Let’s face it: sometimes we get exhausted of the typical narrative of the younger girl falling for the older man. Sometimes we need the reverse story to spice things up a bit more. If you’re getting old like me, you find a soft spot in your heart for the sweet noona romances, moved by the sweet possibilities for women older than their early twenties. These dramas will help you believe in love existing for older women, even if other media doesn’t make it seem so.
Romance is a Bonus Book
The latest and greatest of noona romances can be found in Romance is a Bonus Book. The story follows 37 year-old Kang Dani (Lee Nayoung), a recent divorcee struggling to survive on her own while providing for her daughter. Dani’s childhood friend Cha Eunho (Lee Jongsuk) is the only person she has left in her life after her husband leaves her. Even at a younger age, Eunho has already reached a high level of success as the editor-in-chief of a profitable publishing company.
The story begins in the past at Dani’s wedding, with Eunho showing up as the piano player. Experiencing cold feet at the last moment, Dani disappears before she is to walk down the aisle, and Eunho goes searching for her. Her future husband accuses Eunho of hiding her, hinting at a deeper relationship between the two. As Eunho leaves, he finds her hiding in the back of his car, and takes her to a nearby convenience store to discuss what was wrong. He manages to convince her to return to her wedding, and the flashback fades out with Dani commenting that running back to her wedding had been the happiest moment of her life, wondering how things would have turned out if she had decided not to marry her husband that day instead.
This series is definitely a slow burn romance, with the first few episodes having only traces of possible romantic undertones, if even that. Eunho comes off as an emotionally distant man that doesn’t believe in marriage, which we later learn is due to his view of Dani’s former marriage. He has a very distant way of showing his affection, usually through small acts of service for her. Still fresh on the drama docket, Romance is a Bonus Book has more than half of the story left to unfold.
Something in the Rain
How could we not include the drama that stole everyone’s hearts? Something in the Rain, also going by the literal translated title Pretty Noona who Buys me Food, gained a lot of attention before release as it was Jung Haein’s first lead drama. He stole the hearts of many during his second lead run in While You Were Sleeping, and many fans were excited to see him star in a noona romance.
Something in the Rain follows the story of Yoon Jinah (Son Yejin), a woman in her mid-30s who works as a store supervisor for a coffee chain. Her best friend Seo Kyungseon runs one of these coffee shops, and the two spend most of their free time together. Kyungseon’s brother Joonhee has just recently returned from an assignment abroad, where he had been for three years.
Jinah’s family grew up close to Kyungseon’s family, so as a result she was close to Joonhee as well. Upon his return to the country, she finds herself becoming romantically attracted to Joonhee, despite the age difference and her original view of him as a younger brother. Audiences adored the growing romance between the long-time childhood friends, and the series became one of the highest-rated dramas in cable television history,
I Can Hear Your Voice
Lee Jongsuk makes his second appearance on the list with the lead male role in I Can Hear Your Voice. This story features a supernatural element unlike the previous two, where Jongsuk’s character Park Sooha has the ability to read a person’s thoughts by looking into their eyes. He obtained this power at the age of nine, when he witnessed the murder of his father and had a brush with death himself. Present day in the story, Sooha is now a senior in high school and helps out main lead Jang Hyesung (Lee Boyoung) and Cha Gwanwoo (Yoon Sanghyun) with solving cases.
Jang Hyesung is tied to Sooha through having been on the scene as the only witness to his father’s murder. She testifies in the case and helps to put Sooha’s father’s murderer in jail, causing Sooha to swear he would always protect and guard her, and makes him intent on finding her again ten years later. But due to difficult circumstances in her childhood, Hyesung has grown up to be apathetic, jaded, and self-preserving above all else, baffling Sooha initially. When this unlikely duo meets back up again ten years after their first encounter, both begin to change as they fall in love with one another.
A Witch’s Romance
A remake of the 2009 hit Taiwanese drama My Queen, A Witch’s Romance stars Uhm Junghwa and Park Seojoon. The story follows 39 year-old news reporter Ban Jiyeon, a woman who focuses solely on her work to the point that her coworkers refer to her as a witch behind her back. She was left alone at the altar by her ex-fianceé Noh Shihoon, and has harbored a jaded view toward love ever since. In a chance encounter, she meets Yoon Dongha, a man in his mid-twenties that runs a small errand business center with his friend. Dongha lost his girlfriend tragically not long ago, and as a result all of his ambitions and career plans were set aside in order for him to grieve. This drama marks one of Seojoon’s first lead roles.