Crossways was a luxurious hunting and fishing lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains, owned and operated by Judge Bramblett. The judge, retired from the bench, was assisted by his two granddaughters: Cherry, a pretty redhead with a warm, outgoing personality who loved the world and all its creatures; and her older sister, Loyce, depressed and withdrawn since the death of her fiancé fourteen months before.
Although the two sisters were, superficially, as different as night and day, they had at least some tastes in common, as demonstrated by their mutual interest in Jonathan Gayle. Jonathan, a lawyer from the north who was visiting the Lodge for an indefinite vacation period while he reassessed his future, was attractive, with the charm of the unfamiliar, and with the appeal of the temporary wayfarer. In addition, he had known Loyce’s dead sweetheart.