Lily discovers that she has artistic ability that is uniquely her own, not just an echo of her parents' talents. Lily and her artist father, O.J., have summered in Mrs. Phipps' tony beach house on the understanding that he will paint several seascapes for her to purchase; but the sophisticated paintings he has produced are beyond her comprehension. Angered, she demands rent unless O.J. can come up with acceptable paintings in a week. Instead, he takes his paintings to New York to show (with triumphant results, as it turns out); Lily is left to fend off Mrs. Phipps and pretend O.J. is there, working. With this in mind, she tries her own hand at seascapes, surprising herself with the interest she feels in their creation. She also expands her horizons by spending time with some rich, unhappy children next door, a kind novelist who has promised to look out for her, and an attractive woman astronomer. The situation here and its easy resolution (Mrs. Phipps is delighted with Lily's unschooled pictures, even after Lily tells her who painted them) are both unlikely. But Lily herself is an attractively self-reliant, creative person who interacts believably with her grown neighbors, drawing strength and direction from their kindness in the absence of much help from either parent.
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