Well, I know that every day I’m a day older. But last week marked the successful conclusion of another of my journeys around the sun. And Hoorah for me!
When I was young I hated all birthdays after my twenty-first – the time when I could drink legally.
I’m wiser. I don’t have as many rings around my middle as a Sequoia, mind you, but I’ve come to realize that every year is an accomplishment, and I’m grateful for it.
Which leads me to a question I really don’t know the answer to. Why aren’t there more romances with… (ahem. Cough, cough…) older heroines? I’m not talking passion at the Happy Acres Nursing Home (although I do know of many such affaires. Extreme age, like extreme youth, is apt to cast off inhibitions.)
I’m talking about the absence of mature females as heroines in historical romances.
Please understand this doesn’t mean I want to write one!
I once did write a book with an older hero and heroine ( THE CHALLENGE ) Not ancients. Thirty and fortyish love the second time around.
You know? It was a good book but it didn’t sell like books with hot young cookies in them.
(Although, note please, it’s fine to have a secondary romance, with an older couple finding joy with each other. As long as that story stays in the background.)
I read a romance with a middle-aged couple as the hero and heroine. It included all the stretch marks and thigh flab, prostate trouble, menapausal headaches and the need for gels. (This was before Viagra, but if it hadn’t been, that would have been there too.) The writing was good, the author was one of my favorites. But the book made me squirm.
The concept just wasn’t…. well, hot.
I confess, I used to write Historicals with much older heroes hooking up with young chickie heroines. Forgive me, I didn’t know better, and anyway, that’s how it often went in olden days. Maybe because women died younger then? Maybe because the great Georgette Heyer wrote a bunch of such stories, as did most popular writers of that time?
Recall please, that it was ever so. Jane Eyre was not thirtyish. Mr. Rochester was well past it.
But these days the idea of an mature man: all moody and broody, scarred and cynical, all wise and experienced, getting it on with an ignorant, innocent Miss makes me think of an episode of one of those ‘Gotcha you vile old internet perv! ‘TV exposes.
In truth, older gents with dewy lasses now smack of pederesty to me.
Still, it’s okay for men to be a lot older than women in a heroic romance.
Is this because women like to cast off their real selves, whatever their age, when they immerse ourselves in a book?
It’s not just a female preference.
I note that many Fantasy epics begin with a boy or a girl, jut orphaned by the evil forces of the bad guys, setting out to seek revenge.
Youth is so much more flexible in all ways. Do our fantasies lead us to prefer to read about youth with it’s unknown horizons and infinite possibilities, unencumbered by the fretful realities of marriage, children and aging?
Maybe that is the answer.
What do you think?
And what do you think is the right age for our Hero and Heroine?