The Belles of Christiania is a serious but funny novel about the problematic home life, the academic challenges of college, and the frustrating romantic relationships of Neal Olavson. Neal's widowed mother, Marian, constantly nags him about his shortcomings while he is living at home with her. She cannot recover from the death of her handsome husband, so she measures Neal by his standards, while holding her oldest son, Phil, in high esteem because of his athletic and academic achievements. Marian has just rejected her alcoholic boyfriend, Al, whom Neal sees as his father figure. Since Neal is not a top student, he fears that he will flunk out of Christiania, and he seeks help in math from his friend, Dean Carlson, a premed whiz in math. Dean likes to lead Neal around by the nose and makes plans for Neal to hook up with Christie Norheim. The two Romeos seem to find luck one night when they find Chrsitie and her friend Astrid in a booth at Oscar's Deli, next to the college. But, Neal's pursuit of the beautiful, rich, and sophisticated Christie from California is frustrated every step. Marian interferes one night at a dinner party at Neal's home and apparently kills all of Neal's chances for a romantic relationship with Christie. At the same time, Phil is accused of cheating on a philosophy exam and could be expelled from Christiania just days before his graduation. He has recently proposed to his lovely classmate, Betsy, and she is deeply involved in Phil's cheating scandal. In the end, Neal's problems are basically resolved at Phil's graduation party, after Marian introduces Neal to Maren Makuson, a very cute friend of Betsy's, who needs a ride home to a neighboring town.