One of the many reasons I loved ALWAYS by Nicola Griffith, besides the really great writing, is because it is primarily a romance, and yet in addition to the romance, actual stuff happens during the book.
Generally I don’t much care for romances, because if there’s nothing going on but Boy Meets Girl Boy Loses Girl Boy Gets Girl . . . well, excuse me, but boring.
In ALWAYS, there’s plenty going on. It’s just all going on around the edges.