Long Island, New York of the late 1600's serves as a pastoral backdrop for this gentle story of Gretje Harmensen. Gretje is bewildered and confused as she approaches eighteen-- a right age for a pretty farm lass to marry and leave home. But popular Gretje cannot choose between James, an earless, fanatical young Quaker (he arrives at the farm after having been tortured), and Tred Dow, a merry, freckle-faced, fiddle-playing cobbler. At first she says ""yes"" to Tred, but when her family's farm is destroyed by fire, she retracts her promise, deciding that she never wants to leave home. The author's attempt to recreate Long Island of long-ago and thus give young Long Islanders a sense of their history, has misfired, because the characters are mere types--, and the fields which breathe too sweetly could be Anywhere, U.S.A. As the reader watches the unsuspenseful tale entwine and unwind amidst flowering vines and soft grasses, Gretje, a delicate flower among the buds and leaves, and her two admirers, become more and more flawlessly dull.