The best romances with seasoned heroines

Susan B. James Author Of Time and Forever
By Susan B. James

Who am I?

My real name is Susan Berger and I'm a certified bookaholic. I'm also an actor and I love my work. Being older has been very lucky for me. I wrote children’s books as Susan J Berger. COVID closed my publisher and I'm not actively submitting at the moment. I write romance as Susan B James because I didn’t want my children to have to acknowledge that their mother knew anything about sex. Falling in love and living happily ever after is an ageless state. But in romance novels heroines are mostly under thirty. I happen to be chronologically gifted myself. And many of my favorite romances feature older heroines. I think we need more.

I wrote...

Time and Forever

By Susan B. James,

Book cover of Time and Forever

What is my book about?

Two women in their sixties time travel to 1969—London and Los Angeles. One finds an old love. One finds a new. But time travel has rules. And that's a problem...

Being in their sixties has its perks. Sherry is a successful businesswoman. Lorena’s an actress on a popular sitcom. Sherry’s husband dumped her for a younger woman eighteen years ago. Lorena’s husband died of cancer. Sherry wants a second chance at love. Lorena doesn’t think second chances are possible. She can’t imagine loving anyone but Dave. But when a glitch in a Virtual Reality Adventure game sends them back to 1969 London, “possible” takes on a whole new dimension. Are they willing to pay the price to alter their future?

The books I picked & why

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Crocodile on the Sandbank

By Elizabeth Peters,

Book cover of Crocodile on the Sandbank

Why this book?

I am a sucker for dry wit and feisty independent heroines who aren’t looking for love but find it as an incidental to the story. I first read an Elizabeth Peters novel when she was writing as Barbara Michaels. 

Once I discover an author I love I have to read everything they wrote. I found out Barbara Michaels had another identity— Elizabeth Peters. O Frabjous joy! Another author to devour! I read Crocodile on The Sandbank and fell in love with her takeoff on Victorian literature and her intrepid heroine, Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. Crocodile on The Sandbank is the first book in what turned into a series spanning a thirty-nine-year period—1884 through 1923. I bought every book as soon as it was published. The only book of the series I own in paperback is Crocodile and I have lent it and/or given it away to so many people. In this first book Amelia journeys to Egypt to find a tomb to excavate and encounters a mystery and the brilliant irascible Egyptologist Emerson Radcliffe. She and her beloved Radcliffe are a romance for the ages. 

Bring on the Blessings

By Beverly Jenkins,

Book cover of Bring on the Blessings

Why this book?

In 2014 I went to my first Romance Writers of America Conference in New York City. On the first day, a five-author panel discussed the romance genre and read excerpts from their work in a shaded area of the park at the back of the NYC public library. One of the panelists was my favorite author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (which is why I was at the discussion.) At the time I had never read a Beverly Jenkins book.

When I heard her speak and read an excerpt I knew I wanted to read her books. I bought the two books she had with her. When I got back to the hotel room I was sharing with my editor and her best friend I realized the books were numbers four and five in a series. Bummer.

I wanted to start reading her right away. I went online and bought the first—Bring on The Blessings. And I adored it. The book had a great premise. (She bought an entire town and planned to fix it up to raise foster kids and their chosen families.) It was filled with humor, heart, and so many relatable characters and romance. I read through all the published books in the series and then bought each one as it came out. Book 11—A Christmas To Remember—will be coming out in October. I’ve pre-ordered it. And I will save it for my Christmas read. Beverly also introduced me to African American Historical romance. I just got a copy of her latest historical—To Catch a Raven.

Natural Born Charmer

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

Book cover of Natural Born Charmer

Why this book?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is hands down my favorite author for her humor, her voice, and her willingness to put older heroines in her books.

Natural Born Charmer has a wonderful B Story about a charismatic but aging rock star and a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past. I don't want to admit how many times I’ve read it.

The Sugar Queen

By Sarah Addison Allen,

Book cover of The Sugar Queen

Why this book?

Sarah Addison Allen’s books enchanted me at first read. In her books, what others consider weird or magical are an ordinary part of life.

Josey Cirrini still lives with her unloving mother. She hides her favorite thing in her closet. A stack of romance novels and a stockpile of sugary treats. This was her sanctuary until Della Lee Baker, a cranky waitress in the town, moves into Josey’s closet.

Chloe Finley’s life is sprinkled with books that follow her around.

Sarah weaves their lives together into a beautiful magical story where the color red has startling powers and passion can make eggs fry in their carton. Oh, try her, please?

Maybe This Time

By Jennifer Crusie,

Book cover of Maybe This Time

Why this book?

Jennifer Crusie writes some of the funniest heroines I ever met. I adore her voice and I wanted to add her to my list. When I went to Jen’s blog ArghInk to ask her which of her heroines was over forty. She said Andie.

Andie’s ex-husband North wants one last favor from her as closure. Help him settle the two delinquent orphans he inherited from a distant relative. He knows Andie can handle anything.

Her new fiancée isn’t pleased. When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What's worse, Andie's fiancé thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right.

I read Maybe This Time a long time ago. Twice. When I went to read it again this week, I discovered I’d lent it. I couldn’t check it out of the library. I was 15th on the hold list. So I rebought it.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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