Elements that I love in Romance Novels
1.Tortured heroes/heroines that overcome their demons in a realistic way and find someone who loves them and respects them despite their infirmities.
3.A pure, true love story at the heart of the romance with a sensuality that evolves out of a deep, lasting connection between the hero and heroine.
4.Lots of interesting secondary characters with potential for their own stories.
5.Great conflict-internal or external.
6.A wonderful, rip-roaring adventure tale intermingled in a beautiful love story.
8.Warriors or ex-warriors
9.Educated, intelligent heroes/heroines who get to solve problems and help people.
10.Pregnancies. I love books that have these! I think it's very much part of the happy ever after fantasy.
11.Men who are great fathers or who are wonderful with their children.
12.Beta heroes. I love them. Caring men who are masculine but not arrogant or overbearing.
13.Cowboy or ranching-type setting. I'm a sucker for a great western.
14.Women who are strong, intelligent, and go outside of the traditional, passive roles. Kick-butt heroines, warriors, horsewomen, women in traditionally male-dominated roles.
15.Family elements intermingled into the plot.
16.A great sense of humor and moments that make you laugh out loud.
17.Great scenery or setting that is slightly exotic or not run of the mill. Asia, Africa, S.America, Islands, Australia, etc
18.Hero and heroine who are complement each other's strengths and weakness and who truly stand by each other and love and support each other.
19.Men who would do anything for the heroine and help her to heal.
20.A great, truly terrifying three dimensional villain with realistic motives
21.Characters who although are not mealy-mouthed and unrealistically virtuous, have a strong sense of moral integrity and honor.
22.Heroes who truly can be faithful to the heroine. Once she's in his life, he sees no other woman.
23.Heroes who have respect for women and truly love them and see them as equals.
24.I love scholarly, bookish characters. They are so sweet. I also like nerdy scientist types.
25.Characters who have a little bit of old-fashioned values about them. Not sexist or narrow-minded though.
26.Small town books with a cast of interesting characters.
27.Books with characters who may not be beautiful or slender. They might be plain or plump. Not fashion model types. And the men that appreciate them.
28.Writers that write different genres but don't turn their back on their genre that they are most known for.
29.Victorian and turn of century setting.
30.Early 20th century setting. WWII.
31.Marriage of convenience or just plain married books.
32.Books that have an element of spirituality or some element of God in them.
33.Books where the characters know they are going to end up together early on.
34.Books where the hero pursues the heroine and means to marry her and have her as his partner early on. He easily acknowledges his love and need for the heroine.
35.Poignant tear jerkers with the oh-so important happy ending.
36.Retellings of old fables, fairy tales or folktales, or movies that give a new spin.
37.A lush sensuality that is rooted in love.
38.British hero in America.
39.Alpha heroes who have respect for their heroine but are protective and possessive.
40.Spy or epsionage books.
41.British set novels:Regency, Victorian, Medieval, etc.
42.Books that celebrate various ethnicities and feature characters of different races in a positive light.
43.Interracial love stories that show positive, committed love relationships.
44.Antiheroes that evolve and have a moment of true heroism or realization of self although they may retain those elements that make them quirky and interesting.
45.When a character who is reviled or treated badly by others gets some sort of acknowledged that they have been wrongly judged.
46.Deep stories that leave you thinking about the book long after you have finished it.
These are the things that make books keepers in my opinion.