A wish list for a romantic setting


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One beautiful thing about romance is that there is something for everyone. Readers can focus on preferred tropes and levels of explicitness, but they can also find ideal settings. Setting is important to me as a reader of romance. I believe there are people who would be happy to read a romance that takes place in an empty room if the tension between the characters was strong enough. Let’s face it, I would read that too. But I love the windows! I love the evocative scriptures that fill the picture in my mind. And I look forward to appreciating the research an author has done to situate their story in a particular professional, geographic or historical context. I bring all my curious being to my romance reading life, after all.

A recent article here on Book Riot on Cozy Mystery Settings got me thinking about romance. The range of cozy mysteries is quite delicious. For example, I will never forget to stumble upon a copy of Gourd, a cozy room centered on the world of decorative craftsmanship of the gourd (it’s the season !). But CJ’s article makes excellent points about the gaps in the offers.

Romance, well, that always fills in the gaps. (Sorry, not sorry.) When I started to whip up romantic sets that I thought were super intriguing, I discovered that a lot of them already exist! I’m going to have to read a few before going to recommend any of these conclusions. And some ideas that I kept in my pocket, because I’m also working on my own love projects. But here’s my romance wishlist. If you decide to write any of them drop me a little thank you in the acknowledgments, but more importantly let me know so I can read it!

More romances in varied historical contexts

The Lotus Palace, a mysterious romance set in Tang Dynasty China, is the living story of a scholar and a maid trying to solve a murder. It is a book that brings together two complex and richly drawn characters in a detailed and fascinating historical setting. And I want more! With the learned angle only, imagine what is possible. I would absolutely devour a romance set in medieval Mali at the University of Timbuktu. Or a story of the Timurid Renaissance that brings the Silk Road epicenter of Samarkand to life. Of course, there are still fresh stories from the Regency and Victorian England, as well as more unusual historical romances. But we historical readers deserve more.

A romantic setting at Disneyland

With the beginnings of If the shoe fits, an officially sanctioned romance by Disney, why not broaden the horizons? There are romances that take place in theme parks, but people have such a strong emotional connection to the specifics of Disneyland. Imagine the thigh grips of the Tower of Terror. Imagine the smooch that could happen when Space Mountain goes down and people are stuck in the dark for a while. And how sweet it would be to smooch if our couple still smelled like churros and Dole Whip.

A romance set in a game show

If we are talking about intellectual property licensing, let’s see Danger! to sign it too. Can you imagine the love story that could emerge from a Danger! Game? Perhaps two people get tied scores and appear on the air several days in a row, capturing the nation’s imagination. Or maybe two former high school rivals finally clash decades later in the ultimate intelligence test. Rivals to Lovers, a variation on Enemies to Lovers, is a delicious trope, after all. Plus, anyone who enjoys cheesy romances will find a lot to enjoy.

A romance on a submersible on the high seas

Talk about forced proximity. People who explore the depths of the ocean in search of mysterious life or wrecks are inherently fascinating to me. A romance on such a ship would be so interesting and fun. One of the challenges would be the lack of privacy, as love interests are presumably heavily watched by the crew at sea level. I imagine our lovebirds come up with inventive ways to secretly flirt or perhaps create a diversion. that would give them time on their own.

A romance set at a sheep and wool festival

Alright, this one is fresh in my head because I went to the New York sheep and wool festival in October, my almost annual pilgrimage to the heart of everything woolly. There are so many interesting and quirky characters at such an event: sheep herders, food vendors, yarn vendors, and dedicated artisans. I’d die from a cute encounter at a spinning wheel auction. I would swoon for a gruff farmer who raises the sweetest sheep. Cider donuts, fall leaves, soft sweaters: this concept has all the vibes of fall. It has to be a whole series, actually.

I could really go on. But what’s on your romance wishlist? Do some research, like I did, because your idea may have already been realized! If not, it’s probably time to think about tropes and get ready. I’ll be there to make a mood board for this sheep and wool series.

For more romance, check out this list of books similar to The principle of the heart, six reasons why romance novels (and readers!)


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