A modern setting for a novel of conflict as a quiet Connecticut shore town, dominated by a paternalistic, one family industry, begins to assume the aspects of an industrial center -- and a battle of emotional tensions intensifies the struggle against change. The Family- Blairs and Bloyers -- keep feeding the fires of enmity; it comes to a head in the rivalry between Constant, gently reared and sheltered from knowledge of the family scandals, and her cousin Hagar, determined to pay her back for being richer, well-bred, cushioned in life. The story has great possibilities latent in the personalities and situations involved. But the devious and oblique way of telling the story, starting with today- and the centennial of the Clockworks -- and picking up the pieces of the past in a kind of counterpoint -- until it comes full circle, I found difficult and frequently annoying. Nonetheless, many readers will overlook this defect for the sake of a story that strikes many familiar chords.