A lushly moody, grandly pictorial romance/liberation novel--set on the cusp of the flapper era in post-WW I Yorkshire, pulsating with postwar melancholy and amatorial languors. Claire Lyall, wed to young Jeremy Swanfield in 1914, quickly became a war widow, barely recalling her husband. Yet now Jeremy's widowed mother Miriam--the perennial ""pretty Mimi,"" ruthlessly lovable--prepares to welcome Claire ""home"" to High Meadows. And, though Claire hardly shares Miriam's nostalgic, rosy world-view (as an army nurse Claire saw carnage and agony), she's eager to escape from her mother--and curious about the unsettling, ""powerful, dangerously enticing family circle"" at High Meadows. The estate is centered on Miriam's children: austere, autocratic stepson Benedict, owner of the Swanfield Mills and husband of aggressively modish, caustically brittle Nola; nervous, plain Eunice, frantically protecting the wispy psyche of kind, gentle husband Toby; and golden young Polly. But Nola also introduces Claire to Major Kit Hardie, an ex-butler with aristocratic â€šlan--who's efficiently renovating and managing a posh town-hotel, designed for the Roaring Twenties high-livers. So Claire and Hardie find a comfortable, mutual attraction; Claire even joins the staff of Hardie's Crown Hotel--while Nola spirals downward into drink and drugs and self-destruction, as do several war-scarred young men. And then Claire is suddenly swept up in the firestorm of a passionate affair with Benedict--as Miriam plagues Polly with marriage-mart dealings. . . and a tragic death/scandal ushers in the satisfying conclusion. Attractive, solid, a bit stagy: reliable, thickly upholstered entertainment for fans of period stress in the earnest Jagger manner.