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Not too long ago, I read Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You, which features an over-forty heroine and her thirty-year-old love interest. Before that time, I’d always preferred the age difference to be the other way around, but that book was hot, and I cheered for the heroine all the way through.
Now, as I mature (sometimes against my will), I’m finding it more and more important to see women of all ages represented in romance. According to RWA’s 2014 reader survey, the romance reader is most likely to be between the ages of 30 and 54. Yet the average age of romance heroines is 24-26. I personally love a good story no matter what the heroine’s age, but I have a special connection to characters my own age dealing with age-related struggles that I recognize.
With that in mind, I decided to poll some of my Indie author friends to see if they had any over-40 heroines to share with the world. In no particular order, here they are:
Synopsis: Lauren has decided that her marriage is over, she has had enough of her husband’s abusive and unreasonable behaviour. After making this decision and resigning herself to the fact that she will now be middle aged and single, she embarks on a girl’s night out and spills her guts to her girlfriends about what she has endured, in secret all these years.
Gabriel joins his brothers for a drink at a local bar. He’s thirty five and very single. Good looks and a good job mean the ladies are generally lining up every night, which is just the way he likes it, straight sex, no complications.
Then their worlds collide, neither of them looking or thinking that what they need is each other but the chemistry is instant and overwhelming and has the possibility to consume and destroy them both. Despite her husband’s behaviour, Lauren is not a cheater and refuses to get involved with Gabe until she has moved out of her marital home and ended her marriage once and for all but events take a catastrophic turn and Gabe ends up coming to her rescue, becoming her Saviour and a relationship forms at lightning speed. Can they overcome both their pasts to survive the future, together? Is the amazing, mind blowing sex enough? Join Lauren and Gabriel on their emotional, funny, sexy and traumatic journey as they try to conquer the demons from their past and build a future together. Their story will make you laugh and it will make you cry and sometimes do both at the same time! This isn’t a hearts and flowers romance, it follows the story of two broken people, trying to find a way forward together after being let down in the worst possible ways. Saviour approaches a serious subject with realism, heart felt emotion and even humour.
Lauren has issues that will drive you insane and Gabe is lost, unsure of how to express what exactly it is that he’s feeling, making them both behave in ways that you will find somewhat frustrating…
Ditching The Dream
Synopsis: Feeling dead in her marriage, Elizabeth Fairchild ditches the dream of her seemingly perfect life with her husband in search of who she really is. She went from her parents’ house to her husband’s home and never really learned to stand on her own two feet. She decides to leave her comfortable life in Napa Valley in search of her inner fire in New York City. She certainly didn’t leave her husband to find another man, but she soon finds herself involved with two: Jack Stevens and Kevin Parker. Jack is older. He has heart-stopping good looks, is wildly successful, and is very much in control of everything around him – especially Elizabeth. Kevin is younger. He is carefree with a heart of gold and loves Elizabeth’s spunk. While Elizabeth’s old life still calls to her, she also finds what she needs in New York. But which dream will she choose?
From The Author: “I wrote & released Ditching the Dream 3 years ago… I did so for a couple of reasons:
1) Write what you know (I’m in my 40s)
2) I was getting tired of reading the younger books thinking ‘I wish I’d thought of that back then!’ instead – i focused my book on what I could do and what might be…”
The Sex Education of M.E.
Synopsis: I’m forty, flabby, and frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, I have a good home, a decent job, and great children. I had a loving marriage for twenty years where we had our ups and downs. It wasn’t perfect; but it wasn’t awful. Then he died. After the grief took its course, and the reality of my life set in, I grew frustrated. It wasn’t the bills or the struggle to keep my interest in my work. It was life without a man – the only man I’d been with for twenty years. And before you go all feminist on me, it isn’t that I can’t be an independent woman, but there are certain areas where a man is necessary. You need a fuck buddy, my friend said. I didn’t even know what that meant. Is it friends with benefits?, I asked. Better, you don’t even have to be friends, she offered. Boy, did I need an education in the modern workings of dating, and sex. ++++++++++ A coming-of-an-older-age novel. A story for the over forty. Something new from L.B. Dunbar – a stand-alone rom-com!
From The Author: “I wrote this because I wanted people to see that it wasn’t only 20-somethings having all the fun – or the struggles. Not to mention, that things have changed A LOT and if you’ve been with the same man for a long time, what will happen when you have to start over?”
The ABC’s of Dee
When Dee’s wealthy friend, Gail, makes her a ridiculous bet, she never dreams she’ll actually go through with it. After all, dating 26 men in one year, from A-Z, is ludicrous. Right? Then Gail offers her fifty thousand dollars if she succeeds. Now that, is an offer she can’t refuse.
From Adam the cocky limo driver to Kevin the klepto Dee learns the hard way what sort of guy she doesn’t want.
Filled to the brim with snark and sarcasm about the joys of dating ‘later in life,’ The ABC’s of Dee reminds us that even though life sometimes sucks, there is always someone there to laugh with.
From The Author: “I wrote the ABC’s of Dee because it really does suck to date at our age. Never thought I’d have to date again…never say never.”
Synopsis: Dibs—a game that spanned over two decades between three friends. My best friends, Juls, Kat and me. It’s easy. One girl calls dibs on a guy making him off limits to the others. It’s a game of ‘what if’ and who saw the hot guy first. Honestly, the ‘dibs’ guy never panned out…yet. But it was tradition and you never screw with tradition…
I’m Dr. Samantha Williams—queen of banter, following rules and divorced from the biggest ass in ex-husband history. Fighting hard to swallow my OCD ways and get lost on a luxury cruise liner for 12 days—all for the sake of friendship. Yep, drinks and dibs!
A wedding party going on a cruise together? Come on! Get real. 12 days of torture! I’m Mac McAllister – I don’t discuss my past. I’ve never done relationships. Rules? What rules… Yet, the moment that woman walked away from me after putting me in my place, all I could think was—challenge accepted. Who did she think she was? I’ll tell you…she was a woman that slayed me with her smile and murdered me with her wit… She may not need me, but after all these years, I finally needed someone. It was her.
From The Author: “I wrote it because i’m 47!! and wanted to represent us!!”
But knights in shining armor tend to tarnish after twenty years, and she’s far from the wide-eyed princess she’d once been. Four kids, money problems and a crumbling marriage tend to wipe away all the shiny and bright and bring on the reality of broken dreams.
Royal Grainger knows he’s a lucky man—in theory. His wife is caring and beautiful, he has four amazing kids and his own business, and yet, he’s miserable. He’s detached, tired, and dissatisfied. No matter what he does, it’s not enough—for anyone.
The Grainger’s know they’re treading in the deep end, and they have to work together to push through the pain, the hurt, and the monotony of a long stale marriage to reconnect again. A marriage once full of passion and consideration, becomes one full of bitterness and resentment.
The past comes back to haunt them in a way they never imagined and their happily ever after becomes a battle.
Whatever it takes. The stakes are too high to let go, and for each other, they’ll walk through fire.