I am a huge fan of May/Dec romances! I will seek them out whenever I can. May/Dec romances rank right up there with 1) ex-convict wrongfully accused and 2) marriage of convenience. In almost **all** of Victoria Holt’s novels, the hero was way older than the heroine. Usually the hero was married (married for convenience, not love) or had a mistress. Also, these are gothics so it’s expected….the mysterious hero, magical chemistry…la,la.la
If you enjoy reading May/Dec romances: What makes May/Dec romances work? What makes makes it not be an ick factor? If you don’t like them, why?
Do you prefer the woman older? The man? I have no preference. I am interested in the conflicts that separates them or draws them together. In Family Blessings by LaVyrle Spencer – as much as I enjoyed the book, I just couldn’t buy the relationship or the HEA. The heroine was older. The hero was like 32 and the heroine was late 40’s? They hadn’t much of a spark. However, I am relying on memory here as it’s been awhile since I’ve read Family Blessings but it was pretty much believable and understandable as to why the heroine avoided any romantic entanglements with the hero. As with everything, it really comes down to the talent of the author to make the reader believe that this relationship despite the age difference – the relationship can still work and be believable.
May/Dec Romances that worked for me and this is not an all inclusive list either:
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: Claire is older than Jamie
The Older Woman by Cheryl Reavis: well the title says it all
The Admiral’s Bride by Suzanne Brockmann: hero was older and I wanted to have his children. Let me tell you: the first time I read this book, the prologue showed the hero was in Vietnam and he was a war hero and he hadn’t met the heroine yet so I was busy figuring out how much older he would be over the heroine. I think she was in her 30’s and he was in his 50’s. Other than Asaro’s SF/F novels, I’d never read a story where there was that much of an age difference. However, it didn’t bother me.
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro: heroine is way older than hero. A little backstory: In Asaro’s world, some people are not exactly human? Some are technically enhanced. So they can live longer and still look and feel young, so it’s not unusual that the hero or heroine is 25+ years older/younger. I know that is a major ick factor for some readers but it wasn’t for me. This is science fiction after all.
Anyone But You by Jennifer Cruise: heroine is older and the hero is a doctor. Excellent story and if you haven’t read it yet? Where have you been?
What the Heart Knows by Kathleen Eagle : BYRON lists this one as May/Dec but I can’t recall right. I think the hero is slightly younger than the heroine. Excellent story, btw.
The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory. Excellent story, the hero is much older. You don’t hear much about this book but those readers who have read it won’t part with it.
Beast by Judith Ivory. My first Ivory novel and I loved it. Reader response varies. Hero is older as this is a historical novel where the heroes tend to be much older.
Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory. Heroine is older and it worked. She was also…experienced, too. Another favorite Ivory title. I loved, loved, loved the hero.
Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi. Hero is younger. Another favorite. It’s been years since I last read it but I remembered enjoying it very much.
One Summer by Karen Robards. Loved this book. Hero is younger. The suspense was rather weak in 1993 and Ms. Robards still writes romantic suspense, still, with no success, today. Please just stick to romance. Please. I beg you.
Years by LaVyrle Spencer. Hero is much older. Loved this book. Loved it. Need to reread.
That’s my list. What’s yours?