As the new century dawns, Mabel Lila Wait’s world falls apart. The death of both parents within one year seems to mean the certain loss of her home and economic security. Her diary records her determined efforts to pull herself out of this “terrible desolation” and rebuild her life. With new-found independence and business acumen, she succeeds in purchasing and managing the family farm. Ardently pursued by two suitors—one near and one far—she records her anguished indecision about the choices facing her.