Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930), born in Randolph, Massachusetts, began to publish stories about New England in the early 1880s. In the following decades, Freeman drew widespread praise for her intimate portraits of women and her realistic depictions of rural New England life. She published short stories, essays, novels, plays, and children's books. Her stories, written in a clear and direct prose, are remarkable for their unpretentious, sympathetic portrayals of the lives of ordinary New Englanders of Freeman's era. Many of the stories depict rebellion against oppressive social and private conditions. Others describe conflicting desires for independence and lasting relationships. This volume of twenty-eight stories is the first to provide a representative sample of Freeman's finest work, from all phases of her career. It makes plain why Freeman (in the words of editor Mary R. Reichardt) is widely recognized as an important figure "in the history of American women's fiction . . . and the development of the American short story."