Happily Ever After...Again
By Emly Forrest
A friend of mine called last week to announce that her mother (a widow for many years) was planning to remarry. Her intended was an old family friend who had also lost his partner years ago. The wedding would be a simple affair, no presents please. The bride would not be wearing white.
My friend was thrilled for her mom, of course, but couldn’t keep a hint of amusement from her voice. I had to suppress a snicker myself. Her mom is eighty-five. The prospective groom? Eighty-eight.
Hope springs eternal, I suppose. Regardless of how much we assume we’ll get older, wiser, and less susceptible to the siren song of romance, it seems always to exert its magnetic pull.
This is one of the reasons I like to write romantic novels that include protagonists with a more classic vintage. While I’ve never explored one quite as old as my friend’s mother, I do tend to gravitate toward women who are well into their thirties and forties.
Take Murph Ryder, for instance. The heroine of The Last Resort (Lyrical Press 2010), Murph is starting over in her late forties. She must restructure her identity in life and in love. She’s not ancient and still attractive, but looking for a new personal path and flounders for firm footing through the first half of the story. My hope was to create a character that real women (of a certain age, especially) might recognize. Someone they’d at least like to hang out with if not emulate. And while Murph finds love (again), she’s not defined by it. Or by the object of her lust. Which is not to say she fails to be thoroughly caught up in a romantic encounter or two. Simply that she’s not a love-struck sap when opportunities present. She’s less willing to suppress her basic nature in the interest of love. There are rules for her this time around. Boundaries she won’t allow to be breeched. Her heart is tougher, stronger, more resilient and maybe a little wary.
In my world, this is what separates the dames from the damsels. The older the woman, the more likely she is to have felt the full-body tingle of new love, experienced the heartbreak of rejection, and then plunge fearlessly back into the search for love when she finds herself alone again. Except, she keeps her eyes and ears open wide the second (or third or fourth) time around. And she’s less likely to fall for a jerk, even if he is a hottie.
Is his six-pack surrounded by a little bubble pack? Do his temples shimmer with a glint of silver? No matter. The woman of a certain age has a figure flaw or two herself, but is confident enough to know it’s not the end of her romantic world.
Sometimes, if the older woman is open-minded, a younger man may find his way into her heart (and boudoir). It’s more common than you’d think. And just as appealing as you might suspect.
Jessica Grandville (the unwitting cougar of Irish Ice [Lyrical Press, March 2011), finds herself drawn into the arms of a younger man, albeit one who has more moxy and sophistication than many older guys. And the aura of danger and mystery that surrounds this man gives Jessica ample reason to stay interested, despite the many problems she’s anticipating in a relationship with a younger guy.
And still romance persists. Is it reasonable to think that older women are capable of falling in love and worthy of being loved? Of course it is. I don’t know about you, but the very fact of it gives me great hope, both professionally and personally.
Emly Forrest lives on the run. She, her husband and Shorty the Wonderdog are full-time RVers, living, working and traveling in a smallish camper trailer. When she is not driving to some distant shore or lofty vista, she takes time out to explore the steamy side of life through her writing. Often inspired by characters she has met while traveling and her experiences on the road, Emly looks for the unusual and the unexpected to bring a sense of uniqueness to her stories. She is the author of The Last Resort and Irish Ice, both available from Lyrical Press. Please visit her at www.EmlyForrest.com