Share 11 Novels with Older Characters You’re Sure to Love

11 Novels with Older Characters You’re Sure to Love

Taylor Noel is a corporate marketing manager at Simon and Schuster. She loves literary fiction and memoirs, but will read any book put in her hands. Taylor shares her book obsessions on Instagram @books_with_taylor.

After reading a few books in a row that featured angsty teenaged protagonists, I’d had enough. I wanted to read a novel about characters with more life experience and with more developed personalities (be they cranky curmudgeons or charming matriarchs)—but still coping with the curveballs life throws. I wanted to spend time with characters like Ove from A MAN CALLED OVE, A.J. from THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY, or anyone from THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL. And did I ever find what I was looking for. Here are 11 novels with older protagonists that you’re sure to love.


The Lido
by Libby Page
We’re never too old to make new friends, or to make a difference. Rosemary Peterson’s calm, routine lifestyle is upended when the lido—an outdoor pool where she's swum daily since its opening and where she escaped the devastation of WWII and fell in love with her husband—is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. Thankfully a reporter takes interest in the story and teams up with Rosemary to save the neighborhood institution. THE LIDO is a charming feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels with Older Characters You’re Sure to Love

By Taylor Noel | August 21, 2018

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Three Things About Elsie
by Joanna Cannon
This is the best nursing home mystery you’ll ever read! Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her lifelong friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. Is the charming new resident who suddenly appeared who he claims to be? Why does he look exactly like a man who died 60 years ago? And why will no one listen to her concerns?
Three Things About Elsie
Joanna Cannon

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Made for Love
by Alissa Nutting
When Hazel moves into a trailer park of senior citizens with her father and his lifelike sex doll, she feels that her life has hit an all-time low. As she tries to carve out a new life for herself, the overbearing husband she ran out on tries everything to bring her back home—forcing Hazel to take drastic measures. MADE FOR LOVE is an absurd and raunchy comedy about marriage and family.
Made for Love
Alissa Nutting

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels with Older Characters You’re Sure to Love

By Taylor Noel | August 21, 2018

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson
Like A MAN CALLED OVE, this Swedish charmer centers on the fantastic exploits of a man who, because he has lived a good long life, many have already written off. In Forrest Gump style, our centenarian hero encounters and influences many of the world’s most famous luminaries—which we slowly learn about during his escape from a retirement home on the eve of his hundredth birthday.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson

Like A MAN CALLED OVE, this Swedish charmer centers on the fantastic exploits of a member of society who many have already written off. In Forrest Gump style, our centenarian hero encounters and influences many of the world’s most famous luminaries—which we slowly learn about during his escape from a retirement home on the eve of his hundredth birthday.

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The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO BROKE ALL THE RULES is a witty and insightful novel about a group of delinquent seniors whose desire for a better quality of life leads them to rob and ransom priceless artwork. What started as a simple plan to rob a nearby hotel quickly escalates to pulling a heist at the National Museum, baffling the police but inciting the interest of the Mafia. What a riot!
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

MENTIONED IN:

11 Novels with Older Characters You’re Sure to Love

By Taylor Noel | August 21, 2018

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
When recent retiree Harold Fry receives a letter from a dying friend, he sets out the door and begins walking the 600 miles to deliver his response to her—in person. In the three months of Harold’s journey, we learn about his past and the regrets and joys he’s accumulated along the way.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce

One day Harold Fry receives a letter that Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Rather than write back or even call Harold sets out in his yachting shoes and light coat on the 600 mile walk to see Queenie in person. Believing that as long as he is walking, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts.

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Millard Salter's Last Day
by Jacob M. Appel
In an effort to delay the frailty and isolation that come with old age, psychiatrist Millard Salter decides to kill himself by the end of the day—but first he has to tie up some loose ends. These include a tête-à-tête with his ne’er-do-well youngest son, Lysander; an unscheduled rendezvous with his first wife, Carol; and a brief visit to the grave of his second wife, Isabelle, with whom he fathered an illegitimate child. MILLARD SALTER’S LAST DAY is refreshing, heartfelt, and funny.
Millard Salter's Last Day
Jacob M. Appel

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The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
by Phaedra Patrick
Arthur Pepper is a 69-year-old man whose simple, routine lifestyle is disrupted when he finds an unfamiliar gold charm bracelet among his late wife's possessions. Arthur sets out on an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met. With a cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER celebrates life's infinite possibilities.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Phaedra Patrick

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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
by Fannie Flagg
This fresh and folksy classic is brimming with good barbecue and Southern charm while tackling heavy subjects with grace and subtlety. In 1930s Alabama, two women run a small-town cafe with love and integrity, surviving visits from the local sheriff, the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rigors of the Great Depression. If you’ve only seen the movie, with Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates and Mary-Louise Parker, treat yourself to this novel. It’s delicious!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Fannie Flagg

This fresh and folksy classic is brimming with good barbeque and Southern charm while tackling heavy subjects with grace and subtlety. In 1930s Alabama, two women run a small-town cafe with love and integrity, surviving visits from the local sheriff, the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rigors of the Great Depression.

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Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Fans of A MAN CALLED OVE will delight in the story of Britt-Marie, who, after decades in an unhappy marriage, finally gets up the courage to leave her cheating husband. Now she is forced to make a life for herself, which somehow includes the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. Funny and moving, BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE is an irresistible novel Fredrik Backman fans will love.

Read the full review of BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE.
Britt-Marie Was Here
Fredrik Backman

Backman’s latest, BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, is an irresistible novel about finding love and second chances in the most unlikely of places. We are packing our bags to move to Sweden.

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In the Midst of Winter
by Isabel Allende
IN THE MIDST OF WINTER begins with a minor traffic accident, which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, this emotional novel recalls Allende’s landmark novel, THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS.
In the Midst of Winter
Isabel Allende

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