How could a high spirited, willful and completely feminine 16 year old channel her energy and worldly interests in a strict Quaker household in the year 1856? What with father ruling the roost and submissive sister Sallie providing the perfect example, Betsy could only live vicariously in the pleasures and excitement of her friend Marianne's ""frivolous"" life. The windfall that promises to sweep Betsy to freedom -- an invitation to visit Aunt Hannah in fashionable Atlantic City- instead, presents a serious challenge. Betsy is confronted with the task of converting a rundown empty boarding house into a thriving small hotel without the help of her Aunt who has become a recluse. For Betsy this is not only a summer of hard work and responsibility -- it is also a time of searching and self-discovery. At long last Betsy must make peace with both the basic teachings of her family and her exuberant joy of life, a formidable task for any growing girl. But luckily, Betsy's road is illuminated by the friendship of a ""wild"" gypsy girl and the love of Paul Rowland, a young Quaker of quite a different nature. The questionable lapses in verisimilitude become minor in the warmth and humanity of a story which is applicable to any day and age.