Let’s Hear It for Love After 50

~ By Nan Reinhardt

I’m bugged. It seems that romance novels are the bailiwick of characters who are younger than 50. If 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40, then how come romance after 50 isn’t sexy anymore? Well, folks, I’ve got big news–sexy is timeless. Excuse me, but two words, Pierce Brosnan. Sean Connery? Jeff Bridges? Denzel Washington, anyone? Richard Gere? And as far as sexy women are concerned–want to talk about Susan Sarandon? Sophia Loren? Goldie Hawn? Helen Mirren? Tina Turner? Me? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Hollywood is beginning to get it. I thoroughly enjoyed the film Something”s Gotta Give—a love story between two people well over age 50. Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson totally rocked that delightful movie. It’s Complicated showed us Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin as grown-ups in a love story that was fun and sexy. Streep and Stanley Tucci recreated the romance between Julia and Paul Child—an older couple madly in love—in Julie and Julia.

So what’s up with the world of romance novels? Why is it that if you’re a woman of a certain age, then nobody wants to read about your love life? All of us “oldsters” are still falling in love, rediscovering love, renewing love, and by God, we’re still having sex and probably doing it with way more panache. So why are most romance novels about girls in their twenties and thirties? If anything girls of that age have had sexual education through a computer screen by watching videoshd.xxx or somewhere similar, us “oldsters” educated ourselves through experience.

A few years ago, Harlequin nailed it with their NEXT imprint, but it didn’t make it, and I’m not sure why. Maybe we weren’t ready then, but I believe we’re ready now. I’m ready for romance with a dash of maturity, two people involved in a relationship without all the nonsense of youth. I want conversations between grown-ups who are over the drama of coming-of-age and meet on the level playing field of self-knowledge. I’m looking for sensual sexy love scenes written with that irresistible combination of humor, passion, and life experience.

Baby Boomers, as writers and readers, let’s put the romance world on notice—we’re here, we’re in love, we’re making love, and our stories are worth telling. Who’s in?

Readers, what’s your take on this? Can you recommend any books with heroines who are 40 or older? Leave a comment and let us know!

Nan Reinhardt is a romance writer and an incurable romantic. She’s also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and almost a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last fifteen years, has earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is her first and most enduring passion. Rule Number One is her debut novel. Two other novels are currently with her agent, Maureen Walters, of Curtis Brown Literary Agency in New York. Like Jo March, she writes at night, after the work is done and her household is asleep. Talk to her at www.nanreinhardt.com.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Hear It for Love After 50”

  1. Well, everyone, my heroes and heroines are all older in my contemporary romances. In, A Swan’s Sweet Song (published by the Wild Rose Press, both hero and heroine are in their 50s. In my upcoming (March 27th) release, Felicity’s Power, my heroine is 63 and my hero is 65. They met back in the San Francisco hippie days, had a passionate romance, then separated. Now, forty years later, they meet again.

  2. Hello. I am so glad I have found this website. Firstly, let me say up front that I am an author (well actually only published one short story so far), and have four books in the pipeline all with character over 50yrs. Being a mature woman myself I was frustrated that all characters in romance novels tend to be 20-35s. With an aging population I could see that the Boomers were being forgotten. I have just started a group on Facebook called Boomer Book Share, where hopefully boomers (50+)will let other boomers know of good books to read, this will save time when searching for a good read. It has only just been created and we only have a few members, so please join if you think it is a good idea. The short story I have just published is really aimed for the British humour market (think Hyacinth and Margo), but it is free if anyone want a copy at Smashwords or Goodreads. Valentine romance (or not) Countdown to Love. It will only take you an hour to read.
    My next book to be published it Touching Ed and it follows Abby (50) and Ed(62) as they meet, fall in love and attempt a normal love life with all the aging problems that life throws at people namely erectile dysfunction, menopause, false teeth etc.
    There is no genre for Silver Years books and it is hard to differentiate a romance novel with other novels when uploading it to amazon etc. You only get a few words in the heading/sub title. What it needs is a sub genre that specifies romance for the maturing generation. After all, most of the population will get there in the end. I am going to look out for Jeanne Ray, thanks Pat for that info

  3. You mean none of you have discovered Jeanne Ray? She is absolutely fabulous and you must rush out right now and buy or borrow one of her books! Julie and Romeo was her first–older guy and older gal tiptoe around their disapproving adult kids to steal illicit sex in the flower locker. Step, Ball, Change is equally wonderful–the heroine is in her 60s and still dancin’. Eat Cake is Jeanne’s third book, and by popular demand, Julie and Romeo return in a sequel. You can read excerpts in Amazon if you’re still not convinced. Her style is light and literate, romantic without being schmalzy, and slapstick funny in places.
    If you don’t like Jeanne Ray I will eat my cake.

  4. Sharon Stone is on the cover of AARP magazine this month. (Yep, that means she’s at least 50, and we’re contemporaries!) Other than the ones Nan mentioned, I can’t think of any heroines older than 50. Unless you go to the over 65 category, and count Jessica Fletcher. But I don’t think she was having sex.

    Maybe I’m reading too much YA to see the right heroines. But here are two who approach 50. Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of the Charlotte McNally TV reporter mystery series, said at a local mystery reader’s conference that her publisher had her revise the heroine’s age down to 45. And Lois Winston’s new amateur sleuth series heroine, Anastasia Pollock, is 45 or thereabouts.

  5. How about a premature midlife crisis, a little married romance and a whole lot of laughs? Coming soon, WORTH LYING FOR, a “hen lit” novel by Lisa Cheney and Lisa Craig. Watch for it!

  6. Well, I don’t know of any published titles featuring heroines over 50 … but two of my seven completed novel manuscripts feature a prominent supporting character who is in her early 60s. In one of those books, Ellie Gray’s bold courage saves the day for the primary heroine when none of the usual MALE heroes were around. In the other book, Ellie’s resourceful courage greatly contributes to the successful outcome (though there are ALSO male heroics) for the dangerous and complicated circumstances involving the primary heroine.
    Once these are published, I’ll be sure to give you titles and buy links.

  7. Absolutely! I’m right there with you. My first blog was called “chicksover40” and most of my novels and short stories are about women over 40 or turning 40 – I’ve noticed that women in their late thirties start thinking about turning 40. And my latest short stories are about women about to turn 50. Thankfully, Mozark Press has been publishing stories about women with their midlife adventures around turning 50 in their “A Shaker of Margaritas” anthologies. As for my novels, well, I’ve had to go the Indie route and I think they sell because it’s harder to find novels with older heroines.

    Thank you for such a FABulous post!

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