Romance After 40?

Lately I’ve been craving a different kind of heroine, someone with a little experience under her belt … or her waistline. Romances in which the main characters are over 40. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the under-40 romance, even as young as NA and YA. After all, a good story is a good story. But under-40 is easy to find. Over-40, not so much. 

I loved Sandy James’ Turning Thirty-Twelve and the movies It’s Complicated and Enough Said. So I decided to seek out more like them instead of waiting for them to fall into my lap. I searched online for “romances with older heroines” and was thrilled to find actual lists of these types of books. But I was disappointed when most of the recommended books had characters in their 30s (That’s older? Really?) or the older characters were actually secondary characters. The exception is this list on Dear Author. It’s short, but it’s a starting point.

Why am I so intrigued with this age group? It’s a fascinating period in women’s lives. They’re reevaluating where they’ve been and what they’ve accomplished in their careers and personal lives. They’re dealing with wacko hormonal changes that for good or bad color the way they think and act. Those with children are done or almost done with child-rearing and are enjoying (hopefully) a new kind of freedom. Many women experience a rebirth of sorts and make major life changes. Sounds like the perfect breeding ground for romantic conflict.

I’d really like to hear from you. Do you like the over-40 heroine and hero? Hate ’em? Can you take ’em or leave ’em? I’d also love some recommendations. Thirty-somethings and secondary characters need not apply.


Romance After 40? — 33 Comments

  1. I too love over-40 heroines – and I’m 30! But I love innovative romances and seeing how authors deal with unconventional tropes, and older heroines totally fit that bill.

    I recently read a Harlequin category novel in which the older heroine was in love with a young hero who really wanted kids. The conflict resolution was for her to become pregnant at age 39, and while I know that’s possible, it felt like such a cop-out! It would be great to see more over-40 heroines who are exploring issues and conflicts relevant to their age. It’s a big undertaking for a romance author – and a commendable one!

  2. They really are unconventional, aren’t they? Maybe that’s why we don’t see that many? I’m curious whether there’s a market for it. As for a child at 39, more and more women are doing that, so I get the appeal of that type of book. I’m just not interested because I am so over kids. 😉

  3. I love reading about characters who have a little more life experience. In fact, some of my favourite books feature heroes and/or heroines that fall into the 40+ crowd. A few to note are Contentment and Commitment by Margaret Ethridge. I’m also crazy about Maggie Wells’ Hot Nights in St. Blaise series, mainly because of the broad range of characters. The final installment, Daring Miss December, features a more seasoned couple as well. All of them are fabulous reads! :)

  4. When I first looked into romance between older characters I heard the phrase “Geezer Romances” which, to be perfectly honest, wasn’t encouraging at all. I have a problem with the perfect bodied twenty year olds and look forward to reading (and writing) a wider range of ages. Let’s hear it for self publishing, where the decisions can be made by the reader

  5. Pingback: Samantha Ann King | Explore Love's Possibilities » Blogs

  6. All the heroes and heroines in my romance books are certainly over 40. That means they are people who have led interesting lives, have strong characters and aren’t interested in having babies. In, A Swan’s Sweet Song, my Sherry Valentine is a country singer who has been on the road for just too long, and Carston Hewlett is a well-established playwright and long time loner. In, Felicity’s Power, Felicity and Marek come together after a forty year separation; Felicity has been a foreign aid worker and Marek is a famous author — and their meeting is explosive, to say the least. In, All About Charming Alice, my hero is a long-term, dedicated bachelor from Chicago and Alice is a herpetologist who lives in Nevada and is determined to protect snakes.
    I love having older heroes and heroines in my books because they are complex people, are unconventional, and they show us that wonderful, exciting love stories can happen at any age.

      • Oh yes, Samantha. And with the confidence that age can bring. I love gutsy heroines. And, I must admit, I also love heroines who are happy with their bodies, however imperfect, and with grey hair. Wrinkles don’t bother them one bit either because there are, frankly, more important things to think about. What’s wrong with wrinkles anyway? We don’t have to subscribe to the eternal Peter Pan/Botox values the beauty industry pushes out at us.
        The good news is, there are publishers who are taking chances on older heroes and heroines. I had no problem getting two of my books with older main characters — A Swan’s Sweet Song, and Felicity’s Power — published with The Wild Rose Press. Also, Samantha, thanks for introducing this great topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *