Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a bitter, lonely life as a self-made careerist. Sheba Hart is the ethereal, inexperienced new pottery teacher at St. George's school. When Barbara hears of Sheba's problems in the classroom, her sympathy soon leads to friendship and confidence. But Barbara is unprepared for the secret she will learn: that Sheba has begun a passionate affair with an underage male student. Barbara's confusion, disapproval, and jealousy are helpless to prevent the coming disaster. When the story comes to light and Sheba falls prey to the inevitable media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense, an account that reveals not only Sheba's secrets but her own. What results is a complex psychological portrait framed as a wicked satire, a story of passion and repression, mercy and betrayal.
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