The romance genre of writing stretches back millennia and is a common theme of many great works of literature as well as the inspiration for many mythological stories with Greek myths being well-known for romantic liaisons between the gods and humans. In the modern day, the term romance novel tends to refer to the mass-marketed versions of stories with emphasis on everyday love stories rather than the epic tales found throughout history. Common themes within romance novels are the blossoming of a relationship between individuals where the relationship is opposed by one or both families of the couple, with most romance novels requiring a happy ending in order to be well received commercially.

Typically, romance novels are read almost exclusively by women, although this trend becomes blurred when genres become mixed, as many are today. The blending of romance with science fiction has become increasingly popular, although contemporary romance stories still remain the most popular, helping to draw in new audiences. Although it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between whether or not a novel is truly a romance novel or whether it would be a better fit in another category.