We meet Louise Bradshaw in the summer of 1941, smarting under the disproportionate attention lavished on her fragile, musically talented twin sister Caroline since their birth 13 years earlier. We get to know her better the next summer when she and her cumbersome male friend Cal take up with old "Captain" Wallace, a 70-year-old native of their Chesapeake Island who has returned after a 50-year absence. Louise resents Cal's special relationship with the Captain, and resents even more her sister's subsequent friendship with both Cal and the Captain. She is devastated when the Captain offers to send Caroline off to music school; and when Cal and the other young men go off to war, Louise willingly drops out of high school to help her waterman father with the crabs and oysters. Perhaps the biggest blow is when Cal returns from the war all grown up, and announces his intention of marrying Caroline, now off at Juilliard. The interesting aspect of all Louise's torment and self-sacrifice is the growing realization that it isn't being forced on her. But not until she has settled down as a nurse-midwife (the only medical help) in a small Appalachian community--marrying a man with three children to boot--does she recognize and freely accept that she was destined to fulfill herself in a life of service. Paterson has to get into these later years to make the point, and to avoid the instant realizations that substitute in too many juvenile novels. However, this tends to flatten the tone and blur the shape of the novel. Louise's earlier, intense feelings evoke recognition and sympathy, but this hasn't the resonant clarity of Bridge to Terabitha or The Great Gilly Hopkins.