Critically acclaimed for her short stories, the author here presents a novel of a September wedding in Mississippi in the 20's, at Shellmound, homeplace of the Fairchilds, determinedly independent within their close-woven family pattern...Motherless, nine year old Laura McRaven, visits her mother's family as the preparations for Dabney's wedding rush to their finals. Believing herself an outsider, Laura tries hard to become part of the intimate, intricate family existence. There are the old aunts, living in their past loves and hates; Dabney's father, Battle, essence of Fairchild; his wife Ellen, pregnant once again, and still aware of her Virginia origins; Aunt Tempe, the manager, sure that without her the wedding would not be up to family standards. There are the flurried excitements of the last moments before the ceremony, the complex reactions of adults and children, the reception, and Dabney and Troy's return from their honeymoon. A remembrance of customs and personalities, the feel of old roots dying and new roots going down, in lucid yet tortuous prose,- this is quality, rather than quality, merchandise.