The familiar Barsetshire countryside and its families provide old threads and new for the tested pattern of romance, political and social commentary, jumping conversations and meticulously recorded incidents. Concerned chiefly with the Grantlys -- the Rector, his wife and their children -- and Sam Adam's purchase of Old Bank House, this emphasizes the alien air of the brave new world, the depression of the dreadful peace, the increasing undernourishment, the contrast between the doomed old order and evolution of a new, the emergence of a desire to return to the land on the part of the young people and follows the part the Grantlys, Keiths, Beltons, Dales, Deans, Adams, all play. Old Bank House gets a new mistress and the Grantlys' affairs have a happy solution. While Thirkell's characters maintain their lovable attributes, their attitudes towards the omnipresent threat of ""Them"" and their bewilderment at the changes taking place are growing more and more pronounced, as is their nostalgia for the past. A reflection, often ruffled, of the changing face of county England.