'D.E. Stevenson's latest novel is both grave and gay; it covers a wide field of action. The chief character in the story is Barbie France, who made a brief appearance in Five Windows, but there are numerous other people, relations and friends of Barbie's, ranging from old Lady Steyne, who lives to cultivate her garden, to young Bet Scott, who devises all manner of mischief and puts her family to considerable inconvenience.
Barbie and her friend Nell Babbington share a flat in London; Nell is secretary to a doctor and Barbie works for a large firm of Interior Decorators whose director, Mr Garfield, has great admiration for her skill. The job takes Barbie into different environments where she meets a number of different kinds of people. Her travels include visits to a beautiful Queen Anne house in the Cotswolds and a rugged old castle in the Borders of Scotland.
When Barbie has her fortune read from a tea-cup she is told to beware of a tall stranger who will cross her path; there is 'a letter from the north' and 'a voyage across the water' - in fact all the usual prophecies. Some of them come true'.