Wednesday 13 April 2022

Special kinds of building for romance readers?

 Many romance readers will be familiar with the idea of a trope - there are quite a lot of popular ones. Fairy tales - Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are top ones there - then there's friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, only one bed, runaway bride, marriage of convenience, secret baby ...

It occurred to me, browsing in the library last week, that there are certain types of buildings that seem to be developing trope-like status. There presence on a cover can give a book added shelf appeal. I started on a list:

Beach Huts - The epitome of the English summer? Sea, sand dunes, picnics ...

Old Houses - How many books can you think of that have the word 'House' in the title?  Often there is a mystery - an old family home, an inheritance - and of course a garden, in various states of wildness. (Yes - I'm guilty on that one.) 

Castles - mostly but not exclusively historical romance - probably located in Scotland. Wales has an abundance of them, but they don't seem to feature quite so much. 

Libraries  - comforting, or spooky depending on the nature of the books. And an object of envy for the dedicated reader as well.

Bookshops - a variation on the library? Often offering a new career for the protagonist. 

Bakery/Cafe another career location - a place where people meet, and if there is cake ...

Bed and Breakfast/Guest House - another variation on the career location - the potential for a cast of characters - and you get all the meals. 

Trains - not really a building, but a journey has so many possibilities. Planes and road transport don't seem to have the same allure as a rail journey.  

Water - again, not a building but bodies of water seem to have drawing power - lots of titles involving water - lake, cove, bay, beach. 

What are we looking for when we take these books from the shelf? I'd say it's escapism, potential for an alternative lifestyle that seems attractive - even though we know that in real life the Bookshop/Bakery/B&B would involve hard work. Also you will no doubt have noticed that several of these locations would be as happy hosting cosy crime as romance.  You can take you choice on that  - a corpse or a clinch.

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