Found family, partners, true-blue friends: it's all about the groups of people who claim us, warm our hearts, and have our backs no matter what, who help us feel that we belong.
Remember the TV show Queer as Folk? It originated in the UK, and there was a US version too. Its group of friends fits this trope so well. My high school crush/date came out to me on prom night so I felt a bit like Daphne in this clip: happy and proud for him, but a bit disappointed, too. The TV show Friends is all about this trope, too, of course.
My BFF loves motorcycle club romances, which embody this trope as well.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is still charming and touching, with one of the best “we belong together” found-family examples in any rom-com.
Bromance Book Club is the first book in the Bromance Book Club series by Lyssa Kay Adams. Its band of brothers is romance gold—needless to say, Netflix snapped up the rights so the story will be coming to a tiny screen near you sometime soon.
Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series centers on an English village in the Regency era with blue stockings and shy, spirited women who don't quite fit in as its residents, along with the group of aristocratic men who love them. They're full of wit and whimsy, the perfect place to start reading historical romance.
The Beautiful series by writing duo Christina Lauren is quite a ride: spicy hot and kinky (unlike their more recent books) with "naughty" tropes that ratchet up the fantasy.
I plan to explore this fantastic series in an upcoming episode, but for now, let me say that Chloe Liese's Bergman brothers series has this trope in spades and it's another, new top favorite romance series.
This is Confessions of a Closet Romantic, a podcast where I celebrate my favorite romantic TV shows, movies, books and talk in detail about why I love them so much. Without embarrassment or shame--mostly. This is Poppy and in this episode: It's all about romantic belonging
To me there is nothing like that feeling of belonging in romantic relationships. That feeling of: I choose you, it's you and me against the world.
One romantic trope that gets at this feeling for me is band of brothers. It's about people bonding in war (like the Band of Brothers movie) but in romance it's also about fiercely loving and loyal relationships forged in the struggles of life.
In stories with this trope, they might bust chops, argue and spar, but the underlying message is: “I love you enough to pay attention to you, care about your happiness, and help you fight your fights”—oh, my heart.
They have your back. Full stop. No question. You’re a priority in their life. I’ve have had plenty of relationships in my life where my struggles were far from a priority, so these stories are like a weighted blanket for my psyche.
All the Tropes wiki defines it like this (I’m paraphrasing): a group of people, dedicated and loyal to each other beyond all other considerations, who bond over shared struggles.
Members of the Band of Brothers know that they can depend upon each other…. An outsider who insults a single member of the group will find themselves opposed by *all members of the group— including those who had recently been tossing insults themselves.
This trope is my catnip. I had trouble thinking of movies with this trope though—I want to see more movies about kind, supportive people banding together to support people they love. That doesn't seem to be the mood of Hollywood in the past 20 years or so—because that must not be the mood of 17-year-old boys who apparently buy all the movie tickets.
Movies like First Knight and most of the Robin Hood or Three Muskateers stories touch on this trope for sure, but personally don’t want a lot of violence with it, so that leaves out movies were they're united in blowing things up or harming people.
The movie that does come to mind is Four Weddings and a Funeral. Oh that funeral scene, where the love, support and loyalty of that group is on display…and when they set Charlie's alarm clocks forward so he's not late for his own wedding… the affectionate, humorous acceptance of his scatter brain.
This is going to be a mostly romance read aloud because some fantastic contemporary romances are built on the kind, loving family or found family version of this trope and I fall hard every time.
The Bromance Book Club series is a perfect example. If you haven't read it, it's about a group of powerful guys—pro athletes, CEOs and entrepreneurs — who form a secret book club to read and learn from romance novels to help their marriages and love lives.
Oh being a fly on the wall as they talk about relationships and sex, what bothers them, what mystifies them— in a vulnerable, curious way, which I find sexy as hell.
Romance novels are not made fun of — they're treated as the healthy example of relationships that most of them are.
The friends give each other crap constantly so it’s funny, but they're humble and open in the sweetest way too, because they want their relationships to work, and they know the other guys are going to be absolutely real and call them on their bone-headed behavior.
Roxie Noir’s Loveless Bros. series is GAH gorgeous with this trope — I’ve fallen in love with the Loveless brothers, who grew up and still live in a small Southern town that’s full of smart sexy bantering women to fall for.
This excerpt is from Daniel Loveless’ story Fake Fiance. Daniel is a single dad and gets into a custody battle over his seven-year-old daughter. So he asks his best friend Charlotte a.k.a. Charlie to act as his fiancée for the courts. As one does.
They grew up together, his brothers know there's nothing fake about Daniel and Charlie’s long-standing relationship and they don't hesitate to call him on his crap after he picks a fight with her because he's a worrier and rule follower, in contrast with her fun, free spirit, which of course he secretly loves. Uh-huhhh.
I could seriously sit here and read examples of this trope aloud to you for hours, there are so many great ones. I’ll just mention a few more favorites…
The Hall of Fame example of this trope for me is Jo Beverley’s Malloren series, historical romances about the hunky aristocratic Malloren brothers and the smart spirited women they fall In love with.
Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series features a group of the most gorgeously quirky aristocratic men—most of her books feature groups of heroes like this. They’re fresh, funny and clever —if you like historical romance, don’t miss her books.
The Beautiful series by Christina Lauren has it all for me: it centers on a group of gorgeous powerful brothers and their friends/business partners.
Oh, the snappy banter, fascinating characters and page-turning plots…. In each book, the focus is on the main couples’ interactions and spicy-hot messing around. I guarantee you won't be bored. But more than that, I live for the moments when the men get together in these stories.
There are so many more! I'll link to all the book series I've been talking about plus others in the show notes. There might be gushing— but that will come as no surprise to you.
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Special shout out to Enid of the Heaving Bosoms podcast Facebook page for sharing a book with me that helped with this episode—you’re the sweetest!
Spevcial shoutout to my listeners in the US and Nepal and South Korea–-wow! I'm happy you're here. Until next time, wishing all of you the loving, loyal found family that you dream of.