Recently, Audrey Davis asked me if I’d like to review her debut novel A Clean Sweep. The answer was a resounding yes (not least as I discovered I had already bought it when I came to investigate it), but as usual, my TBR is so huge I simply haven’t got to it yet.
As the main character in both A Clean Sweep and its prequel A Clean Break is fifty-something Emily and I happen to be a fifty-something woman, I asked Audrey if she’d like to tell me a bit more about how that feels as she is a woman past her half-century too. Today, Audrey reflects on what it means to be ‘a woman of a certain age’ in the 21st century.
A Clean Sweep and the short prequel A Clean Break are both available for purchase here.
A Clean Sweep
A laugh-out-loud tale of love, lies and second chances.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn’t expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she’s found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily’s sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don’t get another try, do you?
Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a book that will grab your heart, make you smile and wish you had a chimney to sweep.
A Woman of A Certain Age
A Guest Post by Audrey Davis
I drew on my own thoughts and experiences when fleshing out the character of Emily, as well as some of the other women in the book. I wanted to show that age should not be a barrier to how we behave, dress or who we fall in love with.
Was I happy to hit forty? Not really, but with two boys aged nine and ten at the time I was still mingling with younger mums in the school playground and feeling reasonably content with my reflection in the mirror. Ten years later, the boys had flown the nest and reading glasses had taken up residence in every room of the house. Like Emily, magnifying mirrors were avoided when possible – ‘Some things didn’t need to be brought into sharp focus. A gentle blurring of the edges was just fine.’
Now, at fifty-three, I can say I’m comfortable with my age even if my knees creak a bit and the pounds take longer to shift. My life is full, particularly now that I’m writing and can call myself a genuine published author. I have a great circle of friends – some older, some younger – and I will happily shop at Zara or Mango, even if their sizing is targeted at girls with no internal organs. I wear cut-off shorts in the summer, skinny jeans in the winter and work out at the gym three times a week.
There are times I think of my mother, who sadly died of breast cancer at the age of fifty-nine. The disease withered her slowly and painfully for many years, but I realise how different her life was. Thirty years ago, many women of her age dressed and behaved much older. Her outfits were always sensible and – dare I say it – old-fashioned. Her life was perhaps simpler but I am so glad to be in my fifties today, even if the world we live in seems full of hate, fear and hypocrisy.
Looking ahead, I will continue to write and participate in the wonderful community of fellow authors I’ve discovered through social media. Travel is always a particular joy, with trips to Africa and weekends away with friends to Spain and Belgium recent highlights. I don’t see my gorgeous boys as often as I’d like, but I can always hop on a plane (we live in Switzerland) and visit them in Edinburgh and Liverpool.
A couple of good friends are now in their sixties, but their energy and joie de vivre would put some younger folk to shame. Age is just a number. As long as we have good health and a positive attitude, we can do anything we want. Am I looking forward to sixty? No, but I’ll be ready to embrace and challenge whatever comes my way when the day arrives.
(Good for you Audrey – I’m with you all the way!)
About Audrey Davis
Audrey Davis is a former journalist who can recall the days of typewriters and overflowing ashtrays. Born in Scotland, she has called Switzerland home for the past 15 years. Audrey still struggles with speaking French although she is well versed in dealing with plumbers and other workers. Her first novel began with a writing fiction course and took over a year to complete. She hopes the second one will be a little quicker.