Fiction Is For More Than Escapism; Novel Negotiates New Ground On Immigration

Former Diplomat Harrod has always been a woman ahead of her time, so it’s no surprise she published such a fitting novel ahead of the vote. Recruited by the Foreign Office aged 19 and wed at 22, it didn’t deter Jean that she was expected her to resign upon marriage. Whilst she was busy working on a post Cold-War conference in Geneva, Jean stashed letters prompting her resignation in a drawer. The eventual birth of the Sexual Discrimination Act, along with her own persistence, made her the first woman in the Foreign Office to marry and have a full career. In fact, Jean and her husband (also a diplomat) were the first couple to go on joint overseas postings. The pair’s adventures include their time behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin, setting up a new British Consulate-General in Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution, and helping with the release of four kidnapped Cambridge students in Indonesia’s West Papua. It was travelling around the volatile archipelago of Indonesia that Jean began to realise the gravity of her role;