Catherine was the middle sister, the only married one -- her marriage to Bob Barter a doubtful success, viewed with keen curiosity by Madeleine, the clever sister, and by-passed by Celia, who had grown secretive since the war. Into the middle of Catherine's self-analysis and dissatisfaction crashes the tragedy of Celia's death -- the revelation that she had a secret life, and a child at school. Catherine, who had always yearned for a daughter, welcomed Rosie into her household -- rejoiced, though with occasional jealous pangs, in Rosie's immediate acceptance of Bob -- and planned for a glorious Christmas. Bob's business tensions seemed on the verge of lessening; Rosie was ecstatic at being ""home""; Madeleine's youthful suitor provided an extra fillip. Then came the blow- as Rosie's slip of the tongue revealed the identity of the missing father -Catherine's own Bob.... Straight story telling to this point, with occasional flashbacks. From here on, the story follows the introspective tortures of Catherine's natural revulsion- her gradual acceptance- to the conclusion in quiet agreement to adopt Rosie and carry on.... There's a certain urbanity along with a slightly old fashioned quality to Swinnerton's writing. But there's sure craftsmanship and acceptable story telling.