Welcome to the first Hidden Gems post of the Sapphic Book Bingo 2024!
As you might remember, the Hidden Gems categories represent themes, tropes, and character archetypes that aren’t quite as common in sapphic fiction.
While age gap romances—where one character is usually over 40, while the other isn’t—are very popular, sapphic books in which both characters are over 40 are harder to find. LGBTQ+ books, romances in particular, tend to focus on younger characters, missing a chance to explore the nuances of identity, love, and life after 40.
For this category, choose a book with TWO main characters in their mid-age and beyond.
Check out the rules & download your Sapphic Book Bingo card
If you haven’t done so already, check out the rules of the Sapphic Book Bingo and download your Hidden Gems bingo card. Then come back here to take a look at my suggestions for the first Hidden Gems category below.
15 recommended sapphic books with two main characters over 40
Below, you’ll find a list of 15 sapphic books that have two main characters over 40:
Midlife is the Cat’s Meow by TB Markinson & Miranda MacLeod
A witch without powers. A secret to die for. A midlife sapphic awakening.
A few months ago, I thought I had it all. My life as a forty-something suburban mom in Cleveland might not have been stimulating, but sometimes excitement is overrated. Like when FBI agents knock down your door on the hunt for your crook of a husband. Thrilling? Maybe. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
After twenty-five years, I’m returning home without a penny to my name. But there are far worse things than living in your family’s bed-and-breakfast on a remote island in Maine. Being a witch who’s lost her powers, for example. Or having two daughters on the brink of getting their magic and having no idea they’re witches.
Of Love and Libraries by Brenna Bailey
Dylan Lavoie won’t take retirement sitting down. After four decades as head librarian, the septuagenarian has one month to raise enough funds to save her library and her job. Not even the unexpected return of the adventurous childhood confidant who once abandoned her can stop her from saving her sanctuary.
Fifty years ago, Frankie Chan fled heartbreak in Juniper Creek to chase excitement as a wildlife photographer. When the recent retiree reluctantly returns home for her mom’s funeral, she finds her beloved library under siege and the snarky bibliophile she still pines after fighting its closure. How can Frankie ignore the excuse to reconnect with the only woman she’s ever loved—even if she can’t stay?
As the two fundraise at the Pumpkin Days events, Frankie dares to hope the years have changed Dylan’s mind about them—but what if she’s wrong? Can Dylan and Frankie forgive their painful past to save the library and find their second chance at love before it’s too late?
Write Your Own Script by A. L. Brooks
Beloved famous British actress Tamsyn Harris is in her early fifties and works hard to prove she’s still got “it”, despite her age. That means never revealing she’s a lesbian, for fear it would threaten her acclaimed career. After an on-set incident blows up, she disappears to a retreat to lay low for a while.
Maggie Cooper is a successful author with two pseudonyms and suffering from burn out. It’s hard enough trying to maintain both worlds, let alone keep them separate from real life. After checking herself into a retreat in Norfolk, the last thing she expects to find is the respected, beautiful actress she’s had a crush on her whole life.
As passion sweeps them up, they agree it can only be a holiday fling. But is that enough? Can they just return to their lives and leave each other behind?
Mending Bones by Merlina Garance
Claire, a Detective Inspector in her late forties, has known and worked with Estelle for many years. Ever since they met, it felt like there could have been something more there: Estelle’s gentle flirting and compliments have been a constant in Claire’s life, but her self confidence never allowed her to truly believe the other woman meant anything by it.
Until one day, Claire breaks her leg and finds out soon after that Estelle has decided to retire from the police, at only 56. Something doesn’t feel right there, but before Claire can begin to ask more questions, Estelle offers to take her away to her seaside cottage for a week. After all, with Claire on sick leave and Estelle retired, they both have the time.
Surely a week of lazy mornings, too much food and wine, and walks through the countryside aren’t enough to make Claire fall when she’s resisted for so long?
