This retains the period setting of Catherine Gaskin's first book here (Sara Dane, 1955) and, although Australia, in her formative years following the gold rush, lends a substantial, harsh and sometimes violent background- the story she has to tell is chiefly for women. It is primarily concerned with Emmy who immigrates there to be stranded after her father's death. She is salvaged by the Maguires, also immigrants, a large family who prove generous although Emmy makes herself more than useful- she is a steadying influence on all, particularly Rose, whose story eventually will parallel hers. A pretty but willful girl, Rose has an unquestionable attraction for both Adam Langley and his cousin Tom, and even though Adam marries Emmy, Emmy has many reasons to doubt his love. From the gold fields of Ballarat to Melbourne, their lives are never very separate; Rose marries Tom, in pique, bears him the children Emmy never seems to be favored with, makes his life miserable and attempts to win Adam away from Emmy. Even so Emmy cannot refuse Rose- still dependent on her and often demanding, and it is only after Tom's death that Rose goes off for good- leaving Emmy with her children and for the first time with the assurance that Adam is hers, not Rose's.... Amplitude substitutes here for depth- but Mrs. Gaskin has found a reliable middle ground, between the realism of the period and the romance of her story.