Estranged from her second husband, Jonathan, Clare Lyall is less sure than ever about the role men should play in her life. Her first husband, Richard, was much older than her, and his casual disregard for youth gradually hardened into indifference. And Jonathan, if anything, was too easy – too attentive, too concerned, and just a little too pedantic.
So when she meets Joshua Heron at a party, the offbeat Clare isn’t exactly thirsting for love. But she IS mildly impressed when Joshua stubs his cigarette out on his thumb, and still further by the advice of her new friend, the indomitable Mrs Fox. ‘Take a lover,’ she says, ‘it’s better to have a lover when you’re young than neurosis when you’re old …’