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Book Title: The Tortoise and the Hare|
The author of the book: Elizabeth Jenkins
Date of issue: 1983
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 514 KB
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The magnetic Evelyn Gresham, fifty-two, is a barrister of considerable distinction. He has everything life can offer: a gracious home; a beautiful, devoted younger wife; a son who adores him. Their neighbor, Blanche Silcox, is a plain, tweed-wearing woman of fifty who rides, shoots, fishes, and drives a Rolls-Royce in every way the opposite of his wife. Their world is conventional country life at its most idyllic: how can its gentle surfaces be disturbed? A love story with a difference, subtly demonstrating that in affairs of the heart, the race is not necessarily to the swift or fair.
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Read information about the authorFrom Elizabeth Jenkins' obituary in The New York Times:
As a novelist, Ms. Jenkins was best known for “The Tortoise and the Hare” (1954), the story of a disintegrating marriage between a barrister and his desperate wife that Hilary Mantel, writing in The Sunday Times of London in 1993, called “as smooth and seductive as a bowl of cream.” Its author, Ms. Mantel wrote, “seems to know a good deal about how women think and how their lives are arranged; what women collude in, what they fear.”
To a wider public Ms. Jenkins was known as the author of psychologically acute, stylishly written, accessible biographies. Most dealt with important literary or historical figures, but in “Joseph Lister” (1960) she told the life of the English surgeon who pioneered the concept of sterilization in medicine, and in “Dr. Gully’s Story” (1972) she reconstructed a Victorian murder and love triangle.
Margaret Elizabeth Jenkins was born on Oct. 31, 1905, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where a year earlier her father had founded Caldicott, a prep school.
She studied English and history at Newnham College, Cambridge, where at the time women could take exams but not receive degrees. The principal of the college was Pernel Strachey, sister of the biographer and Bloomsbury figure Lytton Strachey, and through her Ms. Jenkins met Edith Sitwell and Leonard and Virginia Woolf.
She found the company intellectually distinguished but rude and unpleasant. Woolf’s description of Ms. Jenkins’s first novel, “Virginia Water” (1929), as “a sweet white grape of a book” did not erase the impression.
Despite good reviews for her first novel and a three-book deal with the publisher Victor Gollancz, Ms. Jenkins began teaching English at King Alfred’s School in Hampstead, where she remained until the outbreak of World War II.
In this period she wrote two of her most admired biographies, “Lady Caroline Lamb” (1932) and “Jane Austen” (1938), as well as the chilling “Harriet” (1934), a novel about the sufferings of a mentally disabled woman whose husband, a scheming clerk, marries for her money.
During the war Ms. Jenkins worked for the Assistance Board, helping Jewish refugees and victims of the German air raids on London. She later worked for the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Information.
“Elizabeth the Great” (1958) showed her biographical talents at their most effective. Although she relied on the standard historical sources, Ms. Jenkins added a psychological dimension to her portrait that other historians had scanted.
The historian Garrett Mattingly, in a review, wrote that Ms. Jenkins “is really not much interested in war and diplomacy, politics and finance.” Her specialty, he argued, was the human heart. “We believe Elizabeth Jenkins,” he added, “because, by imaginative insight and instinctive sympathy, she can make the figures of a remote historical pageant as real, as living, as three-dimensional as characters in a novel.”
Ms. Jenkins returned to the Elizabethan period in “Elizabeth and Leicester” (1961) and roamed further afield in “The Mystery of King Arthur” (1975) and “The Princes in the Tower” (1978). In “Six Criminal Women” (1949), she presented short studies of two murderers, a pickpocket, a blackmailer and a con artist living between the 14th and 19th centuries. A more wholesome gallery of characters was put on view in “Ten Fascinating Women” (1955).
In 1940 she helped found the Jane Austen Society and took part in its campaign to buy Austen’s house at Chawton, where Austen spent the last eight years of her life. It is now a museum.
Her novels included “Doubtful Joy” (1935), “The Phoenix’ Nest” (1936), “Robert and Helen” (1944), “Brightness” (1963) and “Honey” (1968).
In 2004 Ms. Jenkins published a memoir, “The View From Downshire Hill.” Its title refers to the Hampstead neighborhood whe
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