Except for the oneness of man and the soil, the rare inknowing of the heart of the inarticulate, this Marjorie Rawlings bears little likeness to the author of The Yearling, South Moon Under, and others. This, in its own way, has equal distinction, equal individuality, is equally revealing of a rare gift. The story is set far from her adopted central Florida -- in the northern reaches of the Middle Atlantic states -- farmland, over a period of close to eighty years. While there is less regionalism, less fidelity to the people of the area, there is again a oneness with her central characters, -- Asahel, younger son of the grim Amelia Linden, whose life centered in the rootless older son, Benjamin; Nellie, who had been Benjamin's ""girl"" but who married Ase and bore his children; the three sons and a daughter who had never really belonged to him- and the other daughter, close to him through her tenuous few years; and the strange group of people who called Ase friend,- the gypsies, the old Indian, the strange fiddler, the farm tenants. It is Ase's story- and as the reader follows the rhythm of the seasons with him- it becomes his story too.