I didnt realise that for want of one person the world could be meaningless. Blissfully in love for the first time, seventeen-year-old Polly thus confides to her grandmother, Muff. And these words could equally well have been spoken by Muff, or Pollys mother, Tessie. Muff can never forget her beloved brother Con, killed in the First World War, and Tessie has never recovered from the loss of her great childhood friend, Mike.Both women have married, but their lives are unfulfilled and haunted by cherished memories - Muff looks back longingly to her youth when she was a great beauty and mourns the frailty of old age, and Tessie sadly contemplates her failures: as wife, mother and woman.This sensitive story of women and love across three generations moves in time between the early part of the century, the Second World War and the Seventies. An elegantly written novel, it is both funny and sad, remarkable for its perceptive treatment of human weakness.