I keep running across blog posts and articles on the topic of older women. Most decry the fading of everything from bodies to influence. Some revel in the freedoms of post-family/career opportunity. (My own take on my encore writing career is here.) As background for my next novel, I am reading Philippa Gregory’s Three Sisters, Three Queens, and marvel at how Gregory has kept me fascinated during more than 500 pages through the narrative voice of a thoroughly unlikable Margaret Tudor— English princess, Queen of Scotland, mother of King James V. She is vain, jealous, and inconstant, and perhaps not an entirely reliable narrator, yet she is also brave, strong willed and passionate. The view into life of a minor royal
in the sphere of 16th century Great Britain has been riveting. Unexpectedly, the fictional Margaret Tudor’s observations on being a girl and then a woman become increasingly poignant as she reflects on the pressures and the injustices of her own experiences and her royal sisters’. In this version of Margaret Tudor, Gregory gives us a fierce if flawed early champion of a woman who refused to become invisible. These themes of a woman’s self-determination, re-invention, and the capacity to add value to one’s own and others’ lives at later ages is central to both my novels. These notions are commanding attention regularly elsewhere as well. Just today, “The Atlantic” posted a book-related
piece “The Invisibility of Older Women.” Not necessarily, say I!!