[[caption-width-right:304:This genre features plenty of CostumePorn, and actual porn.]]

A genre of {{literature}} that has become popular starting in the early 20th century and by the end of the century did much to suppress all other meanings of {{Romance}}. While romantic subplots have existed in fiction since fairly close to the beginning, romance as a focal point and driving force hadn't really been explored in depth until the last few centuries. Romance novels as an industry started in TheThirties with the company of Mills and Boon releasing hardcover romance novels. The genre changed significantly with the distribution of ''Literature/TheFlameAndTheFlower'', which is noteworthy for showing that buyers of romance novels are more than happy to read about sex. Because of the single requirement required for a book to be a Romance (a HappilyEverAfter) many different genres have been incorporated into subgenres, such as Historical Romance, ParanormalRomance and even MilitaryFiction.

While [[SubvertedTrope subversions]], [[AvertedTrope aversions]], [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructions]], and [[TheParody parodies]] exist, most romance novels are [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism fairly idealistic]] and end HappilyEverAfter.

A couple of companies such as Harlequin (Mills and Boon in the U.K.) have started a business model of releasing relatively short (~55,000 words), StrictlyFormula paperbacks. These are known as "category" or "series" romances because they are divided into series, each of which has its own requirements for setting, tone, and level of sensuality and is visually distinguishable by consistent cover design. [[labelnote:Examples]]The Harlequin Presents line focuses on glitzy settings and wealthy, often foreign heroes, and has the cover art framed in a circle against a white background. The Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical line consists of inspirational (i.e., Christian) historicals and has the series logo on a maroon band across the top. The Silhouette Special Edition line has contemporary settings and, often, career-woman heroines, and has the logo in a curved blue band down the left side of the cover.[[/labelnote]] It's usually these that most people think of when the genre is brought up. Almost all listed authors of such books are female, although many are written by men using [[MoustacheDePlume female pseudonyms]], since the [[EstrogenBrigade reader base]] expects the author to be a woman. Also, the main character is usually female; some authors include a lot of writing from the point of view of the hero, but ones exclusively from his perspective are rare or nonexistent. Except for male/male romances, that is -- also frequently read by [[YaoiFangirls women]].

"Single title" romances -- those released as standalones rather than associated with a category -- are usually longer, sometimes come out in hardcover, and have more overlap with mainstream fiction. Particularly successful series romance writers often move up to writing books of this type.

The genre has always experienced a lot of stigma, generally getting critically dismissed as "not literature" for most of its existence. They are often derisively known as "bodice-rippers" (particularly the historic ones) or "trashy romance novels" though it's obviously a stereotype that they all have [[CoitusEnsues gratuitous sex scenes]]. Some cynical souls have observed that the stereotypical 'romance' book or movie shares a trait with most porn fiction, in that both stories end ''before'' the point where the natural consequences of the foolish or irrational choices and actions of the characters would arise.

For tropes popular within Romance Novels, see RomanceNovelTropes. ParanormalRomance is a subgenre. See also RomanceGame, for Romance {{Visual Novel}}s.
!!Examples of the genre (ParanormalRomance is on its own page):
* ''Literature/AbramsDaughters'' series
* ''Literature/AddictedSeries''
* ''Literature/TheAlienSeries''
* ''Literature/AllAmericanGirl''
* ''Literature/AvalonHigh ''
* ''Literature/{{Beastly}}''
* ''Literature/TheBedwynSaga''
* ''Literature/BoyMeetsGirl''
* ''Literature/TheBlueCastle''
* ''Literature/TheBridgesOfMadisonCounty''
* ''Literature/BrokenLoveSeries''
* ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' (fantasy with romance plot)
* ''Literature/TheChesapeakeBaySaga''
* ''Literature/TheComfortableCourtesan''
* Most books by Creator/DanielleSteel
* ''Literature/EarthsChildren'' series
* ''Literature/{{Emma}}''
* ''Literature/TheFaith''
* ''Literature/FakingIt''
* ''Literature/FiftyShadesOfGrey''
* ''Literature/FindingGaia''
* ''Literature/FindingSnowflakes''
* ''Literature/TheFlameAndTheFlower''
* ''Literature/TheGargoyle''
* ''Literature/GentlemenPreferBlondes''
%%* ''[[GirlVsBoy Girl vs. Boy]]''
* ''Literature/GivesLight''
* Most books by Creator/GeorgetteHeyer
* ''Literature/HighFidelity''
%%* ''[[IfIHaveAWickedStepmotherWheresMyPrince If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?]]''
* ''Literature/ImminentDangerAndHowToFlyStraightIntoIt''
* ''Literature/TheFatalDream''
* ''Literature/JaneEyre''
* ''Literature/KeepingYouASecret''
* ''Literature/TheLastSong''
* ''Literature/LetItSnow''
* ''Literature/LoveInANutshell''
* ''Literature/LowlandsOfScotlandSeries''
* The novels of Creator/MadeleineBrent
* ''Literature/MaraDaughterOfTheNile''
* ''Literature/AMatchMadeInHighSchool''
* ''Literature/MistressOfMyFate''
* ''Film/NickAndNorahsInfinitePlaylist''
* ''Film/TheNotebook''
* ''Literature/{{Outlander}}'' series
* ''Literature/ParasiteEve''
* ''Literature/PassageToNovember''
* ''Literature/{{Persuasion}}''
* ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice''
* ''Literature/APromiseOfRoses''
* ''Literature/QueenOfBabble''
* ''Literature/RedeemingLove''
* ''Literature/ReturnToSender''
* ''Literature/TheRifter'' (a fantasy novel with particularly strong romance elements)
* ''Literature/SavingCharlie'' (a ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' TieInNovel focusing on the relationship between Hiro and Charlie)
* ''Literature/SenseAndSensibility''
* ''Literature/TheSharingKnife''
* ''Literature/TheSheik''
* ''Literature/SholanAlliance series''
* All three books so far by ''Creator/SimonaAhrnstedt''
* ''Literature/SorceryAndCecelia''
* ''Literature/TheSoundOfWaves''
* ''Literature/TairenSoul series''
* ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms''
* ''Literature/TeenIdol''
* ''Literature/TheBoss''
* ''Literature/TheThornBirds''
* ''Literature/TheTimeTravelersWife''
%%* ''ThisMustBeLove''
* ''Literature/{{Troubleshooters}} series''
* ''Literature/TwoByTwo''
* ''Literature/WetGoddess'' (man x dolphin)
* ''Literature/WolfeBrothersSaga
* ''Literature/{{Overenskommelser}}''