Finding your fictional perfect match!
Hi everyone! How’s your early summer going so far? Any moms out there equal parts excited and nervous about the prospect of children home all summer? Just me? Okay!
So, as I was contemplating music genres for my next work in progress—where the female lead is a former classical singer and the male lead is into 80’s rock and folk music—I started thinking about how the books we gravitate to have ‘types’ as well.
Even within contemporary romance, there are specific break-downs that perhaps speak to our different personalities and preferences. Certain aspects of a story—the setting, occupation of the hero or heroine, specific plot devices, etc.—might catch our eye from the back cover description and jive with some part of us. And then, bam, we want to know more about these characters and their story.
And, in another way, shopping for a book can be a bit like dating, especially in the day and age of dating apps and speed-dating. The cover may initially draw us in, just like a great smile or gorgeous eyes of a potential date. But it’s the back cover that seals the deal, entices us to read further, just like a sparkling conversation during a first meeting. And what attracts us to a certain type of book, or person for that matter, is as different as each person out there.
Today, I thought it would be fun to explore some of the different ‘types’ of contemporary romance. But this is by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to add some of the things you’re drawn to initially in romantic fiction.
For example, maybe you’re into stories set in big cities, where excitement and endless possibilities for romantic outings live, such as Mikal Dawn’s Count Me In, set in Seattle, Washington. Or perhaps you like a small town setting with a slower pace, beautiful scenery, and quirky locals like in Becky Wade’s Bradford Sisters series set in Merryweather, Washington (which is, as far as I know, made up, but so fun and cute I wish it were real). And how cool is it that these two books can show two very different sides of one state?
There’s even an off-shoot from this type in which we get the ‘city mouse and country mouse’ thing. A big city gal gets into small-town shenanigans or vice versa, which is super fun too!
If you love to travel, an exotic locale might help you sample crepes in Paris and scones in London without ever leaving your comfy reading chair! And, is it just me, or is there just something so inherently romantic about a beautiful European backdrop to make your heart melt? You had me at cheerio, am I right?
Maybe a unique or heroic job is your thing. I mean, who doesn’t like an astronaut, cowboy, archaeologist, police officer who just happens to be a decorated war veteran? Okay, maybe not all at once, but you get the idea.
Another ‘type’, if you will, is the Florence Nightingale effect, where one of the characters is in a vulnerable situation— such as an accident, injury, or illness— at some point in the book and needs the other lead character to care for him or her. Those can really pull at the heartstrings. It’s also a tried and true plot device for the ornery or proud character to soften up and open his or her heart to the possibility of love.
And can we make a list of types without listing the long-lost love scenario? There’s something so bittersweet, so agonizingly beautiful about star-crossed lovers finally getting together in the end.
These are just a few of the types of romance books I’ve enjoyed over the years. I realize they can start to sound clichéd when bunched together like this. But because the characters in them and the writing of each author is different, the books themselves are unique as well.
And between you and me, I’d take a small-town or English countryside locale and a plucky female lead with an interesting occupation any day.
So, tell me, what’s your type? Do you have any to add? What books have you read that would fit into some of these categories?
A born and bred Midwesterner, Mollie Rushmeyer makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. From a young age, she loved putting words to page and dreamed of becoming an author. As an inspirational contemporary romance and women’s fiction writer, she loves to bring stories of hope to messy, prodigal gals just like her.
She’s an active member of ACFW and is the Vice President of her local chapter. In her “spare” time she lives out her Lois Lane fantasies as a local print journalist, writes encouraging online content for Crosswalk and iBelieve, is an outdoors enthusiast, a passionate champion for the freedom of human trafficking victims, loves to sing and read, and enjoys full-time employment as a monkey-catcher… ahem, mommy.
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