About the book
'I looked in the mirror one morning, and saw the face of a stranger. Who was she, this haggard, bun-faced woman with the softening jawline, the downturned mouth, the world-weary air of a woman who hasn't had what she wanted from life, and knows she isn't going to get it now? Why, it was no one else but me, myself and I.'
Middle age took Jane Shilling by surprise. She hadn't seen it coming, and she certainly wasn't ready for it. She lives in a tumbledown urban cottage by the Thames, with a son, a cat and a horse in livery fifty miles away - a flawed, bittersweet version of the idyll she dreamed of in her twenties.
Must she accept that middle age is the beginning of the end or is there one last great adventure still to be grabbed? Her sense of hope and excitement seem at odds with her contemporaries' resolute denial or rueful resignation in the face of middle age. And what of the strange, conflicting attitudes - a mixture of fascination and revulsion - that surround the public perception of middle-aged women?
The Stranger in the Mirror is one woman's attempt to understand what middle age is, what it means for her and whether, as a new generation of women turns fifty, some kind of revolution is under way. The result is a very personal meditation about what it's like to be at the midpoint, looking both backwards and forwards. It definitely won't reverse the signs of ageing - but it will make you laugh, it will make you think and it could just make you look in the mirror in a slightly different way ...