The inward and outward experiences of Nicola James, an orphan raised by her grandfather who is an Anglican dean, have for their setting the prairies and lakes of Manitoba and are centered around her years at St. Cuthbert's School. From her first days there she is the odd one, troublesome and at war with her enemy, the world; then, through tricks and betrayal of her real self, she achieves popularity so that when Tammy Olson, with her prettiness, understanding and independence, becomes a fellow pupil, Nicola becomes her willing slave, jealously, abjectly working to keep Tammy's love. It takes a summer visit to Tammy, after graduation, for Nicola to be shamed and disillusioned about her feeling for Tammy, and to be awakened to the goodness of those around her -- her grandfather, the headmistress, old friends -- and the promise of her future. There's a sensitive handling of the growing, rebelling, seeking girls a feeling for the atmosphere of the prairies and lakes, the school and church backgrounds; a sense of faith that is lost and found again. A special audience for this.