The early days of the formation of the Masschusetts Bay Colony have been recounted many times, but rarely with the persuasive, human aspects of this story of the conflict in thinking that brought about disease, disaster, discontent. In England in 1629 the need for a competent farmer, skilled in the emerging science of husbandry, had been recognized, and the man chosen was Samuel Downing, successful farmer, experimenter and recorder of methods, seeds, plant growth, fertilizer, cultivation. That his co-worker was his motherless daughter was ignored, but not by Hetty, who rejected the lure of London society offered by her aunt, and determined to accompany him. The long and bitter weeks of the voyage almost scuttled this reader, but at last they ended, and the story of how Hetty, her father dead on shipboard, took over his projects, his goals -- and went on- is well worth staying by the miseries of the journey. Her desperate love for the insecure but dedicated young minister, his marriage with another, who posed as the needed helpmate, and his rejection of all that marriage offered, provide a thread of romance for a story in which the slow growth of realization that food was basic to success is the real plot. An uneven book- but rewarding in its total sum.