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The story begins with a storm outside an old house and stormy scenes inside between the house’s occupants. It details the eventful life of Zoe Blount, including her involvement in a mystery and her place in a complicated family history. It also follows the course of her romantic attachment and sympathetically portrays her suffering as a result of sexual double standards. The characters’ experiences, particularly within marriage, depict changing ideas of gender roles and relationships in the beginning years of the twentieth century.