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Thimble

I just finished Linda Gillard's STAR GAZING whose heroine isn't just middle-aged, she's blind as well. A well-written, spellbinding novel with spectacular descriptions of Skye. Many of Joanna Trollope's novels feature middle-aged women as, of course, do Elizabeth Buchan's, and both these writers were huge inspirations for my own writing.

And you're spot on about readers wanting to identify with characters of their own generation.

Cornflower

Star Gazing is wonderful!

Maggie Dana

Karen:

I created a new Typepad account. Thanks for the tip.

Maggie
www.maggiedana.com

Lizzie

Well, for the record, I identify with Isobel Dalhousie, who is in fact quite a bit younger than me, so wishful thinking perhaps......

Susie Vereker

Starting in 2005 Transita published some 30 books featuring an older heroine - the main protagonist had to be older than 45. But their venture was not as profitable as they hoped so they have returned to their non-fiction for the time being. It is difficult for a small firm to provide the PR and advertising needed in the competitive world of publishing.
Surprisingly they met with some initial hostility from media people like Mariella Frostrup who thought the idea of books aimed at middle-aged women was patronising. Since they we have discovered that men and girls also liked Transita so the older reader concept was dropped. All the Transita books are different from each other - some are comedies and some more serious. Funnily enough, they seem particularly popular with women in their late thirties (maybe they fear what lies ahead!)
Personally I like what Love Reading refers to as relationship sagas as opposed to chick lit where only the very best still amuses me. But I like books that offer more than romance too, of course.
Another good thing about Transita's small size, by the way, is that some of its authors became close friends and we still meet up from time to time both on line and in the flesh.

Cornflower

I, too, am a great fan of Isabel's; apart from anything else, she has exceptionally good taste in investment managers.......!

Nicola

I'm trying to remember the age of Austen's Lady Susan. Not sure if she was quite middle-aged, but certainly Austen's most mature heroine/villain and a deliciously wicked character.

Lindsay

Lady Glen? Miss MacKenzie? Miss Marple? (!)

Lindsay

Love In the Time of Cholera?

Barbara

Angela Thirkell's books are written almost entirely from the point of view of the middle aged, men and women. Her writer heroine Laura Morland passes through early middle age to old age as the books progress. Middle-aged Mrs Brandon is still a siren and the books abound with Understanding Men and the comfort of a good gossip with female friends. Thirkell was a best seller; need I say more?

Elaine

I have just read Maggie's Book, Beachcombing, loved it and will be posting about it soon and, oddly enough, I mentioned Transita and the reaction by the likes of Mariella Frostrup and Philippa Gregory, which I thought was unwarranted and unsupportive.

I remember a book published in the 1960s, Ithink by Stephen Vicenzi (?) In Praise of Older Women. Will have to check tht up.

Of course Miss Marple is an older heroine, albeit a sexless one and spends her time knitting as well as detecting.

Karen

I, too, love the Sunday Philosophy Club series, but Isabel's wealth secures for her a status and "visibility" that eludes most modern-day "spinsters." As JA's Emma says to Harriet: "I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else."

Dark Puss

If you want great women (of any age) in literature then read Colette! My reading tastes in this matter have not changed as I moved from teenager to "middle-aged" adult. I didn't want similar-aged role models then and I don't want them now - young/old/middling all I care about is good writing! This applies also to men and cats* in literature too of course.

*For an excellent middle-aged (or perhaps a little older) example see the eponymous heroine of "Jennie" by Paul Gallico.

Susie Vereker

Meant to say, we former Transita writers were grateful for the support of people like Elaine of Random Jottings, Dovegrey Reader, Danielle, Bluestalking Reader and other book bloggers. Maybe the books will become collectors items since there are relatively few of them (ever optimistic).

Margaret Powling

In response to Susie re Transita: I was sorry to learn that they are no longer publishing fiction for and about older women. They published some excellent novels and I did my best to support them. I had an interview published in Oxfordshire Life with Nikki Read of Transita,and also in other Life titles with other Transita writers such as Maggie Makepeace and also a short feature about Susie herself in Hampshire Life. And not only did Transita publish new writers like Linda Gillard and Susie, but they allowed those like Beryl Kingston, who had had work published in the past, to have their work in print once again. Yes, let's hope that they these lovely books will become collectors items, Susie!

Linda Gillard

You might be interested to know that STAR GAZING is doing very well in Germany. My publisher Heyne loved the 45 year-old heroine and want more of the same. Transita's Wendy K Harris has also been a huge success in Germany, so I think the literary "invisibility" of the middle-aged woman might be a UK phenomenon.

Susie Vereker

Thank you again so much for your support, then and now, Margaret. (Glad to hear about Germany, Linda.)

Cornflower

How interesting, Linda. The Germans are obviously more enlightened than the British!

Carole

I finished Star Gazing on Thursday and really enjoyed it (I'm 47, so near her age).

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