This early novel (Margaret Oliphant's first to be published) is narrated by Scottish spinster Margaret Maitland of Sunnyside. She tells how she became guardian to little Grace Maitland, and what followed. The story centers on family - especially on Grace and three other young people, following them through their loves and travails - as viewed through the observant but loving eyes of their aunt.
Biographical and other notes
Mrs Oliphant wrote in her autobiography that there was a bit of her mother in Margaret Maitland, and a bit of herself in the child Grace. Also one of the characters grapples with alcoholism, as did Oliphant's own brother Willie.