Return of A Little Help From My Romance Reading Friends: The Lazily-titled Sequel

It’s coming up on two years since I put out my plea for your help.  Back in February of 2016, I penned a post titled A Little Help From My Romance Reading Friends. Once again,  I come to you, Dear Reader, you with your finger on the pulse of romance, your eyes on the words and covers and spines of books of paper, screen, and audio. I come to you asking for your help, asking you to tell me about the Romance novels you have read where the heroine is aged OVER 40. That is, the heroine is 40, 50, 60 and beyond.  It’s time to update my list and I need YOU to do this because I am only one tiny woman with a TBR pile and books to edit and books to write so I can add to this list of mine.

I’m very specific here. I want representation of women over 40. Why 40? Because, like in Hollywood 40 is some kind of invisible line for women. Women under 40 get roles, but hit 40 and they dry up. Plus, I’m tired (aren’t you) of the sexist, ageist older man-younger pairing that is the staple of Hollywood and, let’s face it, most kinds of fiction.

Let me be even more specific. I’m after Romance, not Women’s Fiction. In Women’s Fiction there’s often an element of romance, but the lovey-dovey stuff isn’t the primary focus. In ROMANCE the story is driven by a couple on a journey to find love, rather than, as you frequently find in Women’s Fiction, a woman’s journey of self discovery or tale of women’s friendship and/or relationship with friends and family. Call it Adult Contemporary Romance, MidRom, Seasoned Romance, Older Romance,  MatRom, Vintage Rom, (I’ll bite you if you call it HenRom, GrannyRom or HagRom), I want all the romance, I want two people falling for each other and all the glorious, complex, baggage-filled mess that goes with it, the Big Misunderstanding, the (however much I despise them) Secret Baby, Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, the Marriage of Convience, I want all those familiar tropes you love and maybe even hate, but I want them to feature heroines aged 40 and over.

My aim, if it’s not clear, is to present women of a certain age in the genre of fiction that is and always has been female-focussed. I want to draw attention that there are older romance readers who are so damn ready to see themselves reflected in the genre they love. It’s about visibility. Older women deserve and need to be written back into the narrative of life and fictional tales. Because of it’s position as a vanguard for women and social change, Romance fiction holds the power to make older women visible.  However, there are impediments still in place, sticky impediments. With this list as proof of a growing market and subgenre (not a niche, dammit),  I want to clear way the cobwebs that still obscure some publishers minds, and show them the vibrancy of older women.  The Romance publishers who are open to older heroines, but limit the ‘field of older’ to between the ages of 35 to 45 because, as one editor said to me, “No one wants to read about granny sex,” need to understand that this limit perpetuates the ageist and sexist attitude that older women aren’t attractive, sexual, or interested in sex, which implies women over 45 are lesser, other, unworthy of love, and their hideousness must continue to be hidden or kept out of the narrative–you see how ridiculous that practice is.

Have a gander at the list I already have. I know since 2016 there have been titles released by traditional and indie publishers (I’m looking at you, Maggie Wells), but as any author will tell you DISCOVERABILITY IS KEY to readers finding new authors and titles.  I want to add books to my list of romance fiction featuring heroines over 40!  Give ’em to me. Shoot those titles my way! Help me add to the list and help these books be discovered! Let’s wipe out sexist ageism one Romance novel at a time!

PLEASE Leave your book recommendation as a comment!

31 thoughts on “Return of A Little Help From My Romance Reading Friends: The Lazily-titled Sequel

  1. Hi Sandra.
    Terrific to find fans of over-40 romance. Turning Toward the Sun: If I Never Speak of It, No One Will Know is my first book in a series. It’s about stodgy, 62-year-old, Arthur whose loveless life is set on fire with the arrival of a letter from his first and only love.
    Self-published in December 2019 on Amazon in paperback and ebook. Now available on Apple and Kobo as well.
    Book two in the series, titled: Is Love Unbreakable? is due out in September 2020.
    Cheers to silver-haired lovers.

