Taboo romance tropes are and have always been a favorite of mine. There is an allure to wanting something you can’t have. Stories filled with drama, intrigue and temptation are my guilty pleasure. As a reader, a vast amount of my books includes at least one taboo trope in some form or another. I enjoy the high stakes the main leads must face as they try to overcome what separates them. Even my fiction includes a combination of several of these tropes.
Before the month of February ends, below is a list of my favorite taboo romance tropes. There are a plethora of other tropes I enjoy, but to list them all would be too long. Instead, I want to give a small introduction to both my writing interests and story preferences.
Whether it spans multiple books, or just in stand-alone, the main leads gradually and naturally fall in love before they begin a romantic or sexual relationship. There is an excitement in the subtlety and temptation. The actions and reactions as the romance unfolds increases the intrigue and mystery on the relationship’s progression. It’s a slow and winding journey, filled with arcs of waiting and angst until it snowballs into something that seems beyond the characters’ control. The excitement of a slow burn romance comes from the pages of conflict and tension, both emotionally and sexually, that eventually pays off when the main leads confirm their love for each other in the climax.
Sometimes it is three characters vying for the same main lead or two characters experiencing one—sided love as the main leads become a couple. Whatever the circumstance, the romance between these four leads are messy and complicated. A love square romance can break the rules of the love triangle trope. Each main lead has a rival for their love interest. Sometimes, even the secondary leads find a new romance with others or even with each other.
Forbidden Love / Secret Romance
Whether is cultural, familial, social, etc., an outside force forbids the main leads from being together. Despite whatever is keeping the lovers apart, the main leads fight to be together in some shape or form. Most of my fictional works centers on the themes of familial, social and/or cultural romance. For the main leads, it’s a battleground where they must defy their social conditioning or submit to its rule.
Older / Younger
The age gap can be substantial by a few months or by a few years. Whatever the reason, one lover is older and the other is younger. One lover, most often than not the older one, will never let the other forget the differences in their age and/or maturity. Despite their age gap, the couple realize they’ve developed romantic feelings for each other and seek to defy the social norms that would keep them apart otherwise.
One lover comes from money and/or social status, the other lacks one or both. Class warfare often intertwines with other taboos such as forbidden love, enemies to lovers, marriages of convenience, etc. Like forbidden romance, the main leads fight against not only their social conditioning but also against those who conspire to keep the lovers apart and the status quo unchanged.