The half-sisters are wholly unrelated in temperament -- much more than the colleges of their choice (Vassar and Smith) at the time (the late '30's) when you could get into either one interchangeably. Billie to begin with seems to be the real winner -- everything including boys comes more easily to her, and she's careless and carefree by nature; while Erica is the naive, reliable and sensible one. The story is told primarily in two insets a generation apart -- when as young women both fall in love with the same boy, Sam -- Sam whom Billie will marry; and later when they meet again as Erica has become wife, mother and writer -- ""adjunctive wife"" as she calls it to a professor only to discover that her world will not be well lost for love (his brother). Cynthia Seton's second novel and fifth book is in the middle distance of women's fiction -- perhaps a little more swaddled in sentimental words that you would prefer not to see expressed (beguile; delicious; et al.) but a reflection of just the kind of once more protected, now slightly emancipated, milieu which will contain its readership.