Hearts and Minds, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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?


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I don't think I can an add much to the excellent reviews of this book that are already posted here, except to make a few comments inspired by a couple of them. First, I agree that the book is done a disservice by it's rather fluffy, chick-lit style cover design. This is not to denigrate in any way the skill or talent of the designer, simply to suggest that the style creates the wrong impression about the contents. This is not a heavy novel, but nor is it a frivolous one. I do not normally feel embarrassed to be seen on the train reading books that are regarded as primarily being for women readers, but this one did give me a few minor qualms. I probably would never have picked it up had I not already enjoyed Thornton's more recent novel 'Crossed Wires', which I think I came across on someone's blog. This is a pity because I think H&M would have a wider appeal that the cover suggests, particularly amongst those who like university novels or stories about the inner workings of small communities.I agree that anyone who appreciated C.P. Snow's 'The Master' would probably like this one. I think I would go so far as to say that 'Hearts and Minds' actually has the edge over Snow, it has a little more sparkle than its predecessor. Snow's novel reads like the work of an academic who doesn't want to let his hair down too much, whereas Thornton seems to have no fear that writing in a lively modern style might in any way detract from her reputation as a scholar.

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