I just read an article about a study of Mills and Boon (Harlequin) romance titles. It suggested that the prevalence of certain words in the titles revealed women’s key desires. Therefore Doctor, Baby, Marriage. It’s like a romance workflow. But I noticed something missing, a word I keep seeing in romance titles: convenient.
Does the study find this to be a far less frequently-used word and therefore not significant?
I sort of hope so, because who wants to think their heart’s desire is to be convenient? Side note; I once commented on an acquaintance’s new girlfriend (I mean, I commented it was nice he had a new girlfriend) and he waved a hand and said, Yeah, it’s convenient. Boy. What a catch. Let’s hope she found him equally convenient.
So being convenient is not on anyone’s serious wishlist, is it? The Convenient Bride is part of the highly popular Fake Marriage trope, and the deal is that although two people enter into a deal for reasons other than love, soon they find that they do in fact care for each other and luckily are already married. I personally love this trope and can’t get enough of it. Pretending to be a friend’s date for a wedding, getting engaged to save an inheritance, faking a marriage to get a green card/ job promotion / prom picture – I’ve seen it all. And in every case, the couple end up madly in love.
It’s odd though, this sideways-sneak into marriage. Related to convenient in romance titles are on paper and in name only. It’s all about fakery and secrets (good for storytelling) but if you encountered this in real life you would probably report it to someone. Like Immigration, and whoever makes sure that Dukes aren’t just marrying to save their estate.
Is this just part of the big fantasy world that romance novels must exist in? I’m not sure. But if you search for convenient at the Mills and Boon website right now you get 544 results. So whatever the reason, it’s not going anywhere soon.
Here’s the article if you want to take a look.
And have I mentioned the excellent podcast – Smart Bitches, Trashy Books? if not, I’m mentioning it now. Tons of author interviews, shedloads of recommendations, and some pretty deep diving, pun intended, into all kinds of romance. No niche subgenre, no pairing is left out. It’s no-holds-barred and a lot of fun. And there’s a fantastic transcript if you are listening on the go and can’t jot down the book recs. I recommend it.
If you want a romantic title of your own, try my Romance Title Generator. Still this blog’s most popular page!
What do you think about the convenience trope? Cute or creepy? Let me know if the comments!