It is almost a very good book. At any rate, it succeeds in holding the reader's interest throughout, and only in retrospect does it seem to creak at the joints. The story spans the last decade, tracing the fortunes -- and misfortunes -- of a family in a town where the family business controls the town's fortunes, up with the boom, down with the crash. The father is wrapped up in his business and dies when it falls; the mother savors the memory of a wild oat in the past, and tries to recapture it to rescue the family fortunes -- but is relentless and unsympathetic when similar weaknesses rear their heads too close to home fires -- two governesses loss their jobs because son is like mother. The younger daughter, threatened with blindness, is the central figure of the story, which revolves around her growth in spiritual power, her conception of a power outside accepted functions -- and of her use of that power for others, and ultimately for herself and the man she loves. Not wholly convincing -- but it gives one pause.