Sheila, although only 12 years old, is the dominant personality in her English family. It is she, or so Sheila thinks, who is responsible for having arranged circumstances to convince her widowed mother to remarry Albert Templeton -- a close friend who has just inherited a country estate in Ocean Crest, Washington. Sheila takes it upon herself to straighten out a mass of problems which confront the newly established family. Her elder sister Pam and step-brother Bert are both hostile to the new arrangement. The next door neighbors, the Days, are troublemakers for the Templetons and the whole community -- Mr. Day is after Albert Templeton's oyster farm, Mrs. Day lords it over the other women because of her prize-winning oriental garden, and their daughter is a spoiled, poorly brought-up brat. In order to salvage some friends' old-fashioned garden, Sheila finds a way of getting rid of the divisive Garden Club Contest. There are also personal problems for Sheila of adjusting to a new school, new friends, and learning to care for her personal appearance. And just for good measure there is the discovery of a hidden room and an old smuggling plot. Presumably the point of all this is that each member of the Templeton family develops an independent personality while adjusting to the rest of the family, and Sheila learns to curb her bossiness. Unfortunately, however, the plot is so immersed in involvements and confused detail that the characters are sever satisfactorily developed and the story is inconclusive.