A WHITCHURCH woman has proved it is never too late to follow your dreams after publishing her first novel.

Marie Sarginson, 82 and of Liverpool Road, has published 'Keeper of the Red Shawl', after several years of the story 'sitting there and looking at her'.

The book is a romantic novel, beginning in the Victorian Era and is based on the eventful life of Marie's grandmother, Frances and tells the tale of the four men who helped or hindered her path to freedom.

"Fate was unkind to Frances, but throughout her life, she battled forward fighting convention and the class system," said Marie.

"The story starts when her well-to-do, but aged, parents marry her off at the age of 17 to Jack, a cold-hearted widower with a young son.

"Respectfully she did as she was told but this was her first mistake. She became the brunt of his sarcasm and abuse in the bedroom.

"Fortunately, Jack soon met with a suspicious end.

"Then, along came a dashingly handsome James.

"But wait, there’s someone else watching this particular saga unfold, patiently biding his time."

Whitchurch Herald: Marie Sarginson, Keeper of the Red ShawlMarie Sarginson, Keeper of the Red Shawl

Marie says she finally took the decision to see the book published on the insistence of friends and family, having previously written poems and short stories – some of former even being featured on the BBC.

"It's based on true events," added Marie. "It's a romantic novel, she'd had a terrible life until she met my grandad on the boats.

"I've been messing about writing for years, I've probably got several short stories.

"The deciding factor in publishing the novel was that it was sitting there looking at me.

"My friend Bernice showed an interest and said 'you've got time now'.

"It takes about five years to do a novel and have it published, a bit longer if you have it published for free.

"Bernice has the computer, so she's done the emailing and the typing and I have put my thanks to her in the book.

"I've had poetry broadcast on the BBC, I've always written for my own pleasure."

Despite the late start to novel publishing, Marie say's she is delighted with the positive reception the book has received.

"I didn't realise people would like it so much," she added. "It's been very well received.

"I've enjoyed doing it."

The novel is available at www.austinmacauley.com/book/keeper-red-shawl