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Romance Genre Primer



The Romance Genre

According to the Romance Writers of America, “two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” These core ingredients are key, but from there, authors are free to be as creative as they want to be.








Set in the time in which they were written and reflect the mores of that time. Popular contemporary romance writers include: Jennifer Cruisie, Alice Clayton, Nora Roberts, Kristen Higgins, and Sophie Kinsella

Historical Romance

Historical setting + romance. Some popular types of historical romance include:  medieval, regency, colonial, and pirate! Look for authors such as: Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series. Also, Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, and Jo Beverley

Romantic Suspense

A central love story in which the lovers have to traverse a dangerous, thrilling, suspenseful plot before they can live happily ever after. Pioneers in the romantic suspense genre include: Danielle Steel and J.D. Robb

Paranormal Romance

For a novel to be a paranormal romance, love must occur between a human and a supernatural being. Christine Feehan and Katie MacAlister are authors to check out in the paranormal romance genre.

Western Romance

Involves cowboys and ranch hands, usually shirtless on the cover.  Carolyn Brown is prolific in the western romance genre. 


In erotica, sex is the integral piece of the novel. One of the most famous examples is Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James. 


Romance set around November and December. Novels like Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas and Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories

The RITA Award for romance writing is presented annually by the Romance Writers of America.

If I had to choose my top 3 books to introduce a reader to the romance genre ...




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