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 had? 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 50, some kind of revolution is under way.