A portrait of a child striving to retain a desperate illusion, as 13-year old Lisa, growing older, strains to believe in the security of her parents' marriage. Daughter of a painter, Michael, and of a devoted mother, Margaret, Lisa's comfortable world is threatened when Michael's reputation is promoted by lion-collector, Agnes. Conflict is reflected in the child, who learns that things are better when there is less money, less of the lurid light of success; she rebels, tries not to conform, runs away from school and ultimately provides reconciliation motif in near-death from pneumonia. The extroverted, foreign group of artists in contrast to the local inhabitants of a French fishing village; Michael's charm, Margaret's winning goodwill, Lisa's unconscious revelations -- these from a basis for a novel in sharp contrast to the author's regional novel, Life and Death of Little Joe. The new book shows a certain advance in ability to portray character in opposition to circumstance.