Missy is 33 years old - very plain and already on the shelf - lives in genteel poverty and she and her aunt and mother are prevented from improving their lot because it is "not done" for them to work for outsiders, do anything like trade and it is considered preferable for them to starve rather than find some suitable employment. However Missy does have the backbone to get what she wants. Faking a life threatening illness she manages to hook the richest newcomer to their little town, upstages her cousin Alice - beautiful and rich, and generally turns the entire town on its head.
A very short novel, light and a nice read though it did make me mad when I read how the family was being cheated left, right and center by their own male relatives! It all comes right in the end for Missy and her family.