Eloquently labeled in this USA Today article, this genre is being dubbed seasoned romance, mature romance and midlife love. They all sound right to me. But basically, romance books featuring main characters in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond is what this list is all about. 😀
Anna: Hi Maryse- I’ve been following your blog for years and i love all the reviews and recommendations. I’m looking for books featuring older characters – say in their 40’s, or even late 30’s. I know Kristen Ashley had the Magdalene series, which I just re-read for the third or fourth time. Any others out there you’d recommend?
Chris: I would like to see older characters, once in a while. We all want to get lost in feeling younger. But a hero/heroine in their 40 is a nice change.
Maryse: I’m right there with you guys!!! 😀 I want 30-40-something year olds, with real life issues, and of course realistic push-pull, or enemies-to-lovers. Not necessarily second chance romance. I’m in the mood for a first meeting. I like grumpy neighbors, bumping into someone at a bar… bad dates… and then rejection, or well… you know. KA style. …the two romances I’ve started (I’m 25% in, for both) and they feel… too young for my mood right now.
Tara: Maryse, can this be a new favorite list on your blog?
Maryse: Absolutely!!! I’m on it, as we speak. 😀
Suzy: Thanks for the recommendations as well for me. I like older characters too.
Becca: I’m about to hit 30, so I’m starting to really connect more with the older characters.
Michelle M: …older characters (I can’t believe I’m saying “older” when I share their 40-something age!)
bev: I used to be like that, lol. Old people and romance!=-O Now in mid thirties, well I’m not young, lol. I like that she writes these heroines who still change and find such happiness in their 30/40s. Plus in real life 20 year old guys…….kind of loud and annoying, lol. …One thing I really enjoy about KA is how she writes heroines changing their lives, jobs, making friends in their 30 &40s.
Maryse: This is going to be an AMAZING post!!!! I love reading about older couples too… it’s one of the reasons why I loved Kristen Ashley’s books so much (I could relate so much!!).
READER RECOMMENDED BOOKS WITH OLDER MAIN CHARACTERS:
Jessica: Jennifer Van Wyk’s From the Ground Up. An amazing book about a married couple that lost their spark and go away to try to get it back. Plus it’s older characters. Totally amazing!
Michelle: Jennifer Van Wyk has a fabulous series with older characters💕 And I love the way all of her characters intermingle from book to book!
Jennifer Van Wyk: Aside from one book, all my characters are in their mid-30’s to lower 40’s. Small town romance. 🙂
Ashley: Maryse – Have you read The Coppersmith Farmhouse (Jamison Valley Book 1) by Devney Perry? That one fits what you’re looking for. I’ve really enjoyed all of the books in the Jamison Valley Series, but that’s the first one.
Colleen: Big *hug* for the ‘The Coppersmith Farmhouse’ rec. I’ve gotten totally sucked down the rabbit hole with this series and it’s solved my big-time book slump. It also makes me want to book a vacation to one of those fancy clamping spots in Montana, Wyoming, etc. Hah!
Kathy P: The Birthday List (Maysen Jar Book 1) by Devney Perry …It is about a woman whose husband dies who tries to complete his bucket list. Definitely recommend reading it!
Kathy P: For those of us, cough, cough over the age of 40, I have really enjoyed the latest books by L.B. Dunbar. She has heroines and heroes over the age of 40 in second chance romances. I have read 3 of the 4 and would definitely recommend them. A nice change of pace 🙂
Kathy R: I just found her and have gone thru all of her Over 40 books.
Rebecca: Anything by Freya Barker, her Portland ME series is outstanding.
Aimee: Freya Barker, all day long. Real women with real issues and great stories. The Portland ME series are my favorites.
Tracey: I can’t recommend her books highly enough.
Kim: I second this!!!
Melissa: I’m reading Keeping 6 (Rock Point Book 1) by Freya Barker. It’s pretty good. The main character is 40 and the love interest is 44.
Julie H: Head Start (Cedar Tree Book 7) by Freya Barker is amazing!!! Smoking hot and full of suspense! Her heroes are hot as hell and her heroines are strong and sassy. I love her cedar tree series and this is the last book in the series and she knocked it out of the park with this one!
Sheri: Head Start by Freya Barker! It was a wonderful book and I hope y’all give it a chance!!
Yamara: Megan Hart has older characters and she’s an amazing writer
Maryse: I LOVE HER TOO!!! Yessss!!!
Yamara: i just did Deeper and Tear You Apart on audio. Contemplating if my heart can take another one 😂
Sharon: There is something about her writing style that always draws me in.
