Romantic novel: what it is, how it arises, characteristics and most important works


What is the romance novel?

Also known as romance novels, romance novels are literary texts in which the plot revolves around the theme of love, whether it is about impossible love or two lovers who go through various obstacles and in the end manage to be together. The happy ending is usually one of the most important features of this type of texts.

What is the romance novel

In other words, we are talking about a subgenre that develops in the narrative and in which the plot is linked to the feelings of lovers, passionate relationships or other similar scenarios that take place in a story, often extensive, and where the plot usually revolves around a tragedy of any kind.

How did the romance novel come about?

The origin of the romantic novel takes place in Romanticism, a movement we talked about in detail in another of our sections. The emergence of this movement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was of great importance for literary development, emerging initially on the European continent, but with a rapid spread to America. Among its most important characteristics are the idealization of beauty, new spaces for sensibility, the exaltation of nature and subjectivism.

Thus, the romantic novel will take from Romanticism elements such as the emphasis on feelings and sensitivity expressed in loneliness, melancholy, in which subjectivist ideals will be one of the most important focuses.

Literary development of the rose novel

Among the main axes in which the stories of the pink novel are developed, we find that there are pillars that are in which the characters travel, these are love, death and religion, fate may also appear as another of the axes.

Characters of the novel

Often the characters are classified into stereotypes and symbols with a defined personality and sometimes contrary to that of his lover, in the case of the protagonists. They may have a direct or indirect characterization.


The author allows us to see in his novel the era in which the events take place through descriptions of the environments in which the story unfolds. He offers information about rural, urban, present, past, unreal or fictitious environments. In addition to this, it describes an atmosphere of the environment that permeates the entire development of the story.

Most important characteristics of the romance novel

Romantic love

One of the most widespread features in the development of romance novels has to do precisely with the frequency with which the stories revolve around romantic love. However, with the passage of time, this notion has undergone important changes.

Expression of love

Nowadays, mainly, the romantic novel has undergone important transformations around the expression of love. This is because it is no longer about the love that emerges between couples of heterosexual orientation, but rather, in growth, other expressions of love that had been marginalized in literature, at least in this field, such as the expressions of romantic love between homosexual couples, for example.

Plot of the romantic novel

In most cases, the plot of the novel is usually given by a tragedy that mobilizes the development of the story. This tragedy can be represented in the works from an unrequited love, the apparent impossibility of the lovers to meet, the excess of feelings, among other variants.

Happy ending

Most of the time, romance novels reach the denouement of their stories with a happy ending. In this way, a reader interested in this type of texts, reaches the feeling that the lovers who went through various difficulties to meet, will manage to be together until the end of their days, although of course, this is not a rule for all stories.

Use of descriptions

Typical of the narrative genre, the use of descriptions is a key point for the authors of this type of texts. In this case, the author intensifies the use of descriptions so that the reader can get to feel what the characters are experiencing. The use of metaphor has been determinant in this process in which the scenes can be extensive but portray the moment as well as possible to introduce the reader to them.

Good and evil

Another of the most important features that we can identify in this type of texts is the representation of good and evil. In most of the stories, good is represented by people who go through obstacles, often interposed by evil, to receive a reward for their actions and goodness in the end. Thus, evil also has a representation in which it often opposes the meeting of the lovers and which, at the end of the story, involves the imposition of a punishment for their actions.

Presence of subplots

It often happens that in the development of the novel, the authors introduce other plots that, in most cases, are not directly related to the amorous feature, but that strengthen the plot, facilitate the twists in the linearity, among other aspects for which it is essentially necessary.

Most important works of romantic novels

Most important works of romantic novels

Among the most important works of this type of text are: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Anna Karenina by Leon Tolstoy, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, The Bridges of Madison by Robert James Waller, The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Maria by Jorge Isaacs, Amalia by José Mármol, among others.