What makes a great romance novel?

romance books


We just love a good romance novel, it is the literary equivalent of a warm hug on a rainy day or a cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace. They have the uncanny ability to whisk us away to worlds of passion, intrigue, and heart-fluttering emotions. There is always a bit of excitement in the air when we have chosen to feature a romance - hunting down the perfect gifts, the anticipation of packing and shipping our book subscription boxes

With August being Read-a-Romance month it got us wondering what truly sets a great romance novel apart from the rest? Is it the swoon-worthy characters, the electric chemistry, or the enchanting settings? We just couldn’t help but take a look at what makes a romance novel irresistible, heartwarming, and simply unforgettable.

Irresistible chemistry

At the core of every great romance novel lies an undeniable chemistry between the main characters. The palpable tension, witty banter, and stolen glances create a magnetic pull that keeps us turning pages. Whether it's the classic enemies-to-lovers trope, the slow-burn romance, or the instant connection between soulmates, it's the chemistry that sparks the fire in our hearts and leaves us yearning for more.

Multifaceted characters

A romance novel without well-rounded characters is like a love story without a heart. Readers want characters who are relatable, flawed, and unique, each with their strengths and vulnerabilities. Watching them grow, conquer their fears, and become better versions of themselves is what makes us invested in their love story. Whether it's a sassy and independent heroine or a brooding and mysterious hero, the characters should feel like old friends we'd love to meet for coffee.

An emotional rollercoaster

Love is not all sunshine and rainbows—it's messy, emotional, and sometimes heart-wrenching. A great romance novel embraces the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with falling in love. It should make us laugh, cry, and experience a whirlwind of feelings alongside the characters. Happy tears, heartache, and belly laughs—we want it all!

Captivating settings

Romance novels have the magical ability to transport us to enchanting worlds that exist only in the author's imagination. From picturesque countryside estates to bustling city streets or even mythical realms, the setting should enhance the romance and make us long to be a part of that universe. After all, who wouldn't want to escape to a dreamy destination and witness a love story unfold amidst stunning scenery?

A dash of conflict

Romantic tension and conflict are the yeast that makes the dough rise in a romance novel. It's not just about the 'happily ever after'; it's about the journey to get there. Misunderstandings, external obstacles, and internal struggles keep us at the edge of our seats, rooting for the characters to overcome their challenges and find their way back to each other. 

Conflict may seem like a wrench in the gears, but it's the spice that gives a romance novel its unique flavor. With the impact of the Bridgerton series still fresh in our minds, we know how essential conflict is to make the romance truly captivating.

Quirky side characters

While the main couple takes center stage, it's often the quirky and lovable side characters who add depth and charm to the story. The best friends who offer unwavering support, the meddlesome but well-meaning aunt, or the adorable pet with a personality of its own—these characters breathe life into the narrative, making it even more engaging.

A sprinkle of humor

Laughter truly is the best medicine, even in the world of romance. Humor lightens the mood, helps us connect with the characters, and brings a smile to our faces during tender or tense moments. A well-timed witty remark or a comical situation can turn a good romance novel into a great one. 

Our The Life That Got Away February Box with Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn brought not just love but laughter into our hearts, reminding us why humor is a must-have in any romance story.


When we look back at some of our favorites, like our  Romantasy Box, which featured a special edition of The North Wind by Alexandria Warwick - plus we had so much fun selecting those OUABC famous gifts that bring books to life! 

In the end, what makes a great romance novel is the ability to make our hearts race, our emotions soar, and our spirits lift. It's the delightful blend of sizzling chemistry, well-developed characters, emotional rollercoasters, captivating settings, clever conflicts, endearing side characters, and a sprinkle of humor that keeps us hooked until the last page. 

So, whether you're a hopeless romantic or a skeptic, pick up a romance novel and let yourself be swept away on a journey of love, passion, and all the beautiful messiness that comes with it! After all, August is Read-a-Romance month! 

We would love to hear about your favorite romance novels and authors - drop us a note in the comments section below! Here are some of our team’s favorites!

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