Catherine Vernon has a firm hand on her family and on the family business. Her plans for her young protege Edward, whom she loves like a son, are disturbed by the arrival of Hester, a 14-year-old girl who is just as strong willed. The conflict between Catherine and Hester is resolved through their mutual love for Edward. On one level a love story, Hester is unusual for its time in its portrayal of women in business. – Summary by Anne Erickson
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