Mary Styles is a thirty-something shy librarian who lives and takes care of her cranky mother. At the library, she meets Gerald Ralston, a charming and quiet man. They meet for lunch a couple of times, and Gerald learns of the boring life Mary lives. He encourages her to put her mother in a nursing home so that she can go to the The Lakes hotel for the Easter holiday. Mary is hesitant, but takes his advice, surprising both her cantankerous mother and selfish sister. Gerald is shocked to see Mary at the hotel, but turns out to be a cold, unfeeling man. Mary is stunned at the way he treats her, and runs out of the hotel disturbed, nearly being hit by a car.
Alison Gray is a single woman in her late thirties, working for a government official, Stuart Mansell. She is also his mistress. Alison is not looking forward to the Easter holiday, because that means her lover will spend time with his family. This year, however, her boss will not spend the holiday with his family, and he decides to go to The Lakes hotel for vacation. Alison is invited to be with him, although it will appear to the world that they are on a "working vacation". Alison goes, but is tired of the life she's living. She wants her lover to herself all the time, and not just when it's convenient. During the holiday, Alison decides to end the relationship with Stuart. She locks her door every night.
Debbie and Tod Hanley have just been married. Tod wants to go to Spain for the honeymoon, but Debbie has other plans. They end up being at The Lakes for their honeymoon. Tod is upset and bored, and Debbie realizes that her husband is immature. Ignoring common sense, Tod and some other guests at the hotel go mountain climbing in foggy weather, and Debbie's husband loses his life, making her a widow at nineteen.
Throughout the book, these three women eventually overcome their disappointments, frustration, and anger. Debbie has to put up with her hometown that blames her for Tod's death. Alison quits her job and becomes a secretary at The Lakes hotel.
This report prepared by Marie Morris