If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, I’m sure you realise that I adore the enemies to lovers romance trope. There’s just something about two people who hate each other — really despise one another — who spend time together and slowly — so slowly — begin to develop romantic feelings. It’s usually reluctant — one or both of the characters fight their growing attraction — but as the walls break down between them, they succumb to their feelings and finally — finally — allow themselves to fall in love.
Oh boy, I’m blushing just thinking about it.
I wanted to talk about the reasons why I love the enemies to lovers trope and why I think it’s the best romance trope out there. I do have a soft spot for friends to lovers, but, let’s be honest, enemies to lovers wins out every single time.
Below is a list of reasons why enemies to lovers is the superior romance trope.
In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger.
Ohhhhhhh, the slow-burn in enemies to lovers romance is incredible. Because the love interests hate each other so much, oftentimes it can take a good 50-60% of the book (or even multiple books) for them to even kiss! It’s a powerful build-up and, not to forget, it’s super believable. I’ve always been the type of person who wants believability in their romance, which is why I hate insta-love — but enemies to lovers drags out the romance to the point where the reader is screaming and/or crying on the floor.
When you have two characters that really despise each other, getting all up in each others business, it can get … tense. What’s that common idiom? Love and hate are two sides of the same coin? Well when you combine hate and budding romance, you’re left with a lot of tension — sexual, romantic, dramatic. It’s a heady mix and ups reader’s anticipation for when the characters finally make out or admit their feelings.
So you’re reading this 300-page romance book or a three book series and you’re on the very edge of your seat waiting for these damn characters to finally admit their feelings and then … it happens. You’ve been on a journey with these characters: you’ve read and watched as two complicated characters — two mortal enemies — cast aside their hate and their differences and fall in love. It’s emotional, it’s exciting, it’s amazing. While sometimes you may be waiting through multiple books for this moment, the payoff for enemies to lovers romance is definitely worth it.
The character growth
If, like me, you love characters that grow as the book progresses, then enemies to lovers certainly helps with that. Before the characters understand that they love one another, they’re both flawed people. I mean, no one is perfect, but when you hate someone and resolve to continue to hate them, you can’t see beyond your loathing. But the great thing about this trope is that once the characters begin to see the person they hate in a different light, their deeply held prejudices change or even dissipate. Or they may even desire to be a better person because of the other.
They’re better together
They hated each other, they wanted to maybe kill one another, but along the way, they fell in love. They didn’t think they’d ever get this far — the tension and the slow-burn probably killed you, the reader, at some point — but at the end of the day, they’re better together: in the words of my favourite character in my favourite enemies to lovers romance novel, together they can do what they cannot apart.
He thought of Laurent’s delicate, needling talk that froze into icy rebuff if Damen pushed at it, but if he didn’t — if he matched himself to its subtle pulses and undercurrents — continued, sweetly deepening, until he could only wonder if he knew, if they both knew, what they were doing.
Let me throw some recommendations at your face
If you want enemies that legit want to kill each other:
If you want enemies that are soft cinnamon rolls:
If you want enemies in a historical setting:
If you want enemies in a fantasy world:
Do you love the enemies to lovers trope as much as I do? Or are you more of a friends to lovers kind of person? Have you read any of my recommendations? What’s your favourite enemies to lovers book? Let me know!