left everyone dragon obsessed: with Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.

Am I ever going to stop harping on about it? Probably not. If you haven’t already heard about this book, seriously where have you been? Obviously not within a three mile radius of me so that I can tell you about Violet Sorrengail and Xaden Riorson. She is daughter of the General and was destined to be a Scribe, yet finds herself fighting for survival in the Riders quadrant of Basgiath War College, risking life and limb to survive until graduation and not get eaten or burned alive by dragons. He is the marked son of the executed leader of a traitorous rebellion, dark and deadly with absolutely no restrictions against killing her whenever he wants. Gah! It’s been months since I last read it and even writing this has me itching to pick it back up again. 

We've kept you in suspense for long enough, browse through our Collection of books below for some more enemies-to-lovers recommendations and choose your next romance. Comment at the bottom of the page to let us know your favourite enemies-to-lovers storylines and also what other tropes you want to see us covering next.