Sophie--a clever and charming young woman--is trying to get out from under her mother's thumb. She's in love with her childhood friend Philip (pragmatic, attractive, a bit of a bore), but she often worries that she loves him too much for her own good, and that he might only be another thumb to crawl under.
Both a sincere bildungsroman of Sophie's attempt to seize a life for herself and a comic masterpiece with cutting observations and asides, The Halt During the Chase is flutteringly alive as it discusses different forms of love, adulthood ("Isn't buying new lampshades a form of slow death?"), marriage, insecurity, and stifling British snobbery and classism. Sophie's voice, fueled by Tonks's acidic narration, evolves from thrashing about in various traps into a triumphant, croaky-throated liberation song.