My Romance Wishlist: Things I Want to See More of in Romance Novels

Carolina Ciucci


Carolina Ciucci is a teacher, writer and reviewer based in the south of Argentina. She hoards books like they’re going out of style. In case of emergency, you can summon her by talking about Ireland, fictional witches, and the Brontë family. Twitter: @carolinabeci

A few weeks ago, fellow Rioter Jessica Tripler wrote an awesome post about the romance tropes she’s (so) over. After laughing for a good ten minutes, I started thinking of the things I’d like to see more of. Genre fiction can often be formulaic, romance in particular. And, in general, I have no problems with that. In fact, I enjoy it. But sometimes, I wish more romance writers would take some risks. I present to you, my romance wishlist: these are some things I want to see more of in romance novels.

The heroine doesn’t want kids – and she doesn’t have them!

Oh, man. This happens so rarely. More often than not, the heroine either already wants kids or she doesn’t want them at first but it all changes when she meets her One True Love. Because surely no woman (or relationship) is complete without 2.5 kids and a dog. Right.

Look, some of my favorite romance heroines are women who genuinely want to have children. But it’d be nice to have some variety. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one romance novel I’ve read recently where the woman doesn’t want kids, the man decides he loves her enough to accept that, and they go their merry way together. When I got to the epilogue, set four years later, and saw that she still didn’t want them despite being now happily married to her guy, I felt like I had struck romance novel gold. It’s 2016. We shouldn’t have to be so surprised by this.

The heroine does want kids, and she and her partner consider adoption without it being a last resort

There are so many stories out there about couples who only consider adoption when: a) they’re physically unable to have children together, whether out of fertility issues or because they’re a same-gender couple (to my – admittedly lacking – knowledge, this one isn’t all that common either, and hell yes, I would welcome more of it); or b) one of the main characters has a kid from a previous relationship, and the other MC adopts that child when they get together. And my question is, why?

I would love to read a story about people who consider adoption to be a possibility straight off, as soon as they start talking about having children. There are so many kids out there who need a family, and would enrich the one they became a part of – wouldn’t it be lovely to read about a couple that wants kids and decides to go down the adoption route because it’s the right choice for them, and not because biological children are not an option?

They’ve been in love with other people… who didn’t turn out to be evil

I don’t doubt that there are people in their thirties who have never been in a serious relationship or been genuinely in love before meeting ~The One (of which there is often more than one, kthx.) But those people are few and far in between. I want more romance novels where the characters fall in love (not for the first time) and embark on a serious relationship (again not for the first time). It’s just that now they’re mature enough, they’re more compatible and the timing is right. The exes they were once in love with? They are not evil. They just grew apart.

They talk about their issues – before the Big Confrontation

I’m just saying. The average main character in a romance novel is in their late 20s, early 30s. They have successful careers, strong friendships and are often leadership material. Wouldn’t you think the communicational skills needed to cultivate those areas of their lives would translate to their romantic relationships as well? I realize that feelings can cloud the intellect, I do. But supposedly, if you have the presence of mind to mend a rift with a friend or maintain a cordial relationship with that one co-worker you can’t stand, you should be able to sit down and have an actual conversation with the person you’re dating before the situation degenerates into a shouting contest that does nothing but make you both miserable, and me bored. More talking, please!

How about you, guys? What would you include in your own romance wishlist?