Not Too Old by Ann Tonnell
Who says steamy relationships are only for the young? In Not Too Old, Samantha (Sam) Avery challenges the parking monitor to avoid getting a ticket. Deb Martin admits her error, but surprisingly, she facilitates an up close and personal encounter. Neither expect the resulting fireworks. Both sixty-something women recognize life’s temporal nature as they negotiate a new relationship while maneuvering personal loss and grief.
Sovereign Chance by CJ Murphy
Sheriff Chance Fitzsimmons and her wife Jax have had more than their share of turmoil in the last few years since reconnecting. The couple has finally settled peacefully into married life. A tragic twist of fate shifts their focus to something they couldn’t have been prepared for.
Self-declared Sovereign Citizens are discovered within Tucker County, one with ties to a violent group in the Midwest. Concern turns into a dangerous reality when a simple vehicle accident sends Chance, and Chief Deputy Taylor Lewis, down a path of investigation with more hairpin turns than the backroads of Tucker County.
In this fourth book of the Five Points Series, the winds of change, both political and natural, are blowing into Tucker county. Chance and Jax’s family comes under scrutiny as they stand together to protect someone with the deck stacked against them. The stakes are high as the Fitzsimmons clan proves nothing is impossible when you have love on your side.
What Works For Us by TL Travis
A lady walks into a bar…
Isn’t that the way it always starts? Bad joke or not, this is what my life had been reduced to. How does one begin again over the age of forty?
Instead of China, as was the customary gift for your twentieth anniversary, my husband decided to serve me with divorce papers. Literally that very day. Instead of citing irreconcilable differences, he informed me that not only did he have a girlfriend, but she was pregnant.
It took me weeks until I felt strong enough to venture out into the land of singles. And when I did, I quickly found it wasn’t the place for me. I’d resigned myself to call it a night after dismissing the final tool spewing his BS pick up line, when all I thought I knew about myself was swiftly cast aside when she spoke.
Her voice alone sent shivers down my spine…
Kat’s Nine Lives by Laina Villeneuve
Wedding bells are ringing for Kat Morehart—just not her own. When the church she works for refuses to let a gay couple marry in the sanctuary, she aims to make it up to them by offering her home as the perfect venue. It will take an act of faith to pull it off at the historic home she shares with her quirky parents.
Caterer Wendy Archer enjoys the business Kat directs her way and their friendship even more. Though she loves how much Kat cares for others, Wendy has to wonder at times how she fits into Kat’s life.
As they work together to create the perfect setting for the wedding, Kat and Wendy struggle to fight what simmers between them.
Cheerfully Yours by Laura W Chance
It has been one year since Julie, wife and partner of Hilary (To Cornwall, with Love), passed away from cancer. Now, Hilary is trying to figure out life on her own again, but is struggling to pull herself out of her grief and depression. During her first year of bereavement, Alice has never been far away, always hoping that Hilary will be with her one day. But once they form a romantic relationship, Hilary wonders if she can love Alice as much as she deserves to be loved.
Secret Keepers by K. A. Moll
Get ready for a rollercoaster ride of love, secrets, and surprises in Secret Keepers, the fourth book in the captivating Dallin series. When famous actress Melanie Dyson arrives in the small town of Dallin seeking medical treatment from her old friend, she never expects to find love with the shy and handsome waitress Margaret Miller at Dinah’s Bistro. Despite their differences, they share undeniable chemistry, and romantic sparks sizzle. But when a nosy reporter exposes Melanie’s health condition and sexual orientation to the world, their lives are thrown into chaos. Can they find their way back to one another? Their journey is a heartwarming tale.
Honey in the Marrow by Emily Waters
Stella Carter is a former criminal prosecutor and new widow facing down middle age alone in Los Angeles. Without being a prestigious lawyer and someone’s wife, she’s not sure who she is anymore or where her life is headed.
