A disappointingly dull book after her lively stories of Mormon derivation, The Peaceable Kingdom, Up Home, etc. Perhaps Alitta Farrant was just too maddening a heroine for 600 odd pages of selfish, spoiled tantrums, needing a good wife-beating out of Jack Castle. It took the San Francisco earthquake and fire to bring her to some sort of sense about her role in matrimony- and even then it was hard to see why Jack would want to give her another chance. He'd married her, against his stuffed shirt family's wishes, and carried her off to a mining town where they lived in a one-room cabin with an alcove and a shed. Jack had his pride whittled down to a thin edge with Alitta's demands and complaints and inadequacies. He tried to please her by one thing and another; she didn't like anything -- or anybody. And as one meets the people she meets and listens in on the arguments and conversation and tries to build the shifting background of frontier living in Utah's mining towns, the slender theme of story is streched thin. Eventually, Alitta leaves Jack and their home- and goes to San Francisco, where his friend Sime and Nonie, his wife, are having tough sledding. The disaster on which the story ends solves their problems for them and leaves Alitta with a glimmering of what she had thrown away-but with certain promises she plans to extract from Jack on her return. She hasn't learned much. And, frankly, I didn't much care.