A three-panelled story of a strange triangle involving Parson David Humiston, Southern Methodist preacher, perilously attractive to women, Miss Ora, whose life was dedicated to bringing up her younger brother and sister and holding the family together, and winsome Ellen, who couldn't resist ""collecting"" beaus. Ora, for the first time in her life, found herself half ashamedly in love; ""David"" would speak at any moment that the Lord told him to. And then Ellen came home from a visit to Savannah -- and it was a case of love at first sight between them. The story from that point on traces,- first through Ora's eyes and heart, then through Ellen's, and lastly through David's,- the lifelong pattern of the frustrated spinster who cannot tear out her love, and never wholly transfers it to her devoted role as housekeeper, substitute mother, and of her recurrent madness when it gets beyond control. More lives than David's and Ellen's are ruined by her jealousy. His career is channelled into little assignments, while his gifts should have made him a Bishop. Ellen is never free to give her devotion to him full rein, lest her demonstrations bring on another ""attack"". And the growing family of girls, turning to Ora for the little attentions they crave, are even so cheated of normal family life, twisted, though not permanently, in their approach to marriage. And Ora herself, tortured by jealousy of her sister, of all the women with whom David comes in contact, fools herself into thinking hers is a life of complete self-abnegation, until she can fool herself no more and goes mad. It is a weird tale, convincingly told, cutting deep below the surfaces of major and minor characters alike. And through it the life of a Methodist parson, and his family, and the constantly shifting scene as he moves from one North Carolina town to another, is revealingly shown. Often disturbingly poignant, ones sympathies turned now this way, now that, this is unique and effective, and marks a great step forward in maturity of writing.