Below is a comprehensive list of romance genres. Romantic Fiction is a broad genre of literature that focuses on the development and portrayal of romantic relationships. It encompasses a wide range of subgenres and styles, but the common thread is the central focus on love and emotional connections between characters. Romantic fiction can include elements of drama, adventure, fantasy, or mystery, but the primary emphasis is on the romantic journey and the emotional growth and fulfillment of the characters involved.
Here is a list of popular romance sub-genres, along with short definitions for each one:
Contemporary Romance: Set in the present time, these stories focus on romantic relationships unfolding in modern settings.
Historical Romance: These stories are set in the past, typically featuring romantic relationships in historical time periods. Examples include Regency romance, Victorian romance, Viking romance, and Medieval romance.
Regency Romances: Set in the early 19th century, regency romances typically revolve around the social customs, etiquette, and romantic relationships of the British Regency era, made famous by authors like Jane Austen.
Western Romances: Set in the American West during the 19th century, western romances feature romantic relationships against the backdrop of frontier life, cowboys, and the challenges of the Wild West.
Paranormal Romance: Often involving supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves, demons, angels, or witches, paranormal romance focuses on romantic relationships in worlds where paranormal elements and fantasy are integral to the plot. Often referred to alongside speculative fiction.
Vampire Romances: Vampire romances feature romantic relationships involving vampires as central characters, exploring the complexities and forbidden nature of love between humans and vampires.
Werewolf & Shifter Romance: These stories involve romantic relationships with characters who can transform into werewolves, shapeshifters, or other animal forms, exploring themes of fated mates and primal desires.
Monster Romance: A type of paranormal romance that features a monster-influenced hero or heroine, especially those who don’t fall into other paranormal or sci-fi categories (like, for example, aliens or shifters).
Romantic Comedy: Light-hearted and humorous, romantic comedies emphasize the comedic elements while developing romantic relationships as the central theme.
Erotic Romance: These stories involve explicit and steamy romantic relationships, often exploring themes of sexuality and desire in detail.
Young Adult Romance: Tailored for a teenage audience, young adult romance follows teenage protagonists as they navigate love, relationships, and coming-of-age experiences.
New Adult & College Romance: Targeted toward younger adult readers, new adult and college romance follows characters in the transitional stage between adolescence and adulthood, featuring romantic relationships set in college or early adult life.
Paranormal Women’s Fiction Romance: Paranormal women’s fiction combines elements of paranormal or supernatural elements with women’s fiction, focusing on the personal growth and empowerment of the female protagonist. These stories often feature women going through a life transition or rediscovery, with the paranormal elements adding an additional layer of excitement and self-discovery to the narrative. Depending on the source, it can be defined as having 35+ or 40+ heroines.
Inspirational Romance: Rooted in faith and spirituality, these stories often involve characters who find love and connection while embracing their religious or inspirational values.
Fantasy Romance: Blending elements of fantasy and romance, these stories take place in fantastical worlds, featuring magic, mythical creatures, and epic adventures alongside romantic relationships.
Urban Fantasy Romance: Urban fantasy romances blend the excitement of urban settings with the enchantment of fantasy elements, creating a unique backdrop for passionate love stories.
High Fantasy Romance: High fantasy romance is set in a fully fictional world with its own unique rules, cultures, and magic systems. In high fantasy romances, readers are transported to enchanting realms filled with mythical creatures, epic quests, and larger-than-life heroes and heroines. These stories often revolve around the struggle of overcoming great challenges, discovering destinies, and finding love in the midst of fantastical adventures. High fantasy romances offer an immersive escape into a world of magic, where love blossoms amidst epic battles and ancient prophecies.
Science Fiction / Sci-Fi Romance: Combining elements of science fiction and romance, these stories take place in futuristic or otherworldly settings, often featuring advanced technology and space exploration alongside romantic relationships.
Alien Romance: Sci-Fi Romances featuring aliens, whether visiting Earth or taking place in spaceships or on other planets.
