Miss Witherspoon had no training or experience as a teacher, but she had that something else that won the love and confidence of children and made her school, Pear Hill, a haven for kids whose parents seemed to have neither time nor love nor faith to give them. It all started when she came as a sort of governess- companion for Gordon Pace, willful, starved of affection, poor little rich boy in a Connecticut suburb. Gordon found his refuge in ""Gul"" as he called her -- and she grew to love him beyond reason, to protect him, almost to smother him so that at times he turned against her for stealing his manhood. And meantime, over the years, the school grew out of this tenuous beginning, and other children found in her what they needed. This is the story of how too great love can go wrong. This is a sensitive and penetrating study of the underlying currents in such a community, where people had too much wealth, too little stability, too thin a coating of morality. Miss Witherspoon had her failures- to her they were more evident than her successes, perhaps because Gordon was her greatest failure, and his tragedy was here. But in the end, what she had planted in another of her ""children"" bore its fruit, and in what the future held for him and his family, she saw a way to go on. It is an unusual story, not dependent on the suggestive content of Peter de Vries and others but on a kind of compassionate understanding of deeper currents that strive to come to the surface. This is Sarah Litsey's third novel; it has some of her best writing and a greater integrity of goal and achievement.