A close-up of a marriage and the aftermath of widowhood which throws a soft focus on Thelma who married a painter, Richard Halferd, at 17, had only known serenity in the uncertain, rather untidy life they lived together. With his sudden death- of a heart attack- she projects and rejects the possible paths open to her; with Janelou, her daughter, whose hard, bright efficiency is rather frightening, the prospect of the highly ordered, antiseptic regime she would have to follow seems impossible. She also forecasts living with Tom, her son, who'd married an older American woman she scarcely knows, or with her spinster sister, Vi, and as an alternative chooses suicide. How unjustified this decision is is shown with a gentle irony in the closing chapters. The quiet treatment here, pleasing as it is, still wont carry this too far.