This is a big sprawling novel set in the period spanning the years from just before World War I to just before World War II -- the setting shifting from Yorkshire to London -- and the characters encompassing two generations and a motley lot. Almost one could spot this as a novel in the Priestley tradition, though the Dickens' mantle has frequently been identified with Spring. In Spring's own record, this comes, perhaps, closer to The Houses In Between, though there is Jeas striving for period identification in a time nearer to our own. Some of the people minor figures here- appeared in earlier novels. But the story centers around the Hudsons, father and son -- the father a popular music hall figure, the son a snotty little climber; Anthony Bromwich, parentage unknown, who belatedly learns who his mother is, and finds the mother-and-son relationship a difficult one, the Waylands, mother and daughter, who had come down the social ladder- but made do with paying guests and correspondence teaching; the Halliwelis, Yorkshire neighbors, self-made and generous when the surface is broken. All these and more go through the story, the plot threads now entangled, now parted, and throughout the brooding, scarcely realized menace of war and war to come, with the tempo that of the London streets, small business and a reluctance to accept what in happening in the world without. Here's good reading for those who like a long and meaty book.