Living in Long Island, the 15-year old daughter of upwardly mobile parents,invites her young cousin, Daisy Mae to spend some time in the summer with her while she babysits for several families and their pets. Black marks on Daisy's legs soon evince signs of a serious illness which the two girls keep secret to allow Daisy to remain on the island. They become involved in the lives of the families they work for, especially with Flora, the two-year old daughter of a 70-year old painter and his young wife. The narrator observes how Flora is left alone after the wife takes off and the painter secretes himself in his studio with the housekeeper. How the painter seduces the 15-year old is told in a tender,gentle manner, but the secret life is unraveled as parents find out about Daisy's illness and returns her to her own family. Other colorful characters include her alcoholic Uncle Tommy, reminiscent of the author's previous novel, "Charming Billy" and the poor Moran family next door. This delicately told coming -of age novel seduces the reader with its understated tension.
This report prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson