Eager to escape her carhop mother and the rank and file of her California town, Megan Greene heads for Radcliffe -- in part to pursue an older man (twenty-one, Harvard medical school, Cape Cod summers) who represents her dream of the upper-middle-class, conservative East Coast. What Megan finds are four other girls -- Janet, Lavinia, Peg, and Cathy -- who seem to have little in common save for their freshman status. Neither they nor Megan could know that their destinies are about to inextricably intertwine.
The year is 1943, and these superior women, as often enemies as friends, will share a place in each other's lives that no one else can -- not husbands, not lovers. Across four decades, as time and events sweep away their expectations, five women discover their sexuality, reveal their secrets, struggle with independence -- sometimes surrendering, sometimes making stunning choices -- in Alice Adams' richly drawn, uncompromising novel about women's intimate, interior, and often unsuspected lives.