Ten high achieving ladies are gathered together in the week between Christmas and the New Year, at the expensive Castle Spa, seeking, through Botox, aromatherapy and general all round pampering, a new beginning to their lives. The Ladies lounge around in the Jacuzzi, drinking champagne and eating chocolate telling each other the stories of their lives. Starting with the Trophy wife's tale: her spell in a Greek prison has left her in serious need of a makeover; the Brain Surgeon's tale: of twins and mistaken identity; the Judge's tale: of the sex change which allowed him to judge the pleasures of the bedchamber from both male and female perspectives. The manicurist, the public speaker, the journalist, the company director, the ex vicar's wife, the screenwriter, all share their stories, ending with the stepmother's tale, a reversal of Cinderella's fate, with the stepmother as victim...Sparkling, witty, always compassionate and occasionally libidinous, Fay Weldon's new novel recalls Boccaccio's late medieval masterwork, The Decameron. Boccaccio dedicated his book to the ladies of his time, who were forced to hide their amorous passions under a veil of discretion, while men were free to indulge theirs.