First and most masterful in an ingrown British trilogy, this traces the blossoming of Jane Kitson Haverard from an unhappy twelve through her finding ""the real me."" That finding isn't easy since she's deemed ""queer"" or just ignored by her impersonal motherless family: Cousin Laura, the shallow spinster Quaker who runs it, concerned with committees and convention; Kit's aging, absent (minded) professor-father and three brothers, older and away. Her ensuing breakdown sends her to the place that makes the difference--to ""the Aunts"" at Manningleigh who reared her mother, and thence to the unrestrained Kitson cousins at Gramercie. With the emergence there of a pure soprano comes the emergence of a freer, surer Kit; she's ready to tackle Heryot, the Quaker boarding school, together with cousins Sheila and Milly and friends from pre-teen days Pony and Helen. Kit meets a series of genuine musicians and re-meets Terry and Papa Andreas whom she'd known at Gramercie (and who later become her husband and teacher, respectively). The story ends with her discovery that the real she will sing, anticipating the sequel--which is a must for girls who've come this far with the spunky heroine of a perceptive Bildungsroman.