Martha Horgan is not like other women. She stares. She has violent crushes on people. She can't stop telling the truth. Martha craves love, independence, and companionship, but her relentless honesty makes her painfully vulnerable to those around her: Frances, her wealthy aunt and begrudging guardian; Birdy, who befriends her, then cruelly rejects her; and Colin Mackey, the seductive man who preys on her desires. Confused and bitter, distrusting even those with her best interests at heart, Martha is propelled into a desperate attempt to gain control over her own life. The sense of impending calamity is almost unbearable in this portrait of a woman who teeters on the edge of madness.
"Morris's magnanimous ability to portray her characters with so much tenderness and cruelty may be her novel's finest strength." (Boston Sunday Globe)