Oct 21 2013 12:45pm

Better With Age: The Lusty Delight of the Older Heroine

Now or Never by Logan BelleToday we're pleased to welcome Jamie Brenner to Heroes and Heartbreakers, today in her alter-ego, erotic author Logan Belle. Logan's new release, Now or Never, is the story of an older woman who decides to embark on some new adventures, so to speak, with the help of a younger man. Logan (and Jamie) is here to discuss the appeal of older heroines.

We’ve seen a lot of young, virginal heroines in the post-Fifty Shades of Grey romance world. And while I’ve enjoyed the dip into the angst-filled pool of young lust as much as the next reader (and writer), I’m also a big fan of the more mature heroine. Older women know what they want. Through trial and error, they’ve figured out for themselves what’s hot, and what’s not. They know their minds, they know their bodies. Of course, the often wide gulf between knowing what you want and finding Mr. Right to fill those shoes, and fitting a man into a life already filled with careers, children, and ex-husbands, creates lots of juicy drama. These are a few of my favorite older heroines in books and movies:

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller: With fifty million copies sold worldwide, this book proves that an older heroine can go head-to-head with her younger counterparts. Married but lonely Francesca Johnson, at home by herself while her husband and kids visit the state fair in 1960s Madison County, Iowa, meets divorced Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer who is visiting town for a photographic essay on the covered bridges. Neither of them expects their encounter to turn into an affair, but their attraction and connection is as undeniable as it is irresistible. No spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read this gem, but it is bittersweet. (The 1995 film stars Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.)

A Spanish Lover by Joanna TrollopeA Spanish Lover by Joanna Trollope: Lizzie and Frances, identical twins nearing forty, have experienced life very differently when it comes to romance. Lizzie is a mom, a successful gallery owner, and a homemaker who could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. Frances, on the other hand, lives alone, runs a modest travel agency, and has never had a significant romance. But when Frances makes a trip to Spain one Christmas, everything changes. She falls in love with Luis, a wealthy, handsome Spaniard who is married—and Catholic. Lizzie’s perfect domestic world unravels a bit in the face of her sister’s dramatic affair. This book does a beautiful job of exploring the complexity of finding love and passion mid-life, and the challenge of keeping love and passion alive.

The Thomas Crown Affair: I didn’t see the original film from 1968, but I essentially memorized the 1999 version starring Renee Russo and Pierce Brosnan. Self-made billionaire Thomas Crown gives Christian Grey a run for his money with his good-looks, expensive toys, and cat-and-mouse games. He has lived a life where he has so much of everything, he has to steal priceless works of art just to feel alive. But he meets his match when gorgeous, elegant (those clothes!), and sassy detective Catherine Banning gets on the case of a stolen Claude Monet. Soon, Catherine is torn between her job of busting Crown for the theft, and wanting him for herself. Over a sexual-tension filled dinner one night, Catherine tells Crown why she avoids relationships: “Men make women messy.” Indeed.

Scandalous Lovers by Robin Schone: In this unforgettable Victorian romance, Frances Hart is a 49 year old widow, a mother and a grandmother. Three months after her husband’s death, she travels to London yearning to know that there is more to life for her.

Scandalous Lovers by Robin SchoneIn London, she inadvertently finds The Men's and Women's Club, a group who gather to discuss equality between the sexes. One member is a barrister and widower named James Whitcox whose own life is unfulfilling, restricted to only what society deems appropriate. When they meet, they experience the type of passion that society does not condone. It’s a beautiful story of a man and woman who awaken each other during a time when liberation was not socially accepted.

Something’s Gotta Give: The 2003 movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson has a way of making you feel that when it comes to romance, the best is yet to come. Erica Barry is in her fifties and divorced with an adult daughter. While she has no love life to speak of, she has a fabulous career as a playwright (and a breathtaking Hamptons beach house to prove it!). When her daughter brings her new boyfriend, 63-year old Harry Sanborn, a womanizing music mogul who only dates younger women, both Erica and Harry are surprised to find themselves falling in love. It’s a rocky (but hilarious) road to their HEA, and the payoff shows that good things come to those who wait.

Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun: Newly divorced Lacey Meyers wasted many years having unsatisfying sex. Now she's looking for something hot. She meets younger guy Hunter Anderson, a cop who is used to romps with classy older women who only see him as a one-night stand. And Lacey knows that Hunter—sexy, gorgeous, and eight years younger—won't want anything permanent. But as one night turns into two, and three, and shows no sign of stopping, they both know that someone is going to get hurt. The problem is, neither of them is ready to be the one who walks away first.

Who are your favorite mature heroines?

Learn more or order a copy of Now or Never by Logan Belle, out now:

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Logan Belle is the author of Now or Never (A Last Chance Romance), the first in a series featuring women who realize it’s never too late for love and romance.

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1. Kareni
A favorite of mine is Sherry Thomas' Delicious; the heroine is in her mid-thirties, I'd guess.
3. pamelia
I adore "The Thomas Crown Affair" -- what a fantastic movie.
I also loved "Somethings Gotta Give" although it's Diane Keaton (not Meryl Streep).
OTOH I really despised "The Bridges of Madison County" when I read it -- I thought it was trite and tired and a lot of the language really bothered me (I believe I'm firmly in the minority there!)
My favorite books with older heroines are probably by Kristen Ashley: "Sweet Dreams" has a 42 year old heroine and all the heroines in The Berg series ("For You", "At Peace", "Golden Trails" and "Games of the Heart") are in their late 30s/early 40s. I love reading about characters who know who they are and have been through trials in life.
Jamie Brenner
4. jamieloganbrenner
@Pamelia Omg you are so right! And I know that -- I have every scene, wardrobe change, etc of that movie memorized. I was still thinking of Bridges. And I love how Diane Keaton dressed in that movie -- I remember watching it when it first came out ten years ago and thinking I want to age that gracefully.
Jamie Brenner
5. jamieloganbrenner
@Pamellia One more thing: another older heroine film I like -- and same director as "Something's Gotta Give" -- is It's Complicated. I just didn't like the ending. But I liked what the Meryl Streep character was going through.
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
Count me in the "totally hated Bridges" column.

I like Donna McDonald's Dating a Cougar. The heroine is a famous model who now runs her own lingere company and is in her 40's . The hero is a vet who's still recovering from an injury.
Jamie Brenner
7. jamieloganbrenner
@bungluna I like books that have heroine running their own companies. That's one of the things I loved most about Judith Krantz novels like I'll Take Manhattan
Jamie Brenner
9. jamieloganbrenner
@bungluna Have you found anyone else, anyone writing today, who has a similiar style? I haven't, and I really miss those epic, sprawling, juicy books.
Carmen Pinzon
10. bungluna
I miss them too. I haven't found anybody that those even a mediocre job in that sub-genre. I miss the sweeping sagas of the 80's.
Jamie Brenner
11. jamieloganbrenner
@bungluna They are completely out of favor now, for some reason. Last night I did a book event and ended up sitting next to Michael Korda, who was top editor at S&S during the height of these types of books. Hearing his stories was fascinating and I asked him about Susan Howatch -- he was the one who published Penmarric, Wheel or Fortune, etc. He told me she hated her commercial success. I don't know if you've ever read her but Wheel or Fortune is my all-time favorite novel. Absolute perfection.
Carmen Pinzon
12. bungluna
I have not read her; running off to add to my never-ending tbr pile!
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14. costamature
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