What do you think of older leads in your romances?
First of all, I'd like to give Karen Booth a shout out for inspiring this discussion post. We were talking about bookish things and Karen shared that her books, Bring Me Back and Back Forever, got turned down by a few publishers because it features an older couple and the current romance market isn't keen on this trope.
This came at such a surprise to me because of the irony and in some sense, the hypocrisy, of the response. Some of these publishing houses have published romance novels where the men are significantly older and more worldly than their mate. Not only that, a lot of them have advocated feminism and has published countless books about girl power and such.
Feminism [noun | \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\]: The belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men.
So it's okay to romanticize and even glorify older men-younger women but not the reverse? Moreover, it's not "exciting" when the H/h are older, more matured, have loved and lost, and have actually LIVED their lives and are trying to take another shot at happiness, domestic bliss, true love?
I say BULLOCKS to that!
Sure, young love and even first loves are exciting in that everything is shiny and new. But I think that seasonal romances, reconciliations, second-chance romances, marriage-in-crisis themes, or even Autumn romances can be just as affecting and swoony as it's younger counterpart. More importantly, as a woman nearing the infamous "middle age" phase, I can confidently say that I'm still ALIVE, FUNCTIONING NORMALLY AND FEEL THE SAME THINGS THESE YOUNG 'UNS ARE FEELING WHEN I SEE A HOT GUY!
Let's take this a notch a little and make it elementary. If you follow celebrity pop culture doesn't it celebrate older women like JLo, and media outlets are always giving us constant updates about their LOVE LIVES! And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a "phenomenon" where women are looking or finding their HEA later in life intentionally because the modern working woman is career oriented and put-off romance and/or family life until much later? So why aren't my romance books reflecting this?
Speaking for myself, I don't necessarily seek it out, but when I do find myself reading a story where the heroine is closer to my age and somewhat mirrors my life experiences so far. I gravitate and relate to them more than their younger counterparts. Sadly I usually find older romances threaded in Women's Lit, Chick-Lit, or Literary Fiction as a side story than the main romance. So hopefully this little gripe of mine helps the discussion to move forward and hopefully we'll see this trope advance in the nearest future.
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