Maryse: I power read a bunch of her books back in 2012? HOLY MOLY they were intense and SO different and pretty daring at times. I had never read anything like that (and at times, my stomach churning with nerves but I was always so satisfied after each story). They weren’t always perfect but I was ALWAYS so excited to get into a new story. I never knew what I was getting in to, with each one. Kind of contemporary romance but with that dark and somber edge to her stories. And twisty… love her! I was absolutely hooked on her!
P.S. Here are my reviews:
Debra: Daisy Prescott writes amazing books and hasn’t disappointed me yet
Lisa: Im reading Daisy Prescott – Anything But Love now and loving it. Now her writing style I really enjoy. And love that she does only male POV so her books have that Tangled feel of being in Drew’s clueless man-brain!
Nadine: I LOVED Daisy Prescott’s new book, Missionary Position (republished as “Wanderlust”). It was so romantic, sexy, witty and well-written.
Jeanie V: Loved Ready to Fall (Wingmen Book 1) by Daisy Prescott! Sexy lumberjack! That. Is. All! 🙂
Tasha J: Maryse, Jojo Moyes- One Plus One: A Novel. Not K.A. style, but you’ll love it. I’m sure of it. Little grumpy meet, fun road trip, real life problems, a little drama, funny, brainy kid, moody kid, and romance!! That was probably poorly described, but you should try it!
Monica: Have you read Jennifer Theriot’s books. They are what you are looking for.
- Lesley Jone’s Saviour series. “…really good too in a angsty way.”
- KM Golland’s Temptation series, and
Stephanie: I love reading but I am a picky reader. I have started Temptation (book 1 in the temptation series) by K.M. Golland. It is sooo good!
Andrea: I finished the Temptation series by K.M. Golland. If you haven’t read those yet, you should. Great story!
- Freya Barker’s books
Michelle M: The Will (The Magdalene Series Book 1) Just finished this one last night. As usual, I love KA! I liked that Jake and Josie were older characters (I can’t believe I’m saying “older” when I share their 40-something age!) since their life experiences, successes and failures, were a real part of their story. Jake was a great alpha-male character but not too jerky. Josie’s class was strong but she still had sweetness. And I loved her relationship with Amber. I hope KA can give us more Mickey, more Conner, more Coert… they all have some serious potential for great KA reads!
bev: the H/h are in their mid to late forties. Nothing YA about Jake he owns a boxing gym and a strip club, lol.
Danette: The Will (released 2014) is my absolute favorite and I go back to it time and time again. While there are traces of the “typical” KA hero and heroine, in The Will they seemed so much more down to earth and mature. The problems more realistic and their responses more believable. It reminded me why I love KA so much and will continue to buy her books. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it. Maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as me…
BookLady: One of my favorite single dad romances is The Will by Kristen Ashley.
Megan: The Will- loved it but cried like a loon at the end.
Maryse: Great one!! Here’s my Book Review!!
Becca: …Mid Life Love by Whitney G. Loved it! I cried, I laughed, I wanted to punch and hug (and steal the male lead, Jonathan). I was heartbroken with them, frustrated with them, and blue-in-the-face hopeful with them. GREAT read! Plus! I loved that Claire wasn’t a 24-28 yr old. I’m about to hit 30, so I’m starting to really connect more with the older characters.
Carrmen: Mid Life Love. Her car is towed from the office parking-lot because of some rule the boss implemented. The boss later becomes the love interest. It’s a really really good book and I enjoyed it very much.
Belle: Mid Life Love its fan-effing-tastick!! And the sequel Mid Life Love: At Last is even better. If you subscribe to Whitneys newsletter you get extra scenes that she makes up to follow these books. Totally awesome!!! I just FLove her!
Kristen Proby: The characters in my Romancing Manhattan series are in their late 30’s/early 40’s.
Holly: Kristen Proby’s Love Under The Big Sky series – set in the mountains, I loved it so much!! Also Alice Clayton – her books are BRILLIANT!
Helen: With Me in Seattle Series …I love all the men from the With Me in Seattle Series by Kristen Proby. Love alpha males!!!!!!!!!
Linda: With Me in Seattle Series by Kristen Proby. Recommend reading in order. They’re lighter reads and have fallen in love with every single one. Fantastic!!!
Julie: PJ Fiala has a series the Rolling Thunder series. The couples are older.
