The eighth and final essential element of a romance novel, according to Pamela Regis in her book, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, is the Betrothal. The Betrothal is the scene or scenes in which “the hero asks the heroine to marry him and she accepts; or the heroine asks the hero, and he accepts” (p. 37). Prior to the last quarter of the 20th century, marriage was a necesssary requirement for the romance novel. But since then, “marriage is not necessary as long as it is clear that heroine and hero will end up together” (p. 38).
Sometimes the Betrothal can be divided into two scenes: the proposal and the acceptance. In such cases, there is often an internal barrier that the heroine must overcome before she can accept the proposal.
When you write your romance novel, be sure to include some kind of a betrothal scene, whether a clear acceptance of a marriage proposal or a clear indication that it is forthcoming.
This concludes our study of the eight essential elements of a romance novel. For the next two Fridays, we will be interviewing two authors, so be sure to stop by. Meanwhile, I wish you a Happy Resurrection Day! 🙂
Source Cited: Regis, Pamela. A Natural History of the Romance Novel. (Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003).