For this week’s Book Unicorn post of the Sapphic Book Bingo, read a sapphic book in which at least one of the main characters is over 50.
In WLW and lesbian fiction, especially in romance, most of the protagonists seem to be in their 20s and 30s. Lately, I’ve seen more books with characters in their forties, but characters who are in their fifties and beyond are still rather rare.
So for this week’s category, I’d like you to read a book with a main characters in their 50s or older. It could be an age gap romance, in which the other main character is considerably younger, or all of the protagonists could be over 50. I’ll leave that choice up to you, as long as at least one of the main characters is 50 or older.
If you are only discovering the Sapphic Book Bingo now
In case you are only discovering the Sapphic Book Bingo now: The Book Unicorn is an additional bingo card that you can tackle in addition to the regular bingo card or by itself. The goal is to read one book for each of the 12 squares of the Book Unicorn card. Each square represents a harder-to-find theme.
I’ll post book suggestions for one Book Unicorn category each month.
If you haven’t done so already, download your Book Unicorn bingo card here. The PDF is clickable, so you can fill in the titles of the books you read on your computer, or you can print it out and fill it in by hand.
15 sapphic books with a character over 50
Here’s a list of 15 recommended sapphic books with a main character over 50:
Never Too Late For Heroes by A. L. Brooks
This cracking adventure with a side of romance is for lovers of tough, jaded, lesbian cops, superheroes and villains, and feisty retirees who don’t take retirement lying down.
Agent Geena Fox is counting down the days to her retirement. On one bittersweet day six years ago, her team of superheroes defeated Jewel, the world’s most evil villainꟷbut Geena’s secret lover died in the process. Now her boss has assigned her a rookie partner, Leigh Walker, and that’s the last thing Geena needs. She sends the woman off on a wild goose chase searching for a long-lost missing person to get her out of her sight. However, what Leigh finds will turn Agent Fox’s world upside down.
Meanwhile, over in a retirement home in Missouri, four old women sharing the surname Power are arousing suspicion with their strange behavior. Their nosy nurse is convinced they are not what they seem. Geena and Leigh meet with the mysterious Powers, and realize the women might hold the key to stopping Jewel, once and for all.
Fishwives by Sally Bellerose
Eighty-nine-year-old Regina and ninety-year-old Jackie met in 1955, an era when women were rounded up and jailed simply for dancing together or dressing like a man. On a cold winter day, they manage to get themselves out of the house with the help of TJ and Ramon, two young men from their workingclass neighborhood in Western Massachusetts. They tie their long-dead Christmas tree to the top of their car and, using a screwdriver in place of a broken gearshift, slowly make the drive to the dump.
This is also the day when everything changes.
During the course of their adventure, memories are triggered. Their history as a passionate and devoted, but troubled couple at the intersection of historic cultural and political change unfolds via scenes from the past—including their first meeting during a police raid on a bar and Regina’s epiphany that she could truly love another woman. In the early years, they often live apart as they flee landlords who discover their secret. As their journey leads them to seek jobs and a sustainable life, they are sometimes separated—but always find their way back to each other.
Combining the pathos and social significance of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and the humor of The Golden Girls with a cast of diverse characters worthy of the musical Rent, Fishwives chronicles a lifetime through the eyes of two old women behaving badly.
Old Love by Nancy J. Hedin
Mary Caine is pushing sixty and newly recovered alcoholic. She keeps to herself running the General Store. She openly adores the Midsummer Carnival and secretly hopes each year that her mom, who abandoned her as a child, will return with the carnival company. And Mary passionately loves Sadie Barnes, her first love who left town thirty years ago. Mary wants a second chance and feels like she might get when Sadie comes back to town.
Suddenly, everything goes to pieces: the carnival is in jeopardy, there’s two dead bodies by the lake, and Sadie is implicated in both catastrophes. With the help of her pilfering, talking crow and her dog, Bob Barker, Mary is determined to win back Sadie’s love, exonerate her from murder, solve the suspicious deaths, preserve the carnival, and for extra credit, help Sarah–the pregnant teen Mary has working at her general store.
Old Love proves that a second chance at love can come at any age–even in a small town.