  2. Hello Sandra – at the time of this post I only had one book – After Care (by L.B. Dunbar) but now I’m up to six books. All H/h couple are over 40: Midlife Crisis, Restored Dreams, Second Chance, Wine&Dine and a standalone (The Sex Education of M.E.). I have five more books coming from the fall of 2019 into winter 2021.

  3. I haven’t read any of these but I’m always on the lookout for older heroines.
    – Twice In a Lifetime is a f/f romance with leads in their late 40’s or 50’s.
    – After Care and The Sex Education of M.E. by LB Dunbar both have leads in their 40’s.
    – Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Timeless series all has older leads, with heroines in their 40’s.
    – Donna McDonald has several books and series with older heroines – Carved in Stone, Never Too Late series (heroines are mainly in their 40’s but there is one 60 YO), The Perfect Date series (heroines are in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s).
    – Late Fall by Noelle Adams has a hero and heroine in their 70’s who meet at an assisted living facility.
    – The Change Up by Elley Arden (heroine is 40).
    – The Second Chance Neighbors series by Josie Kerr both have lead couples in their 40’s.
    – Caught Up in Raine by L.G. O’Connor has a heroine in her 40’s involved with a guy in his 20’s. I read this and it was good. The author is about to release a new book, Surrender My Heart, with a couple who I believe are in their late 40’s-early 50’s.
    – A Different Kind of Forever by Dee Ernst has a 45 YO heroine with a 26 YO rock star hero. I loved this book. She has others with older heroines, but they are more women’s fiction. This one is definitely a romance.
    – The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match by Juliana Gray. A really great novella set in the early Edwardian age on a steamship with a 50’s heroine and a 70’s hero.

    • Thank you, Jen!
      Some of these are already on my old list and some are on the new one I’m compiling together to replace the old one.
      I appreciate you listing the character’s ages and weeding out the books that fit the women’s fiction bill.
      Most of all, I appreciate your support!

  4. Maggie Wells reporting for duty!
    I have a series of digital first titles (with POD) under the umbrella of Worth the Wait Romance by Lyrical Press (Kensington). They are all MCs over 50, and a high heat level. THREE LITTLE WORDS, A WILL AND A WAY, and A BOLT FROM THE BLUE.
    I also have 2 books with Sourcebooks Casablanca that will be my first mass market paperback releases (as well as ebook and audio). Both titles feature MCs in their 40s – LOVE GAME (Feb 2018) and PLAY FOR KEEPS (April 2018). Thanks for continuing to wave the flag, Sandra!

  5. I write heroines who are over 40. My books are Without Saying A Word. The Bed & Breakfast Man. Wings of A Dove. It Must Be Love. Champagne and Catnip published by Books To Go Now and The Misadventures of Pann Haggerty trilogy published by Hot Ink Press.
    My website is Hope that helps.

  6. About “This Time Forever,” forgot to say she is 54 and he is 60…both are single and into the adventure of exploring a second chance at finding romance.

  7. “This Time Forever.” Hot off the presses November 3, 2017. Your blog is great….seeing several books I’d like to read.

  8. My Silver Fox Romance series (3 so far) Choose Me, Rescue Me & Lucky Me have heroines in their 50s. I love writing older heroines and showing they are still vibrant and passionate.

  9. Hi Sandra, My erotic romance novel, Dancing Queen has a heroine who is over 40. I wrote it as a counter book to Fifty Shades of Grey because I wanted to have an empowered, bold female heroine who goes out and lives life on her terms. You can find out more about it on my website 🙂

  10. In the most recent Rogue Anthology, Olivia Dade and Rube Lang both have stories where the main characters are over 40. It isn’t specified in Molly O’Keefe’s story, but they could be late 30’s/early 40’s.
    A Bolt of Blue by Maggie Wells has characters over 40.
    Of course pretty much every book written by Kristen Ashley has older MCs.

  11. Sandra, I couldn’t agree more! My heroines thus far are in their 40’s and 50’s and they will be out and about this coming summer (2018) if not before. Can’t wait to see what others have to say and add. Keeping my eye on this post!

Leave a Reply