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Harriett Frean is a well-to-do, unmarried woman living a life of meaningless dependency, boredom, and unproductivity as she patiently cares for her aging parents, waiting for a man to marry. When her opportunity for Love finally comes, she is offered a moral dilemma: the man is engaged to her best friend. Should she sacrifice what, according to the priorities of the time, seems like her "one chance for happiness," or should she seize the moment? Can she make something meaningful of her life without significant others? May Sinclair, as always gently ironic in tone, succeeds in skewering the conventions of her society while laying bare the hopeless realities for so many women of the era who were given so few chances really to live. ( summary by Expatriate)