War BrideArt imitates life, right?
So, tell me, how many of you have had a “fake fiancé?” When have you needed to pretend you were engaged to satisfy the terms of a will, your family’s expectations, your fans, or the board of your multibillion-dollar corporation?

After recently receiving review requests on several books with fake engagements implied in the title I decided to look into this “entitlement!” We’ve talked a lot in the blogging community about book cover trends (girls in prom dresses on cliffs or by the sea, male torsos with the head cropped off, curls of red ribbon or smoke, etc), but what about TITLE TRENDS?

Let’s take a look at the title trend using “Fake Fiancé.”

It seems like fake fiancés or fiancees are as epidemic in titles as amnesia is in soap operas.
What’s it all about? Why does it make a good story? What are its historical or classical antecedents. I can’t think of any Jane Austen, or Gothic romance that fits.
But, even though the trope is commonly used in the romance genre, its usage alone doesn’t explain the lack of original titling.

TITLE Author Publisher ISBN/ASIN Date Published
SLEEPING WITH HER FAKE FIANCÉ Sasha Savage Naughty Girls Ink B005DF28BQ 7/2011
THE HEIRESS AND HER FAKE FIANCÉ Kimberly Hope Getaway Reads LLC B006KSVXVG 12/2011
THE FAKE FIANCÉ! (San Valentin! #2) Leigh Michaels Harlequin Treasury #3478 B0056HCV40 July 15th 2011 (1st published 9/1997)
FAKE FIANCÉ, REAL REVENGE (Three River Ranch #3) by Roxanne Snopek Entangled: Bliss 162266101X 8/2013
MY FAKE FIANCÉE (FORBIDDEN FANTASIES) Nancy Warren Harlequin Blaze 0373795572 1/2010
MY FAKE FIANCÉ (Wedding Flirts Collection #1) Lisa Scott UNK 5/2012
THE FAKE FIANCÉE (American Romance Series) Megan Kelly Harlequin 0373752237 7/2008
TEMPTING HER FAKE FIANCÉ (Gone Hollywood) Julie Partichka Entangled Brazen 163375121X 10/2014)
THE BOSS’S FAKE FIANCÉE (Bencher Family) Inara Scott Entangled: Indugence 10/2012
THE DOCTOR’S FAKE FIANCÉE (Red RIver) Victoria James Entangled: Bliss 2014?
THE MILLIONAIRE’S FAKE FIANCÉE Rita Sawyer Pink Petal Books 0983589224 ( 11/2011(1st published 5/2010 2010)
RICH MAN’S FAKE FIANCÉE (The Landis Brothers, #1) Catherine Mann Silhouette Desire, #1878, 0373768788 6/2008 (1st published 5/2008)
Catherine Mann
Harlequin 0373180837 3/2014 (1st published 1/2014

rings and a carnation

Then you have slight variations like:

FIANCÉ FOR CHRISTMAS (Pennington #15) by Catherine George Published by Harlequin Presents #2293, (0373122934 ISBN13: 0000000000000), 12/2002   (1st published 1998)
FIANCÉ FOR HIRE (The Wedding Ring #4) by Pamela Burford published by (Harlequin Temptation #824), (0373259247 ISBN13: 0000000000000), 3/2001

And, THE TYCOON’S MAKE-BELIEVE FIANCÉE by Elizabeth Lennox, and published by Elizabeth Lennox Books (B00I52PPT6) 1/2014. Other words subbing for Fake in titles have been Fraudulent, False, Temporary, and Official.

I’m sure there are even more books with this or similar titles.

There was even a movie, MY FAKE FIANCÉ, in 2009 starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joseph Lawrence.

MasqueradeIt’s not just this Fake boyfriend/fiancé title trend I’ve noticed. In the past year I have noticed a bunch of variants on “Lions And Tigers And Bears, Oh My!” from the WIZARD OF OZ. There’s a children’s series by Mike Bullock and Jack Lawrence, Biblical story compendiums, and coloring books. And a new book LION, TIGER, AND BEAR, by Kate Hurley coming out October 16th for Penguin Young Readers.
Romances like LIONS, TIGERS, AND SEXY BEARS OH MY! by Candace Havens and an anthology, LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS by Kit Tunstall, Kate Steele, and Jodi Lynn Copeland.

Why do publisher and writers put out books with such similar titles? No, it’s not plagiarism but it bugs me somehow. Part of that comes from the first reason of the four I have come up with (I’m sure there are more):

  1. One book comes out and sells well with a title and a bunch of other authors and publishers jump on the bandwagon by using the very same title or a variation.
  2. The author or publisher doesn’t realize they have slapped the same or similar title onto a new book. (This becomes increasingly hard to believe with the ability to do an online search in less than 15 seconds)
  3. It is a subconscious associative reflex – the author knows about the other book(s) but subconsciously titles the book the same.
  4. The title has some sort of aural quality, like alliteration, that is irresisistible.

What are some other title trends you have noticed? Why do you think it is done?


Expanding the scope – Let’s take a look at the trope:

Of course, I am not the first to notice:
According to the site: Heroes and Heartbreakers, A Macmillan Community Site
“Romance makes much use of the fake relationship trope, in which a hero or heroine asks a friend (or hires an escort!) to pose as his or her significant other for a run-in with an ex/high school reunion/family gathering/business meeting, only to realize the pretend feelings between them are legit after all. The trope is fun and lighthearted and inevitably leads to things like accidental spooning and awkward conversations with friends who know which way the wind is really blowing. “
One commenter to this post considers it the modern equivalent of the Marriage of Convenience trope. Good Point! http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2014/02/trope-of-the-month-fake-it-til-you-make-out-or-faux-lovers


I discovered a Listopia list on Goodreads: Ultimate Fake Boyfriend/Husband/Fiance Plot List at https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/32487.Ultimate_Fake_Boyfriend_Husband_Fiance_Plot_List_ which contains 135 books with the plot theme, but not necessarily the title (it also seems some of the books on the list don’t apply). But there’s also a Goodreads shelf called: Popular Trope Fake Engagement Books at https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/trope-fake-engagement