K.D. Robichaux: The characters in my Knight: A Club Alias Novel are in their 30s, and BONUS: the heroine is older than her hottie hero! Also, my Steal You: A Standalone Dark Romance, cowritten with the amazingly talented CC-Monroe. The hero is in his 40s. It’s an age-gap trope. Professor/student.
bev: Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain Series Book 2)…..I honestly Loved Tate even though he can be an ass. And I really liked the story of Laurie taking this journey and changing her life, in big ways, in her 40s inspiring. Plus I liked that it was different in that she left the big house, high powered job, and rich husband.
D.G.: Sweet Dreams by KA…my fav! Love the way Laurie bonds with Jonas and Tate loves her all the more for it!
Michelle S: I found Sweet Dreams, then went and hid for months reading every single KA novel ever.
Lynne: I’m currently rereading Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley for the umpteenth time, I tell you, this woman’s talent is limitless. I’ve loved every single book of hers I’ve ever read, I think I’ve read all but about 3!!!!!!!!
Maryse: The VERY first book I have ever read by Kristen Ashley and my ultimate favorite of hers AND!!! One of my ultimate favorite books EVER in the history of my reading. HOLY MOLY I fell hard and pined hard and suffered and thrilled!!! I had never read anything like it before. Here’s my Book Review 😀
Lia: I think Brenda Novak’s The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand Book 6) (romantic suspense) has an older (mid-40s) heroine as well
Robyn: The Never Too Late Series by Donna McDonald has older heroines and is really fantastic.
Alisa: How about Donna McDonald? She has several, but the ones Dating A Cougar and Dating a Cougar II in her Never Too Late series. There are also some older characters in her Art in Love series. I love these books.
Kathryn: #TripleX by Angelisa Stone and Christine Zolendz – a journey of two women in their forties who learn self-love. I read this 2 yrs ago and it is has stayed with me since, definitely a favorite. One of the funniest books I’ve read about a woman starting over, losing weight, and finding herself. So many laugh out loud moments! I also really related to these women and their struggles.
Kelly: Elin Hilderbrand books
Amy: I’m reading The Rumor: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand, and I am really liking it! No angst, no ugly crying, no twisting of my gut, and nothing traumatic, but I keep dropping my iPad and covering my face and saying “oh sh!t” so I’m having fun with it! 😀
Tanya: Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher comes to mind
Jenn: I finished “Bad Mommy’-I Can Be A Better You! All I have to say besides it was 5 stars for me….the last statement in the book was so “chilling” I seriously would love to hang out with TR and drink wine…on second thought it would probably need to be whiskey…… 🙂
Kerry: Badd Daddy by Jasinda Wilder
Jan: The Fall by Nia Forrester. I don’t normally enjoy this trope but it’s so well done in this book. She’s a feisty independent highly intelligent college professor in her forties who likes a one night stand but nothing deeper. He’s a new faculty member, late thirties, divorced, and has just written the latest hot button book. I think there’s about 8 years between them?? They are attracted and have what she THINKS is the classic one nighter, but he’s not going to let her get away……. It’s a great read.
Tia: Outlander starts young, but goes 20 years in the second book
Molly: The Dream Series by Isabelle Peterson I LOVE this series! The fact that the main female character was in her forties and feeling unappreciated in her marriage caught my eye. Isabelle’s writing made me a devoted fan of hers.
Lisa S: Isabelle Peterson’s Dream series has Elizabeth 42-43; Shelby 39; Caterina at 41.
Lisa S: I have a group called Romance In Her Prime for romance heroines in their prime of 30 and up, if you might be interested in joining. (SIDENOTE: P.S. Here are a bunch of her own recommendations for this list):
- Liz Durano has A Different Kind Of Love series with heroines in their 30s and 40s.
- Maggie Wells’ Love Games series
- Mary Castillo has a paranormal romance series and other stories with heroines 30 and up.
- Stacy Eaton has a detective series with the heroines in their 30s.
- AJ Harmon’s First Class series has Janie (42-43) and Katy (45) in the forst three books, and they make appearances in the rest of the series.
- PE Kavanagh has Friends and Lovers series with three heroines in their 30s.
PE Kavanagh: and one in The Price Series with a heroine in her 40s.
- Lainie Suzanne Nexus series.
- Sandra Antonelli has a sexy, spy series with a female butler, 50, and a spy, 45.
Natasha: I love her series!
- Temper Saga trilogy by Lila Mina
Lina: Thank you Lisa! Maryse- it’s a dark LGBTQ and interracial PNR with two heroines in their late thirties and early forties, and a hero in his fifties.
- Lynne Morgan Spreen has the Karen Grace series. Karen is 50 and has an awesome road trip.
