A fleet little fable which archly navigates past old romance and new morality. When breathtaking Katie, at 17, announces an interest in marrying, her family--three exquisite older sisters and a beautiful mother--regards her mournfully. They prefer liberty and the variety of ""boarders"" who pass through their House--Little Women they're not. But Katie persists, and her quest uncovers several rejects (a mama's boy, a package-deal brother, a celibate minister, an already-attached glory) until, having returned home unaligned, she spots flawless Bartholomew and loses her cool. Unlike the others, he neither drowns in her eyes nor attempts the obvious while she, poor thing, pines traditionally. Chute squeezes the last juice out of some standard scenes--a would-be midnight seduction, a threshold crossing--and tucks in a few tart surprises here and there. For the faithful who want yet another jaunt through virgin woods, this one has sweet mavericks, meet asides, and a proper moral (""not everyone in the world wants the same thing"") to conclude.