The Tortoise and the Hare, Paperback

The Tortoise and the Hare Paperback

Part of the VMC series

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In affairs of the heart the race is not necessarily won by the swift or the fair. Imogen, the beautiful and much younger wife of distinguished barrister Evelyn Gresham, is facing the greatest challenge of her married life.

Their neighbour Blanche Silcox, competent, middle-aged and ungainly - the very opposite of Imogen - seems to be vying for Evelyn's attention. And to Imogen's increasing disbelief, she may be succeeding. 'A subtle and beautiful book ...Very few authors combine her acute psychological insight with her grace and style.

There is plenty of life in the modern novel, plenty of authors who will shock and amaze you - but who will put on the page a beautiful sentence, a sentence you will want to read twice?' Hilary Mantel, Sunday Times




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(21 January 2012 – from Ali for my birthday)This is a gorgeous Virago hardback edition (you can see it on the photo, second from the left on the front row. SO pretty. Imogen is married to Eveylyn Gresham, a barrister a good few years older than her who is Not Particularly Nice, but exerts a traditional patriarchal and also sexual hold over her. She keeps up her end of the marital bargain by being decorative (which she was obviously raised to be) and trying to run the house and family smoothly (not so successfully), buoyed up only by her flirtatious relationship with old friend, Paul, and her sustaining friendship with Cecil (who is a lady with a man’s name, contrasting nicely with Evelyn’s bi-gendered name). Enter Blanche Silcox, bluff and gruff in her ill-fitting tweeds, and elderly at 50, who is, it seems, determined to prise Evelyn away from Imogen. The women thus far mentioned are contrasted with a terrifying poetess who operates entirely through her physicality, a brittle wife and a neglectful mother: no one comes out of this particularly well.The psychological suspense is almost unbearable – you want to probe the situation like you would a slightly sore tooth or a mild bruise. Redemption comes through the most unlikely of sources, and only once you’ve been put through the wringer. It is rather Elizabeth Taylorian (even being set near Reading) and, to put it mildly, exquisite.

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