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Strong Willed Women

My favorite aunt was Aunt Phyllis who is the woman in the photo with the splendid horse. She lived in Hertfordshire, which was far from our home in southeast London, not easily accessible. I seldom got to spend time with her, but I suppose she stood out because she was my mother's only living sister and my mother loved her. Once, my two brothers and I went to stay with her for a week. She lived with her significant other who was a jockey, and they kept several horses. One was a stallion which we were forbidden to go near. But she led me around on a gentler horse. Perhaps that was when my love of horses began. But it was more than that. I admired my aunt because she was independent and lived the way she wanted to, not as anyone else expected. Years after I'd moved to the United States, she sent me a letter and said as much: do what you want, not what others expect.

In my novel Naomi and Ruth: Loyalty Among Women Ruth, in spite of a culture that restricted women, is strong-willed and determined to live her own way.


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