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Yesterday I posted my three least favorite book tropes. But I’m a positive person, so I also want to share my favorite book tropes!
Enemies to lovers.
The best-known example of this trope in fiction is Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I love the romantic and sexual tension that arises from it, the “who will break first?” of this trope. I love the tiny cracks in the armor of hatred that show the characters’ true feelings, the way they notice the other is attractive but “no, it doesn’t matter because he/she is a jerk.” It heightens the stakes of whatever other conflict is going on in a story, and the payoff when these characters have an epiphany and finally admit their feelings is much greater than it would be otherwise.
As you can probably tell, I’m a book nerd. I’m a nerd in a lot of other senses, too (just ask me to talk about Star Wars sometime), but my original nerdiness came from my intense and lifelong love of books. So, a story centered around books, whether the main character is also a book nerd, or the story takes place in a bookshop, etc., is playing directly to one of my passions. The presence of this trope in fiction allows me to forgive small flaws in a story, because I love it so much. I surround myself with books in my home, and being surrounded by books within a novel is similarly comforting and familiar. An example of a book like this is The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson, which I reviewed in this post.
A grouchy adult whose life is changed by their love for a child.
Both my favorite book and my favorite book series are excellent examples of this trope in fiction. In Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, it’s Jean Valjean’s love for Cosette, and in the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, it’s Marilla’s love for Anne.
In Jean Valjean’s case, he learns love, tenderness, and forgiveness through Cosette’s presence in his life. His love for Cosette mitigates his bitterness for the unfairness and suffering the world has served him, and completes his redemption arc. He is able to care for this child the way he tried and failed to care for his sister’s nine lost children.
In Marilla Cuthbert’s case, her love for Anne allows affection, imagination, adventure, and laughter into her previously drab life. Marilla’s romantic arc is completed in Anne, as Marilla was once courted by Gilbert Blythe’s father, John, but quarreled with him and lost him. Anne quarreled with Gilbert for years, but eventually became his friend and later married him.
These are three of my favorite book tropes. Leave your personal favorites in the comments below!