Ah, romance in fiction. I’ve got a serious love-hate relationship with it. On one hand, all of the cute moments have me begging for more. But on the other hand, one of the things that drives me crazy about romance in fiction is the sheer number of clichés I’ve read. Some of the clichés drive me crazier than others, and yet some I find myself asking for more of. Without further ado, here are three romance clichés that I dislike and three romance clichés that I love.
Dislike: Instantly Falling in Love
“And then their eyes met from across the room and they just knew that they were meant for each other…” It wouldn’t be entirely untruthful to nickname the cliché of “insta-love” as “Disney-love.” After all, nearly every Disney princess movie has moments of insta-love (although in Frozen, this cliché is flipped beautifully). Yes, attraction happens, but falling in love with someone in a matter of minutes is utterly ridiculous.
This idea of “love at first sight” is not only unrealistic, but it also is super shallow (and not the smartest thing in real life, if you know what I mean). Who falls in love with someone after a glance from across a coffee shop or a quick conversation about the book you’re reading? How can you know it’s really love if all you know about the guy is that he has nice blue eyes?
Love: Damsel in Distress
I LOVE THIS CLICHÉ SO MUCH. I blame it on the Disney princess movies that I will never get enough of. Just ask my siblings. But honestly, what can be more romantic than a prince saving his princess from a fire-breathing dragon, a poison-apple induced sleep, a sea-witch, or an evil stepmother?I’M KIDDING I’M BEING SARCASTIC. Or am I? 😉
I like this cliché because it totally goes against the “strong” women cliché (check out this post to see my rant thoughts). However, I will say that sometimes, this cliché can make women look weak. It has to be done right, or not at all.
Dislike: Love Triangles
Newsflash: LOVE TRIANGLES ARE KINDA DONE. If I have to pick up another book with a love triangle in it, I might cry. Yes, love triangles can be done well (or even be enjoyable), but honestly, we’ve seen it a thousand times before. Nothing seems to have changed. It’s so easy to figure out which guy the girl is going to pick! Not only are love triangles super predictable, but they add weak (and unneeded!) tension to the plot.
There have been books I’ve read that have love triangles in them just to have love triangles. The love triangle adds nothing substantial to the plot. In some cases, all of that unneeded baggage about which boy the main character is going to the dance with can take away from the story. I don’t want to know about Suzy’s inner turmoil about Eddie and Bob. I want to care about something more than the love triangle in a book and see something more original, something more real.
Love: Hate to Love
Don’t you love it when two characters start out hating each others’ guts and then end up falling madly in love? I know that I do! Not only is it slightly humorous, but it is also so stinking adorable when it does happen. ESPECIALLY if a good dose of sarcasm is thrown in the mix. For example, Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my favorite hate-to-love relationship. Another book that had a great hate-to-love relationship was Unblemished by Sara Ella (read my review by clicking here). Read it and then we can fangirl together, okay? =)
Dislike: Insecure Girl Meets Prince Charming
This cliché is so common it’s not even funny. We go from a main character thinking that nobody loves them to suddenly meeting their “true love” and then suddenly having extremely high self-esteem levels. In this cliché, characters feel worthless without their love interest. But when Prince Charming comes along, the mirror is no longer as harsh. The critics’ voices become muted. They’re happier. They’re content. They feel worth something, now that someone so wonderful loves them. This is cute, but isn’t this cliché teaching readers to find their worth in what others think of them?
Instead of encouraging readers to find their worth in what the Lord thinks of them and the beautiful people He made them to be, this cliché teaches readers that their worth comes from having a Prince Charming to tell them how lovely they are. Truthfully, our worth comes from the God who created us and loves us more than we can imagine, not a tall, dark and handsome guy.
Love: Romeo and Juliet
What I mean by Romeo and Juliet is FORBIDDEN LOVE. But this cliché does need to meet some conditions for me to love it. For example, I actually have to LIKE the characters. Other conditions include their love being forbidden for a good reason. For example, a family feud is not a good reason to not fall in love. Just saying. Another condition is that I would like for it to have a happy ending (I’m looking at you, Shakesepeare). Please. Happily ever afters make me VERY happy.
What are some romance clichés that you love? What are some that you hate?
Shakespeare was born in the cute English town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and I have schemed and dreamed of visiting. If I ever do get to visit, I plan on bringing a copy of Romeo and Juliet and reading some of my favorite parts in the home of the great bard.
221b Baker Street is the real life address of the famous fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Sherlock Holmes Museum would be so fun to visit–why, I’m sure that one could hear Sherlock shouting at Watson as he rushed out the door to solve another case. “Come, Watson, come, the game is afoot!”
The Emily and Charlotte Brontë have written some of my favorite novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and I am looking forward to reading Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I’m sure that to visit their old home in Haworth would be like stepping into a part of their world.
Jane Austen’s novels Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are two of my favorite novels not only for their characters but also for the immersive Victorian setting. Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire is the only place where Jane Austen lived and wrote that is open to the public. I would love to see a place where Jane Austen wrote and lived! It looks like such a charming house.
This beautiful bookstore in Paris looks like something that was plucked out of a bookworm’s daydreams. It has a fascinating history and shelves upon shelves of books. Something just as cool? You can stay in this bookstore as a Tumbleweed. All one has to do is read a book a day, write a one page autobiography, and help out around the bookstore for a few hours. If that doesn’t sound like something from a novel, I don’t know what does.
Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poets (“Not in Vain” is one of my favorite poems of hers). Her reclusive life is fascinating and her poetry is beautiful and poignant. Just as with the other authors’ former homes, I would love to visit Emily Dickinson’s home to see where she wrote some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever read.
If the famed lions outside this library’s doors don’t fascinate you enough, the Rare Book Division housing rare copies of works such as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and the exhibit housing the original Winnie the Pooh and his friends certainly will. And of course, it’s a LIBRARY. Who wouldn’t want to visit a library?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is probably my favorite book. Orchard House is one of the top places I’d want to visit, as Orchard House is where Louisa wrote Little Women and where Little Women is set.
The Literary Walk in Central Park is home to statues of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Fitz-Greene Halleck, and William Shakespeare. It seems like it would be a good place to meander about and write, to contemplate and dream. And of course, Central Park itself has made several appearances in good books throughout time.
What is a literary landmark that you would like to visit?