Bob Brand was being raised by drunken, brutal parents until he was fifteen years old. He had a paper route, like many young boys. One night, he refused to give his father the money he collected to pay his paper bill and was beaten badly by his father. He escaped from the home and went to see an elderly doctor on his route to get help. Dr. Ted Woods sewed him up and called the police. His father was arrested and given a year in jail and was allowed three days to get his affairs in order. He and his wife fled, and Dr. Woods gained custody of Bob in a hearing.
Dr. Woods hired Julia Finney to be his housekeeper. Julia had a daughter, Martha, who was born when Julia was fifteen years old. Both Julia and Martha suffered feelings of guilt and shame due to Julia's background. Bob's presence in his new family somehow seemed to knit the four people into a happy, loving family and cured the feelings of shame, guilt, and inferiority held by both Julia and Martha. As Dr. Woods remarked, Bob provided the glue to make them a happy, loving family. He also said Bob had gifts he was unaware he had. Whenever he was near, held, or kissed a person, they experienced great warmth and love. He had the same effect on animals, which had no fear of him and wanted to get close to him, much to the amazement of Dr. Woods and his family and bystanders.
Martha fell in love with Bob, as did Julia, but Julia knew the difference in the ages between Bob and her made it impossible for them to ever marry. Bob fell in love with both Julia and Martha. Martha fell deeply in love with Bob and constantly tried to seduce him, believing when he did, he would marry her, even as young as they were.
This book is about the life of Bob and how he reacted when he lost first his wife, Martha; his second wife, Julia; and finally his housekeeper, Peggy. He, finally, with the help of Peggy's daughter, Cynthia, discovers his hidden gift.