Woolf's second novel is a huge step above _The Voyage Out_. The social observation is better, and funnier (I laughed out loud more than once), and the style smoother.
The plot follows the pattern of Shakespearean comedies of the he-loves-her-but-she-loves-that-other-guy-who-loves (etc.) variety. We meet Katherine Hiberry at a tea party, where she meets Ralph Denham, a solicitor who reviews law books for her father's journal. He falls in love not with her, but with his idea of her. She becomes engaged to William Rodney, whom she loves but is not _in_ love with. They both are acquainted with Mary Datchet, a young woman working at a suffragette organization, who falls in love with Denham. About half way through, Katherine's cousin Cassandra is introduced, and Rodney falls madly in love with her.