The mirage of the world Nona Reardon has created and cossetted is rudely shattered as the hurricane which hit the New England seacoast a few years ago is the instrument which here leaves Nona stranded in the debris of the life she has illusorily projected. For she is incapable of love, and the four little girls she presumably shares with her husband, Edward, are only the variations of a pattern- ""her pattern"". Her marriage (an exchange of a pound of flesh for the housekeeping money) she has decided to end by refusing to join Edward in a new post in the midwest. She plans to stay on in Sandpiper House which holds for her the reassuring context of her own childhood. Only as the hurricane blows up, and includes in its wreckage her home and her oldest daughter Mary (in this order) does Nona realize, as the past filters through, the earlier history of exclusion and repudiation which leaves her today- a woman alone... A first novel, the storm scenes add a real whiplash to the momentum of the story and the devastation- physical and psychological- it accomplishes; it also washes away some of the initial tendency towards a too fluid, too feminine (silvery, feathery) prose. The publishers will give this their support, and a woman's market should be easily approachable and available.