I really enjoyed this book.
It's a sort of feminine Tom Sharpe light (as opposed to dark, not a comment on its worth) with faint echoes of Porterhouse Blue, set in a university town full of beautiful and ancient colleges. The action, however, mostly takes place at Branston College, a 1960s concrete monstrosity. With the exception of Olly, a post-graduate who can't find a job to finance him while he writes his novel, the main characters are all newcomers in various states of angst and or despair: Isabel, a brilliant but poor scholar, ripe for exploitation by the rich and lazy; Diana, divorced, betrayed and impoverished by her fraudster husband, now living with her daughter on a rough council estate while she tries to make a living as the Branston College gardener; Richard, the new Master, a neurologist from America, still grieving for his dead wife. These characters are all very engaging and sensitively drawn. The minor characters are drawn with a broader more comic brush: hearts of gold Debs and Shanna-Mae, rich bitch Amber, evil Jasper, ghastly Sara and the rather sweet ineffectual academics, the Stringers.
The storylines weave around each other until they all pull together and tragedy is averted. (Given the cover, I don't think that is too much of a spoiler.)
A quick, amusing and pleasant read.