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Rose Macaulay takes a lively and perceptive look at three generations of women within the same family and the 'dangers' faced at each of those stages in life. The book opens with Neville celebrating her 43rd birthday and contemplating middle age now that her children are grown. Her mother, in her sixties, seeks answers to her melancholy in Freudianism. Her sister, Nan, 33, a writer who has hitherto led a single and carefree life in London, experiences the loss of love and with it her plan for the future. And Neville's principled daughter Gerda, who is determined not to follow her mother's generation into the institute of marriage, finds herself at an impasse with the man she loves.