Harge takes his and Carol's daughter Rindy to live with him, limiting Carol's access to her as divorce proceedings continue.
To escape from the tension in New York, Carol and Therese take a road trip West as far as Utah, over the course of which it becomes clear that the feelings they have for each other are romantic and sexual.
Therese, after a brief flirtation with an English actress that leaves her ashamed, quickly reviews her relationships —"loneliness swept over her like a rushing wind"— and goes to find Carol, who greets her more eagerly than ever before.
The woman, Carol Aird, gives Therese her address to have her purchases delivered.
On an impulse, Therese sends Carol a Christmas card. Richard accuses Therese of having a "schoolgirl crush", but Therese knows it is more than that: She is in love with Carol.
They realize the investigator has already bugged the hotel room in which Carol and Therese first had sex.
Carol confronts him and demands that he hand over any evidence against her.
It is also notable for being the only one of her novels with not only "a conventional 'happy ending Therese Belivet is a lonely young woman, just beginning her adult life in Manhattan and looking for her chance to launch her career as a theatre set designer.
When she was a small girl, her widowed mother sent her to an Episcopalian boarding school, leaving her with a sense of abandonment.
She tells Therese that she cannot continue their relationship.
Carol leaves Therese alone in the Midwest and returns to New York to fight for her daughter.
They become physically as well as emotionally intimate and declare their love for each other.
The women become aware that a private investigator is following them, hired by Harge to gather evidence that could be used against Carol by incriminating her as homosexual in the upcoming custody hearings.
The historical concept, definition and terminology of sexual orientation varies and has changed greatly over time; for example the word "gay" wasn't used to describe sexual orientation until the mid 20th century.