The author of Granny Was a Buffer Girl (1988, Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book) again portrays a family by telling an exquisitely crafted story about each member, this time making the links between them more apparent from the beginning. Jeannie, a teen-ager who lives on a sheep farm in the Peak District near Sheffield, tells of Gran's final, courageously independent decision after a life she considered wasted because she was forced to leave Oxford to care for her family; of her sister's runaway marriage to the son of their father's archenemy, a neighboring farmer; of her artist brother's bitter struggle with Dad, whose heart is set on having him take over the farm; of Mum's heroic struggle to keep the farm--and her marriage--after Dad has a disabling accident. At the novel's heart are the needs of the four talented children for self-realization, each endangered by the family habit of stifling communication--a crippling result of Dad's perpetual, lashing, irrational anger. And yet, unlike Gran, this generation is not thwarted. Ironically, Dad's incapacity, by forcing everyone into new roles, frees each to grow in unexpected ways--even Dad. The interaction of these subtly drawn, fully realized characters is altogether believable, and so involving that the book is almost impossible to put down. Another splendid novel from an accomplished author.