20 Must-Read Books with Senior Protagonists Part 2

Books with protagonists around our age usually come off as more relatable. Although there are many popular novels for seniors with main characters of different age groups, stories that focus on the events around a senior character tend to have a certain charm.

Previously, we talked about ten books that have main characters just like us. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check 20 Must-Read Books with Senior Protagonists Part 1. This article will continue talking about this topic, introducing ten more books of different genres because you can never run out of good things to read.

So without any further ado, let’s take a look at the ten awesome books that remained on our list.

Senior Protagonists books: The Marlow Murder Club, Our Souls at Night

The Marlow Murder Club

Author: Robert Thorogood 

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Seventy-seven-year-old Judith Potts lives alone in a mansion and actually enjoys it. But the peace and happiness of this cheerful woman suddenly are lost in the chaos when she accidentally becomes the key witness on a murder scene. 

She tells the police what happened, but when no one believes her, our cool senior lead character sets off to investigate the crime all on her own. Well, all on her own until Suzie, a dog-walker, and Becks, wife of the local vicar, join her. 

And just like that, our Marlow murder club starts investigating something that might be more dangerous than a one-time murder and lead to a serial killer. At least, that’s what the newfound body suggests. 

See for yourself if they can escape this dangerous situation and reveal the truth. 

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Our Souls at Night

Author: Kent Haruf

Genre: Romance

Read the story of Louis and Addie, two seniors in their 70s, who find long-lost adventures together. This is a beautifully written piece of work that shows how even two lonely souls can share stories of their tragedies at night and find closeness in each other.  

What makes Our Souls at Night memorable is how its author was in his final cancer stage while writing it. There is something quite indescribable about how he wrote a story about finding love and hope in the final chapter of one’s life, knowing full well that his life was coming to an end.  

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Water for Elephants, An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, The Warden

Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Jacob Jankowski is a veterinary student who becomes an orphan before getting his degree. Confused about what to do with life, he jumps onto a passing train and joins the quirky crew of a second-rate circus.

Jacob, who is now 93 years old and living in a nursing home, recalls the time he was in charge of caring for the circus menagerie; the time when he met Marlena, the young and beautiful equestrian, and Rosie the elephant. 

Sara Gruen tells a beautiful tale of love and emotions while switching back and forth between the past and the present.

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An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good

Author: Helene Tursten

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Humour

Yes, sweet, innocent senior protagonists have their charm, but how about a main character who’s actually a serial killer?

This book is a story collection by Helene Tursten featuring Inspector Irene Huss, the main character of her stories. But this time, the stories are about this quite likable senior murderer. Maud is an 88-year-old woman living in her family apartment, all alone. 

Apart from travelling, Maud has another hobby, and it seems to be killing anyone who gets on her nerves. There are five short stories filled with humour and, of course, Maud’s murderous schemes. And if you find yourself liking this intuitive and sharp serial killer a bit too much, then you can read the other book from the Äldre dam series called “An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed.”

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The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

Author: Anthony Trollope

Genre: Classics, Fiction

Now it’s time to include one classic work on our list. The Warden tells the story of Mr. Harding, a highly respected clergyman whose income from a charity is far higher than what the foundation uses to meet its purposes.

Upon finding out the truth, John Bold is determined to expose the truth, and even the fact that he’s in love with Eleanor, Harding’s daughter, can’t stop him. 

While his story is fictional, Anthony Trollope tells us about the reality of the misapplication of church funds and abuse of power, exploring morals and human nature. 

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100-Year-Old man, Dunbar, The Widower's Tale, The Remains of the Day, The Uncommon Reader books for Senior Protagonists

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Author: Jonas Jonasson

Genre: Fiction, Humour

Allan Karlsson now lives in a nursing home. But things are not that interesting for him in a place like that, no matter how others in the nursing home decided to plan his 100-year-old birthday. So, on the morning that marks a century of his life, he decides to escape the nursing home as easily as the title suggests by climbing the window and disappearing. It is the beginning of an extraordinary journey for Allan, who tells us bits and pieces of his past life along the way. 

Fly into the world of this aged Swedish man and see how he changes his life and the others. 

After reading the book, if you ever wish to get more of Jonasson’s humour and his main character, Allan, you can read The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man sequel.

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Author: Edward St. Aubyn

Genre: Fiction, Retelling

While nothing may come close to reading Shakespeare’s plays for lovers of classical literature, it can be a nice change to read a modern adaptation of King Lear.  

Henry Dunbar, the powerful global business leader, has handed over the family firm to Abby and Megan, his two eldest daughters. He soon comes to question the wisdom of his past decisions as he sees how his own family treats him.

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The Uncommon Reader

Author: Alan Bennett

Genre: Fiction, Humour

The Uncommon Reader has an uncommon protagonist; the Queen of England herself. 

When the Queen stumbles across a mobile library that regularly visits Buckingham Palace, she feels duty-bound to borrow a book without actually planning to read it. Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, helps her choose a book. But soon, the Queen is completely enchanted by the pleasures of the written words. 

This funny and humorous novella tells us how a good book can even make the Queen bored with her duties. As she tries to spend more time reading, she faces some problems with her royal advisors.

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The Remains of the Day

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Genre: Historical Fiction

Meet Stevens, a well-mannered English butler with a long-serving record at Darlington Hall, who decides to go on a six-day country drive. 

Stevens recalls memories of the past, serving Lord Darlington, maybe even falling in love with the housekeeper throughout the journey. During his reflections on his past, he thinks about what England has experienced, including fascism and two world wars. 

The Remains of the Day tells a great story with a wonderful writing style, which is no surprise coming from the noble prize winner for literature. 

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The Widower’s Tale

Introducing our last protagonist, seventy-year-old Percy Darling, this novel tells us how despite our best efforts, we may not be able to stay away from what goes on in the world around us. 

While Percy is doing his best to enjoy his retirement, he gets entangled in the chaos of family relationships, unexpected friendships and rivalries, and even newfound love.

A perfect story of satire telling us about family and bonds, which can be a perfect choice for our senior readers. 

Author: Julia Glass

Genre: Family

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Final Words

And with that, we conclude our list of books with senior protagonists you better not miss. We hope you enjoy reading them. Don’t forget that some of these books also have movie adaptations. Because if there’s one thing more lovely than reading books, it is watching movies with senior protagonists and enjoying them with family and friends.


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2 years ago

I read The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared twice! It’s fantastic, and I recommend it to anyone in the middle of the road like me who thinks nothing exciting will happen to their life anymore.
After the 50, everything is right on schedule. We get more and more used to our typical lifestyle and repeat the same daily routines over and over again. It causes us to think it’s too late to experience new adventures. This book taught me it’s never too late to change our habits and start to be happy with our life, even if your 100th!

1 year ago

Great! I googled this and came up with your website! I haven’t heard half of the books you’ve mentioned here. Are these available as ebooks as well?

1 year ago

Nice suggestions! Though I’m fond of mystery type mostly. I want to suggest another novel with a senior protagonist which interested me much named” Three Things About Elsie” by Joanna Cannon. Don’t hesitate to read it if you’re into the mystery genre.