Aug 6, 2012

The Age Of Difference .......

By Helen Lacey

 A few days ago I received the cover for the US version of my November
release, Marriage Under The Mistletoe and to say I was happy is putting it mildly. I love what the Harlequin art people have done,  and my heroine and hero look just as I imagined they would. 

 Within a day of putting the cover and back blurb on my website I received a reader email explaining how she had read the first book in the series and would never have expected these two characters in the second book to end up together. She also said she was really looking forward to reading it, which is nice, because she had also fallen in love with a younger man. This book was the first time I had written the older-woman/younger-man theme and I must admit it was a whole lot of fun. But the reader email got me thinking – if the nine year age difference was the other way around, would it have even garnered a blip on anyone’s radar? Probably not.

I grew up reading Harlequin Presents books and often there were heroes and heroines with up to fifteen years or more between them. And some of my favourite classic characters – Rochester and Jane Eyre, Rhett and Scarlett, Emma and Mr Knightly – these heroines were very young and had much older heroes. Did anyone notice how much older the (still) divine Harrison Ford was than Julie Ormond in Sabrina? Perhaps not in the way Sandra Bullock and (the also divine) Ryan Reynolds were in The Proposal. And in Hollywood, the older-woman/younger-man relationship seems to constantly be under the microscope, whether they succeed or not - think Demi and Ashton, Susan and Tim (Robbins), Goldie and Kurt. But does anyone know how many years separate George Clooney and his new squeeze? Not me!

So, do you like reading romances about women falling for younger men – or, like me, do you not really care how many years separate them and just want that sweet and satisfying happy ending?


  1. Ten years between my DH and me, and we recently celebrated our 31st anniversary. I don't care about age differences in either direction - in real life or in my books. I have learned that two people the same age can divorce just as quickly as two people not even close in ages (or quicker), and the younger person could die before the older person, so why not enjoy what time you have, whatever number of years that is....

  2. Hi Laney4 - I absolutely agree. And congratulations on your 31 years. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Helen, No wonder you're chuffed with that cover. I would be too.

    Personally I don't mind the ages of the characters so long as I can truly believe they're falling in love. Having said that, the few romances I recall with an older woman, have been lots of fun and intriguing too. How lovely to get reader feedback and interest so fast.

  4. Hi Annie - I agree, it's a solid and believable romance that matters. I remember reading a book called Trusting Ryan by Tara Taylor Quinn a a few years back and the hero was 22, the heroine 35. And it worked. So clearly its all in the storytelling.
    Glad you like my new cover too :)

  5. Hey Helen! What a *gorgeous* cover =)
    I don't mind age differences. If people are in love and happy, more power to ''em!
    But like Annie said, if the premise is centered around the woman being older, it can be really interesting. Remember Samantha and her SITC final season toyboy? That really worked for me =)

  6. Hi Robyn - glad you like the cover. Me too :) You're right about SITC - and interestingly, Big was a fair bit older than CB, but no one probably noticed. Seems we all just want a great story :)

  7. Love the cover, Helen.
    And funny but I'm reading a book at the moment where the guy is nine years younger than the heroine. It works, as it does in real life.

  8. Hi Sue - is it a cat rom or mainstream? Love it when books feel real.

  9. Isn't our preconceptions about age a funny thing? I've read some older heroine/younger man romances and they've been fab.

    When I was writing The Man Who Saw Her Beauty I had my hero a couple of years older than my heroine (because you do, generally, don't you?), but then a copy editor picked up that if he'd had a child when he was 18, he'd have to be several years younger than I had him in the story's present. And a couple of years younger than the heroine. And it worked perfectly. :-)

  10. Hi Michelle - I have The Man Who Saw Her Beauty on my kindle and can't wait to read it. :)

  11. My first dad was 9 years older than my mum, and they were very happily married for almost 15 years; he died shortly after I was born.

    My second dad is 9 years younger than my mum, and this year they'll be celebrating their 20th anniversary.

    Both ways interest me - older and younger, it's interesting to see the dynamics. Any age difference can work out - it depends on the people involved.

  12. Hi katanasundancer - thank you for sharing the lovely story about your mum. And you're right, it's all about the people in the relationship that make it work, not the years between them. Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. Hey, Helen,
    I think katanasundancer summed it up well - it depends on the the people involved. I imagine the age difference might be something to consider at the beginning but once a relationship is established I wonder if a couple even really thinks of it - unless it was pointed out to them. Which it is constantly with the high-profile relationships so I think that might be a bit difficult.