True Stories of Romance, Midlife and Beyond
Inspiring stories of individuals—aged 46 to 97—who experienced a resurgence of passion in their lives when they least expected it.
F. Scott Fitzgerald believed there are no second acts in American lives. Yet at least as far as love is concerned, the statistics indicate otherwise. These days, more and more people are falling in love and embarking on deep and fulfilling romantic relationships in the later part of their lives. At a time when the specter of spending one’s final years alone can seem only slightly less intimidating than Internet dating, the subjects profiled in this book tossed their hearts up in the air with the hope that love just might spring eternal.
And just how different is the game at age seventy-five than it was at age twenty-five? This book forms an engaging meditation on the ways that love itself alters and matures as we grow older. Organized around the distinct and often surprising themes that emerged from Gold’s conversations with lovers from all walks of life—love suddenly appearing out of the shadows following a determination to find it at whatever cost; second-act relationships that represent 180-degree turns for the parties involved; a sense of finally coming home to the one you were meant to be with in the final stages of life—Love in the Second Act will remind anyone, young or old, that the quest for love is never-ending.
“I think dating, once you’re beyond high school, is very humiliating and you just have to suffer the indignation of it. You have to put yourself out there and get your heart stepped on a little bit. You have to be bold.”—Terrence McNally, playwright
“Despite lack of use and a painful cramp in the back of my neck midway, I was glad to know that my equipment still worked.”—Paula Thornber, violinist, widow
“I knocked and was admitted up a very steep flight of steps. There was Mary, hair turning gray, spectacles on her nose, she had dancing blue-gray eyes.”
—Tony Church, Shakespearean actor, retired
“It wasn’t until I was over forty that I knew what it was to fall in love with a man.”
—Cheryl Kane, former nun turned nurse who works with the homeless
“I was seeing the writing on the wall when I hit fifty and I knew I didn’t want to end up just with my cats.”—Odile Duflot, an American living in Paris and working for the United Nations
“It was like oysters. When you eat oysters and get sick and try them again. I knew he’d always be my oyster.”—Chantal “Tessa” Dahl, journalist
“That’s where the thing has changed. In Act One I sat at the poet’s feet, now I sit at the poet’s table.”—Marianne Ihlen, former muse of Leonard Cohen and the subject of many of his songs.
LIZ SMITH – New York Post:
“In Alison Leslie Gold’s new book, Love in the Second Act, the writer actor Andre Gregory explains: ‘Act Two is supposed to be the trouble act! Act Three is where it all gets resolved!’Gold has interviewed Gregory and 25 others who found love is lovelier the second time around. The author is known mainly for her writing about Holocaust subjects, such as “Anne Frank Remembered.” (That book, written with Miep Gies,
was translated into 19 languages.) In ‘Second Act,’ Gold has talked with icons such as Marianne Ihlen, the muse who inspired Leonard Cohen to write “Bird on a Wire,” and she also spoke to Patricia Neal, who told her that in spite of marriage to writer Roald Dahl, she always loved Gary Cooper best.”
“This beautifully written book will inspire readers with the knowledge that love can be stronger and more fulfilling in middle to later life.” —Edith Ankersmit Kemp, LCSW, and Jerrold E. Kemp, ED.D,, Coauthors of Older Couples: New Romances, Finding and Keeping Love in Later Life