Like pampered southern belies, Lucie Barton and her younger daughter Stella were outraged at the idea of earning money but preferred to depend wholly on clear- responsible Avis for their upkeep. Too pent up to complain audibly, Avis suffered their extravagances with an exasperated reserve -- the rambling Louisiana mansion they were too proud to rent or sell, expensive clothes, Stella's college fees. Then Tracy Warren appeared on the scene. An old fighter for personal independence, he will not indulge Avis in sympathy, but encourages her to look at her own motives for becoming a ""doormat daughter"" and a ""soft touch"" sister. Could the dubious rewards of martyrdom and a camouflaged sense of superiority be among them? Failing at first, but buttressed by the advice of old Cousin Nini and the threat of losing Tracy because of her self-imposed prison, Avis' second look goes into effect. Lucie and Stella take those jobs; the property is rented; and change, so alien to southern tradition, takes place. This is an absorbing and well written study of one girl's self examination conceived authentically within the confines of this particular locate.