What Makes A Good Romance?

August 3, 2012

What makes a good romance? As a reader, what are you looking for?

Obviously, we need a happily ever after. A hero and heroine we don’t hate, but beyond that, what are your “This Makes a Book Awesome” keys?

For me, I need the following things:

*A hero that does not patronize the heroine. I like heroes in all shapes and sizes, but if they start thinking the heroine can’t walk down the street without help or what she wants isn’t REALLY what she wants because HE knows best, BLECH.

*A heroine with a backbone. Whether it’s developing through the story or she’s always had one, I need a heroine who’s going to stand up to the hero and not say swoon or faint if he looks at her wrong.

*Sizzling sexual tension. I don’t care if there’s a fully described sex scene or not, I want to feel the attraction between hero and heroine crackle.

*A believable conflict. This is why I have a hard time getting into secret baby or amnesia or contractually obligated marriage stories. I want to believe the story is possible. (Please note that POSSIBLE and PROBABLE are different. It needs to be possible, not probable).

Now, I want to know what YOU think? What are your must haves in a good romance? What makes you fling a romance across the room (or mark it DNF on your ereader)?


6 Responses to “What Makes A Good Romance?”

  1. Well…for me to dub a book great I need:

    1. A hero driven story. I identify more with men when I’m reading, not as a man , but as a woman who wants to be invested in that man. If it’s heavier on the heroine’s POV, then the hero needs to really command my attention when he’s around. I don’t like beta heros. I’m not a fan of a hero who isn’t driven and very successful (those are huge turn-ons for me).

    2. Some semblance of fantasy. Even in a contemporary, I don’t like too much realism. I’m not a fan of grit and hard times that can’t be fixed in a shiny, over-the-top way. I want dreams to come true, and those dreams usually involve money and power and very pretty people in pretty places that stay perfect ever after. 🙂

    3. Sexual tenstion, like Nicole said. I want to feel the lust and love and emotional blitzgrieg.

    Of course, I read lots of books that are simply good. Usually the writer’s voice makes those books easy enough to read, so I don’t freak at not having my big three met. The only books I haven’t finished are those with too much suspense or peril. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable. 🙂


    • Nicole Says:

      It makes me laugh that you are MY CP and like reading about powerful, successful heroes with money. 😉

      Your #1 brings up an interesting point. Sometimes I think I’m the opposite, needing a heroine driven story, but my list of favorite heroes is way longer than favorite heroines. Hmm.

      • I know. We are so different at times, but our differences make us stronger. 🙂

        I don’t really pay attention to women. I just don’t. They are placeholders in most books that I read. They bring the hero to me. I can’t help it. This is just the way I am. It’s a problem when I’m writing, though. (I think you know that.) I’ve had to learn to balance my couples and pay attention to my heroine’s likeability all because I love me a hero.


  2. Kindle Gal Says:

    My must haves for a good romance include:

    #1. Hero POV and lots of it. I can fairly well predict what the heroine thinks and feels. I am a woman after all. So I’m always on the lookout for books that feature close to an equal amount of male POV and dialogue as there is female. (I think Elley and I share a brain.)

    #2. A non-whiny heroine. I cannot stand anything that features a woman who is all about playing the victim card. I like my heroines wicked smart, bitingly funny, and strong/resilient. Otherwise, it isn’t believable to me that any hero would fall for her.

    #3. Snappy dialogue. This is what usually gets me from liking a book to loving a book. I like sharp, witty exchanges between characters and lots of snark. Which leads to…

    #4. Humor. This is a must. If I’m not laughing, I’m not likely to read another book by that author. I want to be entertained.

  3. nicolehelm Says:

    One reason I struggle to read first person, especially if the first person is a woman, is I hate not having the hero’s POV. Excellent point.

    3 and 4 are big pluses for me too. Even a really heavily emotional book should have at least a little bit of humor and some witty dialogue to break up the heaviness.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  4. […] Friday, I posted over at From Fact to Fiction about what makes a good romance for YOU? If you’re a romance reader, please consider stopping […]

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