I’ve been on an ‘enemies to lovers’ kick for the last few books I’ve read, but it turns out there are a lot of books and series from this trope that I have enjoyed.
Exactly as you’d expect from the name, the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, commonly found in romance novels though also applicable in a variety of genres, is when two people who started out not liking each other end up as ‘lovers’ (or sometimes just friends, but it’s basically the same trope) by the end of the story. Like, in the beginning it’s pistols at dawn, and by the end, everyone is making out on a couch somewhere (or whatever).
Here are a few enemies to lovers stories that I’ve enjoyed (not a complete list, just the ones off the top of my head):
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Call me basic, but this is my original favorite enemies-to-lovers. It was the first time I read a story where the protagonists literally couldn’t stand each other in the beginning, and by the end had found love. Spoiler alert: with each other. Plus, this book is a classic, full of social commentary, as well as being a sort-of romance. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. This is one of the few books I re-read regularly. Now that I think about it, it’s probably the main reason I like this trope.
The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black: I enjoy a new adult fantasy based in the Fae realms, and this one delivers a human girl (Jude) who is trying to fit in with the Seelie and Unseelie courts paired with Prince Cardan, a mis-treated Fae boy who is in line for the throne, and who only knows how to be cruel to and about humans. Yep. Right up my alley.
Today, Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon: A YA romance about two seniors vying for valedictorian who have been in competition with each other for their entire high school careers and who have one last night to decide whether they can work together, I enjoyed this one enough that I reviewed it here.
Beach Read by Emily Henry: This one is an adult contemporary about two authors who knew each other in grad school. The MC woman (January) is a romance writer, and she keeps comparing her success to the man (Augustus), a literary fiction writer. They turn it into a contest. This one was a really fun read.
The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik: Another YA, this one a dark academia with a magical boarding school that is killing its students, and another one I reviewed. I love Galadriel and Orion so much, and I cannot wait for book 3 to come out this year!
The Simon Snow series by Rainbow Rowell: Turns out I also really enjoy YA, so here’s another YA enemies-to-lovers. This is the one that started out as a fanfic of a Harry-Potter-style magic school with some key differences, and the two MCs are basically the Harry and Malfoy characters. Baz and Simon forever!!!
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet: This is another YA contemporary. I just finished this one the other night, and though I take a bit of issue with calling Zorie and Lennon “enemies” (which is what the book description calls them) — because they were best friends until a misunderstanding that they could have cleared up if they’d just talked about it sooner — I loved the slow burn of this one.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: This is the other one I just finished. It is a workplace romance where, as you’d guess from the title, the two MCs start out ‘hating’ each other. Or, anyway, that’s what our protagonist thinks. This was another slow burn, and I loved the buildup and anticipation and final payoff. It wasn’t hard to guess how people were feeling, it was just a delight to go on the journey as Lucy figured out what we all knew about Joshua all along. This one literally made my heart squeeze. (Fair warning, this one has some explicit sex scenes, so if that’s not your bag you should stay away.)
How about you? Do you like the enemies to lovers trope or not? What is your favorite enemies-to-lovers? Let us know in the comments!
Photo of man and woman by Pablo Heimplatz on StockSnap