Loft-y living is a let-down when orphaned Emma joins arty Aunt Patsy in Edinburgh. At first she is unsettled by the erratic way of life--she doesn't get a weekly allowance but is told to ask for more money when she needs it, and Patsy never does the dishes after meals but only when she needs them. Aunt Laura, whom brother Richard lives with, sounds much better; at least she doesn't live on the fourth floor of a crumbly old building and she has regular meals at regular hours. When Emma realizes Patsy (and Stephen, her fiance) want and love her, she opts for Edinburgh over Exeter and predictable Laura. Developments flow from below the surface as Emma responds to the double exposure, making the gradient of change valid and credible.