Amazon Product Description
With insight, humour and a great deal of affection, Rosy Thornton reveals the idiosyncrasies of life in a Cambridge college and the pitfalls of being a man in a woman’s world.
St Radegund’s College, Cambridge, which admits only women students, breaks with one hundred and sixty years of tradition by appointing a man, former BBC executive James Rycarte, as its new Head of House. As Rycarte fights to win over the Fellowship in the face of opposition from a group of feminist dons, the Senior Tutor, Dr Martha Pearce, faces her own battles: an academic career in stagnation, a depressed teenage daughter and a marriage which may be foundering. Meanwhile, the college library is susbiding into the fen mud and the students are holding a competition to see who can ‘get a snog off the Dean’. The question on everyone’s lips is how long will Rycarte survive at St Radegunds without someone’s help?
This is a behind the scenes tale of life and politics at St Radegund’s College at Cambridge University. For 60 years it’s for been women only but this tale starts with a man getting appointed as Head of House. Judging by the cover and the blurb I thought I was in for a light read with a sprinkling of romance but was pleased to discover it was far more than that. There are several underlying plots that could have stood alone as stories themselves. For instance, we meet Martha, who’s married to an unemployed poet, and her depressed 17-year-old daughter. Their family life fascinated me and I would have loved to hear more about them. Then there’s the ethical question that gets raised about admissions to the college. This starts when a rich father offers the college a million pounds in return for his daughter getting offered a place there. I found it fascinating to read about how the dilemma got solved. My only criticism is not a fault of the author’s but the cover art really is all wrong. It makes the book look like chick lit which may just put some readers off from even taking it off the shelves, which would be a real shame as they would be missing out on a great read.
Many thanks to Rosy Thornton for sending me a copy to read. I will definitely be looking out for more of your books, Rosy.