Jane and Prudence, who met at Oxford (when Prudence was a student and Jane was her tutor), are best friends. The story opens with Jane - who is now married to a clergyman and is basically a housewife - moving with her husband to a new parish in a small town outside of London. Jane worries about Prudence, who is an attractive bachelorette career girl in London - at 29, Prudence is on her way to becoming a 'spinster' if she doesn't get married soon.
So Jane decides to fix Prudence up with Fabian, a good-looking but shallow widower who lives in her new parish. Prudence, who likes her life (and who is nursing a big crush on her married boss), goes along with the fix-up with Fabian mostly because she thinks she 'should'.
But she has competition for Fabian - another 'spinster' in the parish sees marriage to Fabian as her ticket out of a boring, unfulfilling life as a paid companion to her aging cousin. In the last part of the story, Fabian makes his choice between the two women, while Prudence discovers what it is she really wants out of life.
This report prepared by Sarah Welstead