Things I Enjoy, or Not, in a Romance Novel

If I am not saying I will, but if I do, I enjoy:

  1. When one book picks up where the last one left off.
  2. When they get married at the beginning, or part way through.
  3. A sardonic rake is always good.
  4. Autocratic is fine.
  5. Self made men. (Waving at Lisa Kleypas for 3 – 5)
  6. A big lug for variety.
  7. Historical accuracy in the clothing.
  8. Historical inaccuracy in the woman’s education.
  9. Wallflowers rather than victims of circumstance.
  10. He should be very physically attractive. It’s romantic fiction by and for women.
  11. It must be funny.
  12. A besotted hero, manfully so, but besotted nonetheless.
  13. Subtle references.
  14. A fist fight is always fun.
  15. Character reincorporation/interconnected stories.
  16. A straight up romance and all subplots feed into it.
  17. Acknowledging how complicated the clothing and hair is.
  18. Travel takes a long time.
  19. 19th century English setting, preferably after trains are running.
  20. Sincere romantic gestures.
  21. When the viewpoint switches between the hero and heroine.
  22. Body hair. That’s right, I said it.
  23. Intimate, but not explicitly sexual, contact.
  24. At least 3 love scenes: consummation, in media res, reconciliation/closure.

Or not:

  • It is distracting when the timeline doesn’t make sense, or moves too fast.
  • When I have to go back and check: What now? Are they standing or sitting etc.?
  • When the proposal/marriage is at the very end.
  • Inexperienced women getting adventurous too quickly/gymnastics.
  • There’s a fine line between modern sensibilities and realism.
  • Prinny. I fu*king hate “Prinny”.
  • The use of certain words. They know who they are.
  • Sub-plots that dominate.
  • Lavender is for little old ladies.
  • Excessive muscle definition – historical accuracy.
  • Not everyone has to be a duke, or even a noble.
  • Unrealistic activity on period appropriate furniture.
  • Extreme french kissing.
  • Plot moppets.
  • Silly pets.
  • A full wardrobe appearing in about 4 hours.
  • Any clothing, other than a shift, that rips easily.
  • Bodily fluids need not be discussed.
  • Brothel visits.
  • Happy hookers.
  • Florid language.
  • Political machinations.
  • Spies/mysteries to be solved.
  • Protracted “I am unworthy” objections.
  • Excessively tortured heroes, unless you’re Courtney Milan. She can do no wrong.


  1. Balance presence of servants versus complete and repellent historical accuracy.
  2. Proper sense of the clothing. This is clearly bordering on obsession.
  3. Height differences must be consistently acknowledged.
  4. Let’s just ignore the period appropriate facial hair, shall we?
  5. The reader should be dying for the first kiss.
  6. Balancing explicit activity with good taste.
  7. At no time can the hero use his strength or size to dominate or intimidate the heroine.
  8. Is it in any way possible to have a hero with a beard?
  9. Falling in love must be shown (not told). Conversation is good for this. “The hots” are insufficient.
  10. If the writing is good and the relationship sincere, you can get away with anything you want.

Additions welcome!

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