The story of Jennifer, early conditioned to retreat and denial, who finds that you can't cut yourself off from everything. Refusing to acknowledge her father's drunkeness and insubstantial charm, her mother's martyrdom and selflessness, Jennifer when orphaned is informally adopted by the attractive California Mallisons whose happy, casual life cannot break through her defenses. Love for their son, Leo, does not prevent her from sending him into marriage with another, and Jennifer marries Mrs. Mallison's brother, Oliver, for security. Her work with patient, devoted Wally at his settlement house opens her eyes to the values she has discarded -- and breaking with Oliver over ethics and ideals -- it is to Wally she turns for love and happiness. A woman's book -- of more substance than usual -- that makes the most of emotional -- psychological entanglements, and which uses the war to highlight the issues.