Dark Romance: Dark romance is a subgenre characterized by intense and often taboo themes, featuring complex relationships that explore dark and psychological elements. It typically involves morally ambiguous, morally gray, or morally flawed characters and may explore themes of power dynamics, obsession, or unconventional love.
Suspense/Thriller Romance: Combining suspense and romance, these stories involve romantic relationships set against a backdrop of danger, mystery, and suspenseful plotlines.
Disabled-Identifying Romances: Romance Books Featuring Disabled-Identifying Protagonists Or Love Interests. One or both main characters will identify as having a disability.
LGBTQ+ Romance: These stories focus on romantic relationships involving characters from the LGBTQ+ community, highlighting diverse experiences and love stories.
Later in Life Romance: Also known as “silver fox” romance, these stories focus on romantic relationships between mature characters who are typically older and have experienced life’s ups and downs.
Action & Adventure Romance: These stories blend romance with thrilling action and adventure, featuring high-stakes situations, danger, and excitement alongside the development of romantic relationships.
BIPOC Romance: BIPOC Romance refers to romance stories that prioritize and center the experiences, perspectives, and romantic relationships of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) protagonists. These stories explore love, connection, and intimacy within diverse communities, highlighting the richness and diversity of BIPOC experiences, cultures, and identities.
Multicultural Romances: These stories highlight romantic relationships between characters from diverse cultural backgrounds, focusing on the challenges and joys of love across cultures or interracial relationships.
Billionaire Romance: Often falling under the category of contemporary romance, billionaire romance stories feature wealthy protagonists and emphasize the dynamics of love and romance in a lavish and affluent lifestyle.
Clean & Wholesome Romance: Clean and wholesome romance focuses on the development of romantic relationships without explicit content or graphic scenes, providing uplifting and heartwarming stories suitable for a wide range of readers.
Cozy Romance: Cozy romance, also known as sweet romance, focuses on heartwarming and light-hearted stories that prioritize the development of loving and wholesome relationships. These stories typically have a low level of conflict and explicit content, providing readers with a comforting and feel-good reading experience.
Gothic Romances: Inspired by the classic gothic literature tradition, these romances often take place in dark and mysterious settings, featuring brooding heroes, damsels in distress, and elements of suspense and the supernatural.
Holiday Romance: Holiday romances are set during specific holidays or festive seasons and revolve around romantic relationships that blossom amid the backdrop of holiday celebrations and traditions.
Medical Romance: These stories focus on romance within the medical field, involving doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals and highlighting the challenges and joys of love amidst the demands of their careers.
Military Romance: Military romance features characters involved in the military, such as soldiers, veterans, or military spouses, and explores the complexities of romantic relationships in the context of service to their country.
Sports Romance: Sports romance revolves around romantic relationships involving characters who are athletes or involved in the sports industry, highlighting the passion and dynamics of love in the context of sports.
Time Travel Romances: These stories involve characters who travel through time, often (not always) finding love and navigating romantic relationships across different time periods.
Romance Fiction Writing Reference: This sub-genre refers to nonfiction books or resources that provide guidance and advice for aspiring romance writers, offering tips, techniques, and insights into crafting successful romance stories.
Rockstar Romance: Rockstar romance revolves around romantic relationships involving characters who are musicians or involved in the music industry, portraying the allure and challenges of love in the world of rock and roll.
Mafia Romance: Mafia romance is a subgenre of romance that revolves around romantic relationships involving characters affiliated with organized crime or mafia families. These stories often explore the dangerous and forbidden nature of love between individuals who are immersed in a world of violence, secrecy, and power struggles. Mafia romances typically involve themes of redemption, loyalty, and the complexities of navigating relationships within a criminal underworld.
It’s important to note that these sub-genres can overlap and there are many other romance sub-genres that exist. Additionally, individual books may defy strict categorization and blend elements from multiple sub-genres.
Do you have a favorite genre? Think we missed one? Let us know below!
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