- For older women (30s-40s)/ younger men romances, Cory Cyr
Robyn: Didn’t Carry the World have older MCs? At least in their mid thirties?
Leah: Most of Susan Fanetti books are amazing and the characters are always deep and interesting
Bethany Lopez: The characters in my Cupcakes Series are in their 30’s!
Maddie Wade: My Fortis Security Series has characters in their mid to late 30s.
Princess Racena McConnell: I have 2 books in a series and the characters are in their 40’s. I’ll include the link for the first book, the second is titled Shattering The Damned.
Laura: Jewel E. Ann writes books for adults as well. She NEVER disappoints
Drue: Anything by Deanndra Hall
Laura: Michelle Pace has a novel coming out soon that is absolutely wonderful and it is completely about older adults and REAL life. So good. It’s titled True Gold.
Yvonne: Julie A Richman Searching for Moore series
Chrissy: I loves this series! Julie Richman is a favorite!
H.A. Robinson: I believe Nikki Ashton’s Pelvic Flaws: Second Chance British Comedy Romance fits the bill xx
Rebecca: The hero & heroine in several of my books are all over thirty. Here are three I recommend:
- Not Quite Perfect (The Rocky Cove Series Book 1)
- The Vintner’s Vixen (The River Hill Series Book 1)
- The Distiller’s Darling (The River Hill Series Book 2)
Roya Carmen: I’m not usually one to self-promote but… The Ground Rules trilogy… characters in their 30s… just saying… 🙂
Leslie M: I absolutely loved The Ground Rules…talk about pretzel tummy… …Ground Rules was EPIC!
Amy: The Ground Rules…damn that 5-star book that STILL stirs up the worst emotions in me every time I think about it and even at the most random times, like when I’m driving on the freeway. Then road rage kicks in and lord help the poor souls in my lane. 😕
JulieO: I truly loved the Ground Rules series and especially the ending. I thought it was perfect.
Leslie M: Julie O, The Ground Rules series was unputdownable for me. One of those where I was kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. I think a lot of people’s disappointment with 3rd book is what held me off, but I was happy with the ending.
Jean: … I loved how Ground Rules ended!
Amy: Okay Maryse, I’ve got one for you. …it’s realistic. And you WILL get some feels. And confusion. And WTF-is-going-on. And I *believe* they were late twenties to mid thirties. 1986 by Morgan Parker. Deals with buildup to the Chernobyl meltdown. And a cheating wife. And it’s bittersweet. And ohhhhhhh has it stuck with me even after all this time. My heart ached at the end for so many reasons. So. Many. Reasons. I had no idea who was the right guy and who was the wrong guy. Now I want to go and re-read the last quarter of it…
Cat Porter: My Lock & Key series books all have heroes and heroines in their early 40s! 🙂 <3
Nay: I finally read Lock and Key, the biker book by Cat Porter that’s been on my tbr for years, and I loved it! Lots of yummy, sexy biker brooding and grit without being over the top. And now I’m moving on to the next one.
Lisa: I think Lock and Key’s second story was the gut puncher for me….Random and Rare. I will NEVER forget that book! It did a number on me. Like… I would find myself tearing up at traffic lights when my mind wandered back to that book…or, inconveniently, while supermarket shopping!! Lets blame it on silly mid life hormones but ‘it ruined me’ is an understatement. …I know theyre oldies and perhaps everyone else has already read them BUT if you haven’t PLEASE PLEASE read these books.
Johanna: Corinne Michaels also writes “older” characters as well
Pat: Corinne Michaels also. Sexy, funny, romantic, great characters.
Linda: We Own Tonight by Corinne Michaels is a brilliant read guys!!! Wasn’t sure what to expect but this author has become an automatic for me!! She. Did. Not. Disappoint. Easy 5 stars!!! …Loved it. Go to author for sure!!
Cindy: I cant remember her age, but she was a widow with children…so maybe she fits the criteria. The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson. A total 5 star for me
Maryse: I LOVED THAT ONE!!!!! (Here’s my Book Review)
Roya: Yes, loved that one too!
Karin: Oh my gosh, “The Five Stages of Falling in Love.” Pure Gold!!
Tessa: I gotta say, I really did love Five Stages of Falling in Love. Amy said it perfectly; it was beautiful. Such a sweet story and so many feels.
➔➔➔ Looking for more of our favorite recommendations? Browse our “Ultimate Favorites Lists” here. Are you in the mood for a certain kind of story? Browse our favorite “genre/trope categories” here and our reader favorites lists too.
➔➔➔ Love this trope? Browse more books with older characters on my blog. 😀