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?
Rosy Thornton is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a former Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge. She lives in a village nearby with her partner and their two daughters.