In this week’s Romance Chart, Women’s Fiction and Romance with strong ties to it appears to be among the most powerful trends. But there are many different niches, trends, and tropes catching the eye of readers.
Women’s Fiction is notable for the tropes of women finding their place in the world, or going out and looking for it. Often they feature a moment of trauma or great change, after which the (generally female) protagonist goes on a journey, sometimes physical, almost always emotional. Often, on these journeys there is a Romance. Sometimes the two people who meet are completely new to one another, but there is a continuing trend of Second Chance stories, usually where the heroine returns to a childhood setting with a new view on it brought about by what she has experienced in her life since she left. Funnily enough, two books are titled and themed around dresses, specifically wedding dresses, which is an interesting trend. This might be being helped by the American “Wedding Season” being upon us, influencing the choice of readers.
Also popular this week are books centred around Fake Relationships or Relationships of Convenience. These are typically combined with one or more other tropes, such as in, My Brother’s Billionaire Best Friend, by Max Monroe. There are also a lot of books centred around the plot point of family or school reunions, where people feel the need to hide their single status with a false significant other. These typically also tie in with Holiday Romances and Employer/Employee Relationships. The latter is a particular favourite for Fake Relationships and Relationships of Convenience.
Elements of Paranormal Romance and, in particular, Shape Shifter Romance, are very popular this week. There are numerous books with werewolves as the heroes and typically these have an Alpha Male Hero, and a weaker or vulnerable female character. Some of these books also have Omegaverse characteristics, as well as Reverse Harems or Menage tropes. Fated Mates, Chosen Mates, and similar niches are always popular here, as are Hunting, Abduction Fantasies. In this category, there is a steady number of Magical Academy niche books, and it is clear that this trend is not likely to disappear any time soon.
Interestingly, what does seem to have disappeared, or at least shrunk to negligible levels, is the presence of Vampire novels or books featuring Angels or Demons. In fact, taking a lot of the space that might have been allowed for this style of book have instead been given over to Science Fiction Romance. Often the plots are quite similar, with Alpha Male Warriors, and similar tropes being put to use in this other niche. Some of the tropes that are popular in this niche this week are Enemies to Lovers, Capture Fantasies, and Invasion Fantasies. Usualy these books also incorporate some sort of Dark Romance into the plot, as well as BDSM elements and sometimes Chosen or Fated Mates.
Dark Romance, some featuring Mafia or Criminal Alpha Males as the Hero, is also very popular this week. Stasia Black’s series continues to pull in the readers for her own brand of Dark Romance featuring Mafia Heroes and also Marriages of Convenience, especially ones based on deals made between the characters while the heroine is in a vulnerable position and could be seen as being under the power of the hero. These usually have BDSM in some form as well, as well as Pregnancy Kink.
Many of the books on the Romance Best Seller’s list are not, strictly speaking, Romance novels. Instead, they are books in other genres which have a sub-plot of Romance which has led to them being included. This means that there are a lot of Mystery, Thriller and Suspense, books on the list due to the genres overall popularity. Plus, a lot of Science Fiction books with Romantic Sub-Plots are doing well.
This seems to show that readers are more eclectic in their focus on trends and niches this week than they have been for some time. It is possible that there has not been a specific theme to catch their eye, or it might mean that due to the Summer Slump the readers who normally focus on one or another niche have had their attention called away and so the charts are being filled with books from a less focused group. Whatever the reason is, it is hard to say that there is a winning niche of the week.
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