Romance Novels in Four Words

Some people contend that the premises for most great speculative fiction can be summarized in one sentence. We here at Smart Bitches like to go a bit further than that: we maintain that the premises and plot points for the best (and worst) romance novels can be summarized in four words. Feel free to play along at home and try to guess the the novels we’re talking about, and provide a four-word précis for your own favorites in the comments.

Virgin royalty spontaneously lactates.

Unwilling wife? Use cream!

Ehxtra Hh’s? Anghsty Vhampires!

Chicken Marsala, great shoes.

Victorian miss loves ninja.

Not retarded; just deaf.

Not retarded; stroke victim.

Hedgehog saves the day.

Soon she’ll settle in.

Rape rape rape. Virgin!

Not really a whore.

Preserve virginity with image

The widow’s a VIRGIN!

Scarface finds true love.

Who is the daddy?

Evil twin = true love. (OK, so this one is sort of cheating a little with the word requirement.)

Cross-dressing captain’s crew? Buttpirates.

Conscientious objector is virgin.

Her mom: Hester Stanhope.

No memory? No problem!

Synesthetic musician seduces ingénue.

Jewboy loves shiksa aristocrat. (Alternatively: Love and bubonic plague.)

Her trauma? Scarred legs.

No condom means love.

He was a hooker.

Unbalanced highwayman in love.

She fucks fey folk.

She fucks moving things.


Fun And Games

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Jennie says:

    Wow—I recognize some of these.  Can’t tell you the title in every case, but wow—I remember reading these books.

    Lover Eternal, J.R. Ward Ehxtra Hh’s? Anghsty Vhampires!

    Silent Melody, Mary Balogh Not retarded; just deaf.

    Flowers From the Storm: Laura Kinsale Not retarded; stroke victim.

    Why is it I know the angsty books?

  2. 2
    Lorelie says:

    “She fucks fey folk.” and “She fucks moving things.” Anita Blake and Merry Gentry.  Er, other way around.

    “Not really a whore.” Half the Regencies.

    “The widow’s a VIRGIN!”  The other half.

  3. 3
    Breezy says:

    Chicken Marsala, great shoes: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.

    Why was there SO MUCH chicken marsala? I’d have gotten seriously sick of it by then, but she ate it for pretty much every meal.

  4. 4
    Anji says:

    Oooh, I recognize some:

    Victorian miss loves ninja = Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and The Star

    Hedgehog saves the day = Laura Kinsale’s Midsummer Moon

    Unwilling wife? Use cream! = Catherine Coulter’s Midsummer Magic (or The Heir?)

    The widow’s a VIRGIN! = Adele Ashworth’s Duke of Sin

    Am I right? Am I right?

  5. 5
    --E says:

    Thank you, Anji! I am officially going to get a copy of The Shadow and the Star, because I’ve heard so much good about LK and that synopsis is great.

    Also, can someone identify “He was a hooker”? Er, just curious, really.

  6. 6
    che says:

    Chicken marsala. Great shoes. is Bet Me.
    Not retarded. Just deaf. is Annie’s Song.

    My own 4 word lines-
    for Bet Me- Orgasmic over Krispy Kremes.

    for the romance genre in general-
    They bang. And bang.

  7. 7
    Bonnie says:

    Her mom: Hester Stanhope~~~ OH, OH, OH! This one is on the tip of my tongue!!!  I think I skimmed through this book.

    Her trauma? Scarred legs—Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

    He was a hooker—Safe Harbor by Nora Roberts

    Scarface finds true love—Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

  8. 8

    Cross-dressing captain’s crew? Buttpirates. Pirate’s Price, of course.

    Other winners:

    Unbalanced highwayman in love=Prince of Midnight.

    She fucks fey folk = Every Merry Gentry novel.

    She fucks moving things=The more recent Anita Blake books.

    Hedgehog saves the day=Midsummer Moon.

    Victorian miss loves ninja=The Shadow and the Star.

    Her mom: Hester Stanhope=The Dream Hunter.

  9. 9
    Julie says:

    Ha, I love those Kinsales in a row!  “Not retarded; stroke victim”!  Flowers from the Storm.

  10. 10
    McMonkey says:

    Perhaps: Savage what? Oooo…crap.

  11. 11
    Kes says:

    “Unwilling wife? Use cream!”

    Isn’t that *every* Catherine Coulter regency?

    (All the ones I’ve read, anyway. It gets old fast.)

