How do you feel about romance where there is a large age gap?
I recently read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and I loved, loved, loved it. The opening scene is spectacular and sets the tone for the rest of the novel. But as I read, I was surprised by the age difference in the hero and heroine. It didn’t bother me in the book. I realize that in its historical setting, it was accurate, and the fact that the hero was a widower made even more sense. But when I watched the film, which had actors fairly-well represented according to age, I got a different feeling.
Watching it was quite different than reading it. And I wonder if such an idea is past its prime. While there’s nothing immoral or illegal about a May-September (or even December!) romance, does it still feel natural or even ho-hum when it comes to romance novels and films?
Before the longer life expectancies and medical advances we enjoy today, husbands could easily find themselves widowers if their wives died in childbirth. Seeking out someone perhaps younger and stronger could help survival. Or in some cultures, men couldn’t marry until they had built up an estate. Naturally, they’d probably prefer a younger spouse. Or a young ingenue could be guided in marriage by the steadying influence of an older man. To wit:
But in this day and age, it seems to be a more unusual pairing–especially when the news is filled with child predators and teachers in sexual relationships with minors.
What does this mean for romance novels? Is the May-September romance a thing of the past? Or is it still a legitimate tale of love?