Game Changers by Jane Cuthbertson
Writer Rachel Johnston’s solitary life is upended by an unexpected encounter with pro soccer player Jaye Stokes. Jane is younger, confident, attractive…and dedicated to pursuing a relationship with Rachel.
Despite the disapproval of Jaye’s best friend, their connection deepens. Jane plays her best soccer ever, and Rachel begins to dream of happiness with a loving partner. But can she trust Jaye enough to share her long-buried secret?
That Woman Next Door by Harper Bliss
Sometimes what you’re running from is exactly what you need
Olivia Chevalier is perfectly happy living a quiet life of solitude with her two cats in the tempestuous countryside of Brittany.
Olivia’s peace is disrupted when heartbreaker extraordinaire Marie Dievart moves in to the holiday home next door after an event at work makes her flee her everyday life.
Olivia hates having a neighbour and Marie is put off by Olivia’s cranky ways.
But maybe these two women have more in common than they first believe.
What the Heart Sees by KC Luck
Four years after a horrible car accident takes her sight and kills her parents, Sage Montgomery has learned to adapt to her new circumstances in Spruce Creek, Oregon. A new life that includes running the Montgomery horse ranch, which has been in her family for generations. As the place where she grew up, Sage has only the fondest memories. But when she learns her home is at risk because of unpaid taxes, Sage must find a way to raise the money. While the bank threatens and unwanted buyers circle, she is faced with decisions she doesn’t want to make for the ranch… and her heart.
With two decades of hard work on Wall Street, Julie Aspen has everything she wants. A career she loves, the perfect Manhattan condo, and a sexy, young girlfriend. People envy what Julie has and she could not be happier. At least until the firm she works for is accused of fraud. Suddenly stripped of everything and risking indictment, Julie returns to where she grew up. The small town she hates—Spruce Creek. Things couldn’t be more miserable until she meets the daughter of a long-lost friend. Suddenly, Julie has second thoughts about what may be important in life and if it is too late to change.
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.
The Goodmans by Clare Ashton
The lovely doctor Abby Hart lives in her dream cottage in the quintessential English border town of Ludbury, home to the Goodmans.
Maggie Goodman, all fire and passion, is like another mother to her, amiable Richard a rock and 60s-child Celia is the grandmother she never had.
But Abby has a secret. Best friend Jude Goodman is the love of her life, and very, very straight. Even if Jude had ever given a woman a second glance, there’d also be the small problem of Maggie – she would definitely not approve.
But secrets have a habit of sneaking out, and Abby’s not the only one with something to hide. Life is just about to get very interesting for the Goodmans.
Things are not what they used to be, but could they be even better?
No More Secrets by Jamey Moody
When Krista Kyle’s world is turned upside down, there’s only one person that can save her.
First love is a mighty strong emotion. Krista knows this and has been given several chances over the years to have the life she dreamed of, but something always got in the way.
Melanie Zimmer has loved Krista Kyle for over half her life. She now has the courage to do something about it. All she has to do is help Krista find hers and she knows just the place.
Does Lovers Landing still have the magic that brought them together over thirty years ago? Will Krista finally be brave enough to hold on to her true love?
This is the second book in The Lovers Landing Series. Come along on this first love, second chance romance and see if Krista and Melanie can find their courage in one another.
46 by Lynn Ames
It’s November 3, 2020, and Emma McMasters has just been elected the 46th president of the United States. She’s facing a divided Congress and nation, allies that no longer trust America, enemies that have been emboldened, and the legacy of destruction left by the last administration. She must rebuild and reestablish trust in government, in the media, and in the electoral system, all the while carrying the mantle of first female president, and along with it, the hopes and dreams of millions of women and little girls who need her to prove that a woman can get the job done.
Palmer Estes has devoted her life and her career to the military, rising to become the highest-ranking female officer in the US Army. An enigmatic, battle-tested hero, she’s the perfect choice to brief the new president on one last, urgent, highly sensitive mission before she retires.
Two strong women, both driven to serve the country they love, neither prepared for the sparks that fly between them.