When she invites her niece to move in with her, Stella accidentally reconnects with her former colleague, LAPD Captain Elizabeth Murphy. The woman is beautiful but cold; someone she was always at odds with on the job.
Surprisingly, Stella finds herself leaning on her niece and Elizabeth more and more to navigate her loss. But as time goes on, Stella can’t keep seeing Elizabeth and pretending she’s not attracted to her. Besides, there’s absolutely no way Elizabeth feels the same way. Is there?
The Visitor by Angela McKenna
Lesbian Professor Helen Miller arrives in England from America. The last thing she expects is to be lodging with her friend Sophie’s reserved and anxious mother, Ingrid, but Sophie has told a big lie which pushes them all together under one roof and when Ingrid catches them both in what appears to be a compromising position, sparks fly.
Helen lurches from one calamity to another as she attempts to navigate through the storm of a family drama, teetering on the verge of being cast out, but desperate to stay. You see, despite Ingrid’s angry words and cold demeanour, Helen likes her, in fact, she likes her rather a lot and she’s wondering if, underneath all that cold fury, Ingrid likes her too…
With only three weeks left until she must return home to San Francisco, Helen fights for the true love she has always craved but will her own past, and Sophie’s lies, wreck any chance of future happiness? The clock is ticking.
Cabin Fever by Addison M. Conley
Kate Minton’s life is collapsing. She’s fired, her estranged father dies, and her girlfriend dumps her. Her older half-brothers inherit everything, and all Kate gets is a remote, rundown Idaho cabin that no one knew existed. But if Kate lives there for a year, she’ll inherit half a million dollars. The move leads her to family secrets and an infuriating, and inconveniently sexy, contractor. She goes for the money, but will she stay for something deeper?
Riley Anderson lives in rural Idaho, helping her aunt run the family store and maintaining her construction business, while also avoiding dealing with a past that continues to haunt her. When she takes on Kate’s cabin renovations, she’s not impressed with the city slicker. But as they’re forced to spend time together, they find they have more in common than either of them could have ever imagined.
Will the pull of the big city be too much to resist? Will Riley find the strength to trust Kate, or will cabin fever be too much to bear?
Two Lives, One Heart by Barbara Lynn Murphy
When techie Josie Molina is volunteered by her boss to visit an elementary school to discuss careers in Technology, she reluctantly agrees. Her reluctance vanishes when she meets and befriends teacher Trish McCann. Josie, an unapologetic lesbian, tries to ignore her attraction to Trish because getting involved with a straight woman is always a bad idea. For her part, Trish realizes that what she thought she knew about her sexuality is all wrong, and she allows herself to give in to her attraction to Josie. Once Trish is sure of her feelings, she knows she must break the news to her mother, Marilyn. In doing so, she learns of a long-buried family secret involving her grandmother Anna and her decades-long affair with her best friend Mary.
Anna O’Brien is a typical 1920s housewife with a husband and two small children. When she meets her new neighbor Mary Monahan, her world is turned upside down when they fall deeply in love. In a time when such a relationship was considered both taboo and immoral, Anna struggles to keep her family intact as she navigates her overpowering feelings for Mary.
This story traverses both past and present to depict the lives of Anna and Trish as they discover their true, authentic selves.
Country Living by Jen Silver
When Peri Sanderson achieves her dream of moving from London to a cottage in the English countryside, she expects her domestic bliss will be complete when her wife, Karla, leaves her London job to join her. Peri sees their future together as growing vegetables, tending some chickens, and chatting with the locals by a roaring log fire in a quaint village pub. Sexy urbanite, Karla, has other ideas and they don’t include a move to the countryside. Secrets are everywhere. Peri quickly senses something not quite right among her rural neighbours, and Karla is not quite the worldly wise woman-about-town that she thinks she is. Temptation, betrayal and intrigue combine to change the lives of both women beyond anything they could have imagined.
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What book will you be reading “sapphic books with both main characters over 40” category? Let us know in the comments!