Kate is heart-broken when her husband Keith insists that they take a year’s sabbatical from their marriage, to enable him to give his attention to combining his career as a university lecturer with his new appointment as television newscaster and linkman. Kate, he says, can use the time to find her own identity that has until now been submerged in the trivia of being a housewife and mother. To Kate this wasn’t trivia. She enjoyed being a wife and mother. Lately she had been looking forward to entertaining Keith’s television colleagues; by association being part of the magic world of television. Instead she had been rejected. That her husband had made this decision known on Christmas Day in the middle of a family Christmas added to Kate’s misery. After a period of grief and loneliness Kate picks herself up and gets on with her life. Encouraged by her flamboyant friend Sally, she starts a catering business, sheds many of her inhibitions, and begins to enjoy herself. Two others who stand by Kate are Carey Barely, her daily help, and monosyllabic gardener Nat. These two are real village characters, who once they had given their support will continue to do so whatever happens. Within the family Kate had adversaries in the form of her vindictive and manipulative mother-in-law Amy, and her churlish student daughter Emma. Daughter-in-law Lois weighs in on Kate’s side, while son David sits on the fence. When Christmas comes round again it is a very different Kate who awaits her husband’s return. Although she has done as Keith suggested and discovered her identity, it is an identity that none of them, not even Kate herself, could possibly have envisaged or believed possible. Keith, on the other hand, has not changed; the new charismatic Keith is only for the television camera, at home he is still the dominating rather dull man he always was, the difference is that now Kate can see it. Kate is faced with a dilemma: she can continue out of duty with a marriage which now has become untenable, or she can break free from the marriage and enjoy the exciting new life she has carved out for herself. Kate goes for the break free option. This results in Keith and his mother resorting to emotional blackmail to force Kate to stay, using a threat that is so terrible that it seems to Kate that she has no choice but to give in. After a miserable night spent contemplating a bleak future, Kate realises that she has a choice: one that will enable her to turn the tables on the conniving pair.