    (My word—series16. Yes! At least 16 times in that series, hero had to Use the Cream.)

  12. 12
    Kalen Hughes says:

    He was a hooker could also be a couple of Robin Schone’s books, couldn’t it? I’m thinking of THE LOVER and and GABRIEL’S WOMAN. Weren’t both those heroes former boy toys?

  13. 13
    Therese says:

    Scarface finds true love: Beast by Judith Ivory?

  14. 14
    Mel-O-Drama says:

    How about:

    Earth, Wind, Fire and Foe? Nora Roberts, the Sisters Trilogy. *grin*

  15. 15
    EliGil says:

    Thank you. The Robin Schone were going to drive me nuts all day.  All I could remember was Gabriel’s name and some of the odder details of that story line.

  16. 16
    Stephanie says:

    How about “Loves vampire, loses personality”?

    or “Youthful bet was cover”, “Kidnapping to save orphanage”, and “PTSD, roses: not traitor.”

    And more: “Mortal fear of bees.”

    “Easily duped by veil.”

    “Must solve murder first.” (That goes for like half the Cynster series.)

    And, haha: “PTSD victims need threesomes.”

  17. 17
    lisabea says:

    Rat catcher? No problem.  (The Proposition)

    One balled leather man.  (Obvious)

    Am retarded; still hot.  (Simple Jess)

  18. 18
    Anji says:

    Hmm, couldn’t you say that

    Rape rape rape. Virgin! is Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and The Flower?

    Jewboy loves shiksa aristocrat. (Alternatively: Love and bubonic plague.) = Barbara Samuel’s Bed of Spices

  19. 19
    emdee says:

    Mortal fear of bees – Mine Til Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

  20. 20
    Anji says:

    Or the mortal fear of bees could also Julia Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me.

    “Wallflower is Gossip Queen” – Romancing Mister Bridgerton

    “Romancing the Football ” – all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips Chicago Stars books

  21. 21

    One balled leather man.  (Obvious)

    Obvhious, even?

  22. 22
    Candy says:

    Lisabea, your summary of Simple Jess made me snarfle and choke. Good jorb!

    Why hasn’t anyone remarked on the “Preserve virginity with buttsecks” book yet? Because I read that one recently, and oh my god, my jaw dropped. And dropped. And dropped some more. She wasn’t even a Catholic schoolgirl!

  23. 23
    Candy says:

    Also, “He was a hooker” fits either Robin Schone titles mentioned, and also Laura Leone’s Fallen from Grace (which I need to review some time soon).

  24. 24
    jonquil says:

    No condom means love.

    Anything by Susan Elizabeth Peters and some Suzanne Brockmans as well.  :-(

    Regency vampire; good hair.

  25. 25
    shuzluva says:

    Candy, the “preserves virginity with buttsecks” has me stumped, but my jaw dropped when I read the summary. As for some of the others, they could describe half the titles in romancelandia, especially the following:

    The widow’s a VIRGIN! – I mean, holy hell, I think I read an Emma Holly steampunk that covered that one!

    Not really a whore – I love this contrivance. If you changed it around it could be “not whore, but virgin!”

    No condom means love – uh, yeah. Nearly every contemporary these days they ‘forget’ due to LURVE

    She fucks fey folk – also describes Fairyville

    This list is hilarious. You’d better cough up the buttsecks one…I’m dying to hear it!

  26. 26
    A lurker says:

    Well, since nobody has posted about this one yet . . .

    Virgin royalty spontaneously lactates = Princess by Gaelen Foley

  27. 27
    Shannon C. says:

    I was surprised by how many I knew. Still baffled by the preserving virginity through buttsex.

    That being said, when I read “He was a hooker” the song “Copacabana” popped into my head. Clearly I need to read this book so I can attempt filk.

  28. 28
    J-me says:

    isn’t ‘no condom mean love’ every modern linda howard book?

  29. 29
    Goblin says:

    No memory? No problem!

    Dear Sister, of the Sweet Valley High series?

  30. 30
    Phyllis says:

    Hmmm…. One in “The Naked Duke” series books has a house party with everyone sneaking around boinking everyone else and there’s a nasty, scheming chick who uses the buttsecks method of retaining her virginity. One of the early scenes in the book has her sneaking naked into the Earl of whatever’s room while he’s asleep and then starting to scream so that he’ll be forced to marry her, but he jumps out the window (also starkers).

    Can’t remember who wrote it because I only barely made it through that book and abandoned the series…

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