Every year, Mother hosts a reunion of her school friends, a cheerful group of ladies who are extra cheerful when they get together. Dolly, Minerva, and Cousin Geneviève are expected to hover around but not mingle, lest they hear disturbing gossip about the husbands of these ladies, or mildly shocking information about the ladies themselves. Of course, they are anxious to hear the latter, as it might give them some clues about their paradoxical mother.
The girls are rolling their eyes at the so-outdated gowns of the ladies. Do they still dress as they did as girls, or is it all part of the reunion ritual? Their fashion plates are from the French periodical Journal des Dames et des Modes, also known as Costume Parisien, which ran from 1797-1839. Geneviève is on edge. Never did she imagine that one of her aunt's school friends was the mother of her secret love, Louis.