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Romantic Fantasy

These stories are more traditionally romantic than those in the Fantastic Romance category. Romantic Fantasy may also put more emphasis on the plot events than a Fantastic Romance. Quite a few other fantasy subgenres will incorporate elements of Romantic Fantasy in them, especially Epic Fantasy and Paranormal Fantasy.

There are several “typical” storylines, but they all share the common element that the heroine has lost her home or place in society in some way, and comes to find completion and acceptance in another group. Thus, various relationships are important parts of the story: social, political and—of course—romantic relationships.

While searching for these new relationships and discovering/developing her powers, the heroine is likely to fall in love with a man who also possesses the gift of magic. The magic in these stories is usually of a gentler, more innate type than in other fantasy. Things like strong intuition and empathy, or mastery of one of the elements, are typical.

As the two lovers (or they may remain just friends or traveling companions for some time) travel the kingdom and perhaps beyond, they will gradually discover that their powers are necessary to right some huge wrong, or restore something important that has been lost.  They will need to learn about each other in intense ways so that together they can fulfill this responsibility.

Make sure you look out our Best Romance Fantasy Books List for specific romance fantasy recommendations.


Characteristics of Romantic Fantasy

  • Level of Magic

    Varies, but as mentioned, magic is considered a positive part of a character's nature, innate and not alien or frightening.

  • Level of Characterization

    The heroine and hero will change quite a bit throughout the book, but the characters are usually simply drawn.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    There is a lot of variety in plot, even given the 3 or 4 archetypal plots for this sub-genre. There is the potential for unhappy endings.

  • Level of Violence

    Violence is low in these stories, although there can be quite a lot of non-graphic sex.

Related Fantasy Subgenres



  • Coming-of-Age Fantasy is related because one of the common plot lines concerns a teenage girl who is forced away from home and who discovers that she has magical powers and a fabulous destiny to fulfill. 
  • Quite a few Epic Fantasy books also include a heavy dose of Romantic Fantasy in them as well.


Romantic Fantasy Isn’t For You If...

...Paranormal romance is more your style. The trend is for Romantic Fantasy to add more Fantasy and ease back on the romance, so if you prefer a sweeter, gentler story, make sure you look carefully at any selections that are recent.

Also avoid if you don't like the main focus of the story about romantic relationships.

Popular Romantic Fantasy Books/Series