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The Spa Decameron

There’s a gathering of high-achieving ladies, at the remote and expensive Castle Spa, over the ten days of Christmas and New Year. None of them have met before. Have they no homes to go to? Why have they put their lives on hold? Perhaps they think they’ve come to seek, through Botox, aromatherapy and extravagant pampering, a better understanding of their lives? But the ladies are wilful: they lounge around in the Jacuzzi, drinking champagne, eating permitted caviar and forbidden chocolate, and confessing the stories of their lives, startling and scandalous though these may be. Perhaps they have found a better therapy? All female life is here:

  • The War Correspondant’s alter ego as fretful mistress
  • The Queen of Public Speking on the international lecture-circuit, with her loneliness and her heart complaint
  • The Trophy Wife: fresh from a spell in a Greek prison, her need for a makeover desperate
  • The Brain Surgeon’s tale – of twins and mistaken identity
  • The Hollywood Screenwriter who thinks her characters have written her
  • The Judge: she was once a man. Only he/she knows…which gender takes most pleasure in sex?
  • The Conspiracy Theorist whose worst fears are coming true
  • The Virgin Manicurist from Liverpool – why does she need a bodyguard?
  • And the cautionary tale of the Stepmother – a reversal of Cinderella’s fate, with the stepmother as victim…and in all of them is a little of all of us

Witty, compassionate and casually libidinous, Fay Weldon’s sparkling new novel, in its ten days of storytelling, nods back to the DECAMERON of Boccacio – who dedicated his book to the ladies of his time. They were forced to hide their amorous passions under a veil of discretion, while men stayed free to indulge theirs. Weldon’s women, on the other hand, are women of today: no veil of discretion for them…