The pleasant, if unexciting, annals of the Deering family, of rural Ashbridge, as widowed Caroline copes with her children --spoiled, selfish Leda, effervescent Bobbie, and James, absent in Malaya -- her famous actress sister, Harriet Fane, and her new friend, Robert Shepperton. With unassuming faith and goodness, Caroline pulls a young friend through a difficult childbirth, recognizes, although she does not approve of, Leda's engagement to eligible Derek. She has the joy of James' return home and his choice of career, the mixed pleasure of learning Robert's past, she goes to and gives a party, valiantly faces the disgrace of Leda's broken engagement, and she steps aside to give Harriet's love for Robert more than a fair chance. But Robert's persistence and Harriet's understanding give Caroline well-deserved happiness. Some tartness and spice to the story make this a pleasing and plausible English still life.