I was excited the other day when I got a copy of Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. The main selling point for me on this one to be honest, is it’s a younger man/older woman book. Those are one of my favourite kind! Some of my best keepers are this storyline. One Summer by Karen Robards is probably the top one. I just love this one. The age difference isn’t that much but still Rachel is a few years older than Johnny. Another one I give top marks to is Hard Lovin’ Man by Lorraine Heath. I give her grief for leaving Westerns behind, but this one appeases me greatly. I’d be even more appeased if she wrote more contemporaries. They are almost as good as her Westerns.
Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone is another most excellent younger man/older woman book. When the top 100 Romances from AAR meme was going around not long ago, I always recommended this one to anyone who hasn’t read it.
I even like this them in historicals too although you don’t see it as much. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas and Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory are two that come to mind as historicals I really enjoyed.
Conversely, I don’t care very much at all for a vast difference in age with an older man/younger woman storyline. I have no desire for example to read The Admiral’s Bride by Suzanne Brockman. This is the only one of this series I haven’t read. I can’t think of that many contemporaries at the moment with a big age difference but a few historicals come to mind. The latest release by Eloise James for example, hold’s no interest whatsoever for me. These Old Shades, a favourite Georgette Heyer of many, didn’t work for me because he was so much older than she was. Again, using Lisa Kleypas, Because You’re Mine is one of my lesser favourites even though it’s well written and the hero is pretty good. But there is a bit of a disparity in age that bothers me. I can’t think of many examples to be honest because I tend to avoid them.
In thinking of why I feel the way I do, I’ve come up with a theory. It may be a bit whacked, but it works for me.
In order for a younger guy to be attracted to and fall in love with an older woman, I think he has to be willing to look past the surface, the outward appearance and be drawn more to the inner woman. Something about this just makes me melt. Sure, he’s also physically attracted to her too, that’s a given, but I think he cares more about what’s on the inside. I see older women (now that I am one myself) as more learned and less concerned with the outward appearance and more experienced and wiser. Ergo, if a younger guy is interested, he sees and wants the same thing. And the older woman appreciates a guy who appreciates her!
On the other hand, when I see an older man/younger woman storyline, I immediately think it’s just because she’s a pretty young thing and the main thing he’s thinking about is getting his rocks off. If that isn’t the case, why isn’t he interested in someone who matches him better in experience? No – he’s going for the youth because he’s more shallow. And the younger woman is looking for someone to take care of her rather than taking care of herself
I know I’m generalizing wildly here and of course this isn’t always the case. But it’s my gut reaction, wrong headed as it may be. And it certainly explains why I so much prefer one over the other .