This came up on a blog I frequent a few months ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Does formula romance have to be so…well…formula? I mean if you think about it, there are only four basic plot lines.

A Marriage of Convenience

An eligible young lady must sacrifice herself for the sake of her family. She marries herself off to a rich but insufferable rake, who she later falls in love with.

 The Governess

A well-bred lady falls on hard times and must take a job as a governess. She always ends up taking care of the wards of an eligible dashing gentleman who later falls in love with her. The wards are always impossible, and usually twins.

The Tomboy

An impossible hoiden must be taught how to behave like a lady. A handsome bachelor teaches her, and bing! They fall in love.

A dangerous [insert title here]

Female Main Character (FMC) is warned against this dangerous rake, tames him, and falls in love. Frequently this rake is a war hero with a limp magically cured at the end.

Now that I think about it, there is one more…

The Mystery

War Hero is trying to find a spy and ends up getting the help of the FMC whether he likes it or not. They fall in love.

Admitedly, these are all regency romances. I’ve read romances by Nora Robert that I like, but even she has a set of trilogies that are formulaic. (The Key Trilogy as compared to the Sisters trilogy. All the characters are the same right down to the dog.)

Can anyone name a regency romance that does not fall under these categories? I can think of two. Jack on the Box by Patricia Wynn and A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger

Jack on the Box is where the Male Main Character (MMC) ends up being forced to work for a living to teach him a lesson. He breaks his leg and ends up in the house of a lady, with whom he falls in love. A loyal companion is your typical Tomboy tale, told from the perspective of the dog. ^^ Who wouldn’t love?

Your turn. I know you’ve read a formula romance that wasn’t just formula.