‘Have you ever seen The Thomas Crown Affair? Faye Dunaway (sugar pink lips, fabulous nails, playing Black) utterly destroys Steve Mc Queen (blue eyes, playing White). It’s a dazzling performance …That film made me get out the chess set I’d abandoned three years earlier. It made me search through East Anglia for a blue-eyed boy suffering from wealth-ennui. I never found one, but my chess and my nails were outstanding for a thirteen year old.’
Lexicographer, chess master and hedonist, Rose is down on her luck when she meets Jamie, a guy she beat at chess twelve years previously who has never recovered from losing the game or forgotten the sight of Rose’s perfectly manicured nails poised to strike over the chess board. She’s destitute, he’s loaded and terrified of losing her again. They strike a bargain: in return for chess he will keep her. What is it like being a kept woman in the 21st century?
Rose is about to find out. She’s also about to learn that disguising your moves in chess can lead to victory, but doing the same thing in love leads to disaster.