NPR BOOKREVIEW

The Tortoise And The Hare
The Tortoise and the Hare, by Elizabeth Jenkins, paperback, 288 pages, Virago UK, list price: $15.95
Though Elizabeth Jenkins has written 12 novels and a notable biography of Jane Austen — she’s one of the founders of the Jane Austen Society — most American readers remain unaware of her work. The Tortoise and the Hare is a delicious tale of life in suburban London in the early 1950s. The heroine, Imogen Gresham, is married to an older man, a barrister, and life with him and her somewhat sullen child is a bit unpleasant.

Imogen almost expects her husband to find comfort in a younger woman, the way she pines after an old beau, a doctor who married a woman far younger than she, but instead, her rival for his affection winds up being Blanche Silcox, an older woman prone to fishing and fast cars. The results are both sharp satire and poignant character study — just who exactly is the tortoise and who is the hare? Jenkins is Barbara Pym with more bite, a more playful variation on Anita Brookner. And yes, you can see the Jane Austen influence as well.

This was the only book out of their 16 summer reads that I thought -this is a MUST read….so, hopefully I will find it soon!!

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