Onto this scene walks a breath of fresh air in the form of Mr. Riddick, a handsome young musician who has come to town to judge the Guild Auditions for the piano students of the town of Montcrief. Hes a natural charmer, and he brings with him a sophistication that Miss Etta and her neighbors haven't seen lately. He brings out the best in some, the worst in others. He judges fairly--but really fairly, meaning, for example, that hes not susceptible to the flirtatious charms of Jonell, the rich teenage trollop who tries to seduce him, either for the excitement or to influence his decision, or both. Mr. Riddick spends several days in Montcrief, during which hes the center of everyones attention, especially Miss Ettas.
Miss Etta and Mr. Riddick relate to each other very closely, and he helps her overcome her feelings of insecurity about the worth of what shes doing. When finally he leaves town, she must necessarily feel a bit deserted, but all the richer for his visit.
And then the weather strikes again. Its spring in the Ozarks, and that means the tornadoes that so terrify Miss Etta. She is in fact nearly destroyed by the storm at the end of the book, but her neighbors rescue her--not so much from the wind as from her hysterical reaction to it. This catharsis brings Miss Etta back to life, and the combination of the two visitations--from Mr. Riddick and from the tornado--leaves her a stronger woman, ready to go on with greater purpose.