This is an intricate and complex study of the slightly tilting power balance in a crumbling marriage. It is all about being in control, fulfilling needs and being wanted. Imogen is always striving for Evelyn's attention and an acknowledge of her abilities as a wife. She needs to be constantly reassured and comforted in order to function as a wife, as a mother and as a human being.
Blanche Silcox, on the other hand, is an independent woman, a magnetic force, a solid mother figure, that lures Evelyn in with her ease and wit. The graceful Imogen must witness her faithless husband turn to an unattractive older woman - and she learns that good looks doesn't guarantee any safety at all. A woman who she has never even considered as a treat turns her safe marriage routine upside-down.
Does that make Imogen the hare, then? So it would seem, as she watches Blanche race by her and ultimately win the race. But who wins the long run? Blanche might gain a husband - but an unfaithful one, and Imogen might be alone, but she will learn to be independent. Jenkins seems to be playing with role reversal - she leaves her question mark unanswered, and the reader is left with an unmistakable sense of duality.
Jenkins writes beautifully, but rather slow as well. It took me a while to get into this book, as it mostly consists of suspicions and the trivial events of a simple everyday life. While I understand the psychological value in Jenkins' simple observations, they do not always make the best of reading material.
This is an interesting book - but not an absorbing one.