Noel Streatfeild is at her best in family stories and knows her English background -- both city and country. This is a better book than her previous ones, not as entertaining, perhaps, as Parson's Nine but a more important and richer book than either that or Tops and Bottoms. But it faces the hurdle of being another long family novel, spanning the period between Victoria's Jubilee and King George V's death. The central figure is a woman, and with all her ""prunes and prisms"" upbringing and Victorian viewpoint about her own marriage and children, she is a real person, to whom you can take off your hat with respect and a reluctant admiration and affection. Well written, more than adequate, but not a book which sparkles or which contributes anything particularly original. For those who line leisurely novels of English life -- this is better than most.