In the summer of 1942, Anna's widowed father, a ""gentle, silent man,"" an historian and intellectual, enlists in the war. Fourteen-year-old Anna is to live in coastal California with the Raymonds, a family she has visited for seven summers previously and thinks is perfect; but the illusion soon wears thin. Accustomed to a quiet life with her undemonstrative father, Anna finds the richness of an openly caring family situation overpowering, the more so because she knows she is ""just a boarder"" and not one of them. There is pretty Paula, a year older than Anna, changeable and self-absorbed; Hans, a country doctor, gruffly affectionate yet unexpectedly firm and demanding; Rosamund, the mother, just out of Anna's reach; and little Roger, trusting and trustworthy. In their bosom for a year, Anna flowers, although she does not realize it; but she can't handle the emotions that surface and doesn't know how to invest them. She begins to romanticize her former barren life with father, making it better than it was. Longing to be with her own family, she impulsively chooses to leave the Raymonds for an aunt and uncle in the east, by no means sure that it is the right decision for her. An interesting novel that, like its heroine, is heavy-hearted and rough-edged.