New-adult romances have been all the rage for the last few years, but what about more mature romance fans? Are the heroes and the heroines aging with us? We are seeing older heroines in general fiction and they are also well represented in the mystery genre. But while attending Romance Writers of America’s Librarian’s Day this past July, we heard several people bemoan the lack of older couples in romance novels and, during a discussion with publishers about trends, this was brought up as something that readers and industry leaders would like to see more of in the future.
Romance is evolving and we’re moving away from perfect couples with perfect jobs and perfect lives who just need to meet cute to have their perfect happily ever after. Characters have become more like readers over the years—they have child-care problems, elderly parents, and/or have to figure out how to manage a bad boss—and readers still love them. In some cases, they love them more because they can relate to them in a way that they can’t relate to glamorous people who have very little conflict in their lives.
These books prove that age is not a factor
in finding a Happily Ever After.
Here’s a list of romances where the heroes and heroines are more mature. They’re all over 30 and, in some cases, they are 40-plus. Everyone deserves to find the right person, and these books prove that age is not a factor in finding a Happily Ever After.
Black Rose, by Nora Roberts
Forty-seven-year-old Rosalind Harper has more life experience than a lot of romance-novel heroines. After two marriages (one happy, one not), Roz has given up on love. While researching her roots to find out more about the ghost who haunts her family’s historic Tennessee home, she meets genealogist Dr. Mitchell Carnegie and together they discover more than just the identity of the Harper Bride. Black Rose is the second book in Roberts’ In the Garden trilogy.
Forever a Lady, by Delilah Marvelle
According to society, a widow’s place is in the home, not in the streets of New York or London. But Lady Bernadette Burton hasn’t paid attention to what society says, ever since society turned its back on her after the death of her husband. Now a wealthy widow, she enjoys the freedom widowhood has afforded her. Her latest scandal is running off to America, where she begins an affair with down-on-his-luck Matthew Milton. In addition to featuring an older heroine, this romance explores a variety of social issues including poverty and access to education for all.
Hannah’s Courtship, by Emma Miller
Hannah Yoder was happily married for many years until her husband died of a heart attack. After that, she thought she’d never find love again. With her daughter Rebecca’s wedding fast approaching, it will soon be just Hannah, her daughter Susannah, who has Down’s Syndrome, and her foster son, Irwin, left in the big, old farmhouse. As her friendship with veterinarian Albert Hartman grows into something more, Hannah and Albert have big decisions to make—Hannah is Amish, Albert is Mennonite, and a relationship between the two is forbidden. The final book in Miller’s Hannah’s Daughters series can be read as a stand-alone.
Starstruck, by L. A. Witt
Having left behind Hollywood and now in semi-retirement, Levi Pritchard is enjoying life in small-town Washington. His days are full as he throws himself into directing community theater. When opportunity comes knocking and he takes a role on TV’s hottest new show, he never expects it to come with a love interest in the form of Carter Samuels. Carter is a much younger, out-and-proud actor that Levi finds he just can’t resist. Determined to stay in the closet due to his studio contract, Levi enjoys a friendship with Carter that slowly develops into a smoldering affair. This is the first book in the Bluewater Bay series.
Taken with You, by Shannon Stacey
Librarian Hailey Genest feels like the last single woman left on the planet. A new girlfriend talks her into an outdoor adventure designed to celebrate being single, but not being outdoorsy types, Hailey and Tori soon find themselves left behind in the woods. Hailey’s not impressed when they meet Matt Barnett, who looks like a mountain man after a two-week vacation in the woods, but she’s relieved when he gets them back to civilization. When he then moves in next door, Hailey and Matt discover that they have a lot of chemistry, although neither believes that opposites attract.
Wild Man, By Kristen Ashley
Fortysomething Tess O’Hara is happy to be moving on with her life. She is slowly forgetting about her no-good ex, and her bakery business is taking off. She’s even dating again, after handsome, sexy Brock Lucas walked into her bakery and into her heart. Several months into their new relationship, however, she finds out he is really an undercover DEA agent who happens to be investigating that no-good ex of hers. In between navigating their new relationship and dealing with ex-spouses, Brock and Tess still manage to heat things up in this continuation of her Dream Man series.
With older couples in the spotlight and no longer relegated to secondary character status, readers of a certain age have more books that give them a reason to be optimistic and hopeful about their own lives and HEAs. For more choices, try one of these additional titles:
Admiral’s Penniless Bride, by Carla Kelly (2010)
Autumn Spring, by Shelley Thresher (2015)
The Black Hawk, by Joanna Bourne (2011)
Blue by You, by Rachel Gibson (2013)
Canary Island Song, by Robin Jones Gunn (2011)
Catch of a Lifetime, by LuAnn McLane (2012)
Goddess of Spring, by P. C. Cast (2004)
Here Comes Trouble, by Donna Kauffman (2010)
Honeysuckle Summer, by Sherryl Woods (2010)
Passion of the Purple Plumeria, by Lauren Willig (2011)
Reaper’s Stand, by Joanna Wylde (2014)
A Secret Affair, by Mary Balogh (2010)
Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs (2008)
Sweetest Thing, by Jill Shalvis (2011)
Treading Water, by Marie Force (2011)