Time goes by, but Cookson has not lost any of her Tyneside thunder (The Love Child, etc.). Again, here in a tale taking place from 1926 to after WW II, there's a Cookson female nasty of mighty lusts and viciousness, balanced by a sad lass of great worth and bad luck. The principal male suffers almost to death--before the pink-cloud close. Joe is five when his widowed mother Ellen takes him to live with her rich brother-in-law, also widowed, Sir Arthur Jebeau, where Joe happily settles in with his nice cousins Martin and Harry. And where Ellen, supported generously by Sir Arthur, soon becomes mistress of the house--and Arthur. One day, however, Arthur announces that he's decided to marry a young girl. Exit Arthur. Later, after poor Harry dies of an illness, Martin, inheritor of estate and title, exits also. Then Joe, by now adult, discovers what Mother has been up to--all for her beloved son's sake--and takes off for war to submerge title and, possibly, his life. Now it's Maggie's story, the five-foot-tall, fat waitress and entertainer living with kind Aunt Lizzie, who redeemed Maggie's cruel childhood. With Maggie and Lizzie, Joe finds peace. But romance? Thanks to Maggie's love, and a one-shot pregnancy (accomplished when Joe is blotto from mental illness), the bond grows. Old timey, sentimental, flecked with bits of Geordie slang: a shameless wallow but fun.