Reading Her by Amanda Radley
Awkward teenager Hugo Whittaker doesn’t know a cross-trainer from an elliptical bike, but getting strong is the only way to fight off the bullies who won’t leave him alone. Lauren Evans loves her job as an instructor at Fitness Zone, and she wants to guide him. Unfortunately, Hugo paid for his membership by stealing his mother’s credit card, and it doesn’t take his mother long to track down her wayward son.
In a courtroom, shrewd barrister Allegra Whittaker is unstoppable, but when it comes to her son Hugo, she’s afraid she’s losing her touch. She reluctantly allows him to continue using the gym as long as she can keep an eye on him—and his undeniably intriguing instructor.
As each encounter leaves them wanting more, Lauren and Allegra learn love and happiness are right where they least expect it. There’s just one little problem: Lauren has a huge secret she absolutely cannot tell anyone, and Allegra knows she’s hiding something.
Times of Our Lives by Jane Waterton
Set against the backdrop of OWL Haven, Australia’s first exclusively lesbian retirement community, an irreverent cast of residents share their lives, hopes and dreams together.
At 65, Meg Sullivan is very clear about what and who she wants in life. Despite a string of lovers Meg’s first loyalty has always been to her best friend, Allie Richards. After reading about OWL Haven in a magazine, she knows the lesbian retirement village would be perfect for them both.
Allie Richards has shared the best part of her life with Meg. For over forty years they’ve traveled the world, and love and trust each other completely. Moving to OWL is perfect, as a new group of friends join their comfortable circle of two.
After her last relationship ended, Sparrow Hopkins was left with a broken heart. Quietly resigned to being alone for the rest of her life Sparrow discovers a feisty, vibrant group of women who are not afraid to take chances. Despite her promise to never fall in love again, life, as she is to find out, has other plans.
Pat and Bella have been together for nearly fifty years. To them OWL represents the secure and loving community they rarely experienced in the homophobic Sydney of the 60’s. But life is never simple, and safety is sometimes elusive as they face their own personal challenges.
Daphne Williams has always been a loner. Despite her preconceptions of retirement villages she discovers peace and happiness at OWL Haven. However, when her tightly controlled world goes into freefall, Daphne has to make a major decision. Does she keep control or open up a new world of joy and hope.
Through laughter, tears, and joy these woman prove that no matter what your age, you’re never too old to fall in love.
Georgetown Glen: Queermunity Living at its Finest by Annette Mori
Lucy Manetti is positively euphoric over her recent purchase of an old ghost town. Unfortunately, she failed to consult with her wife, Bea, before buying the abandoned village. Predictably, Bea is not as enamored with transforming the ghost town into a sapphic retirement community, but Bea’s love for her wife trumps her displeasure over Lucy’s impulsiveness. The mature couple hires Fiona, an expert at restoring old houses, and Saville, a certified electrician, to bring the ghost town back to its glory days.
According to the adorable real estate agent who recommended the pair, Fiona and Saville have history. Lucy detects a spark between the two young women and decides, against the advice of her wife, to play matchmaker, bringing her beautiful niece into the mix. As the ragtag team begins their work on the old saloon, they discover a lot more than they bargained for, including ghosts, long-buried secrets, an abused golden retriever, and maybe even love.
Slow Reveal by Melanie Mitzner
Set in 1990s New York, Slow Reveal paints an extraordinary portrait of artists who defy the arbiters of culture and challenge social norms. Art, addiction, and family dynamics capsize the Kanes when they discover the parallel life of Katharine, film editor, mother, lover, and wife.
“A poem is never finished, only abandoned,” wrote Paul Valéry, an outcome echoed in her decade-long affair with Naomi, a lesbian poet. Katharine’s marriage to Jonathan collapses in his struggle with sobriety when he’s ostracized for politicizing art and abandons his career for advertising. Faced with confrontations from her two grown daughters, an installation artist and an aspiring writer, Katharine hangs onto her former life. When her love for the poet prevails, devotion and commitment to her marriage are not the guardrails that keep her work or relationship on track but rather a form of entrapment.
A captivating story about relevance at the end of the 20th century, the novel questions the voracious demands of contemporary society through a riveting portrayal of turbulent family life, impacted by art shaped by the media and influenced by social and political injustice. Success is redefined by the courage to embark on the artistic process, as risky, messy and unpredictable as building intimacy and trust in love.
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