My husband asked me today why romance novels are so popular. He asked me if it was because of the sex scenes. I told him I was sure that other people had their own reasons for liking them, but for me the popularity is because they talk about a lot of the things that most women want.
Most of the romance novels I read have the same template for characters and their interactions with each other with some variations according to the plot, and the plots are often very fun to read. Here is the typical scenario. The main female character is intelligent, attractive, and very capable of taking care of herself except for the regulations that society has placed on her. If you watched the first season of the Bridgerton series, The Duke and I, you might remember when Daphne explains her situation to her brother Anthony by saying that her brothers have options. They can become an artist, travel the world, or do what they love, but the only option for her is to get married and have babies, and if she does not, society casts her aside, and she is ruined. There are still some stigmas attached to women who don’t follow the traditional path, so we can relate to the struggle the women in the stories have.
Although both main characters have no intention of falling in love, they are drawn to each other, and gradually build a relationship where they want to be with each other forever. One or both also have a family who is loyal to the bone, and who welcomes the new love into the family with open arms. Someone has to help the other overcome an obstacle and it is done in spectacular fashion.
Let me tell you what parts of that translate to what a woman wants.
Beauty is highly valued in our society but imagine when a man appreciates a woman for more than that. A woman wants to know that she can have great conversations with someone, and her partner will listen and respect the opinion offered.
A woman likes to be taken care of, but she also wants her partner to know she is strong enough to take care of herself. She doesn’t want to be taken for granted. The men in romance novels stand up for their women no matter what.
Most people want the relationship where both partners are committed to each other and are so content in love. Relationships can be tricky, so it’s nice to see some that seem unbreakable.
I enjoy the stories where the entire family shows up to solve the conflict. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by a tribe of love that are determined to have your back?
Women can be hateful to each other, and there is usually a situation in the book where a woman is trying to undermine someone good, and one of the main characters finds a way to fix the situation.
Women want the happily ever after with a partner who is totally devoted.