Romance Trope: Characters Who Hate (and Then Love) Each Other

I’m not a big romance reader, but when I do read it, I absolutely love books where the romantic leads begin by disliking each other–either because of some misunderstanding or because of a first impression that leaves one or both cold. I can’t explain why I like this storyline, but I’m sure there’s an explanation that will reveal a lot about my psyche.

Here are my top four favorite books with a hate/love romance trope:

The UnhoneymoonersI read this one after a trusted reader friend recommended it. She told me it was hilarious, and she wasn’t wrong.

Olive and Ethan take a fake honeymoon to Hawaii after her sister and his brother get married and can’t go on the trip. While in Hawaii, they realize they may not hate each other as much as they’d always believe.

The dialogue crackles in this one. Bonus points to the authors (Christina Lauren is a pen name for a writing duo) for featuring a Mexican-American protagonist.


The Hating GameLucy Hutton is really nice. Joshua Templeman is ruthless. They both want the same job, and are forced to work just inches from each other as they compete to win the attention of their shared boss.

Lucy and Joshua absolutely despise each other until Lucy gets a chance to see Joshua in a different light. Her grumpy co-worker is suddenly way more interesting.

Sally Thorne  really gives her characters a lot of dimension. She’s great at dropping them in situations and letting them fight their way out of it.


Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)I admit to not being a fan of the movies, but I loved the first book. Bridget’s relationship with Mark Darcy is funny in part because she’s so awkwardly clueless and he’s so tightly wound.

Fielding brilliantly writes Bridget’s voice in such a narrow and limited space (her diary), but that’s part of this book’s charm. Bridget has her head so far up her own butt that she can’t see what we readers can see: Mark doesn’t hate her. Mark is infatuated with her.



I've Got Your NumberPoppy loses her engagement ring, right before she’s about to marry the perfect man, Magnus Tavish. On top of losing her ring, somebody has stolen her phone. But the universe taketh away and the universe giveth back. She finds a phone in a garbage can and takes it. She needs it in case someone finds her ring.

Before long, Poppy and the phone’s rightful owner, are embroiled in each other’s lives in all the best and worst ways.

Nobody writes comic romance better and more consistently than Sophie Kinsella.