Another of Gaskin's amiable and popular night-table benders, this time tracking a mix of Anglo/Irish gentry and Spanish aristos from 1903 to the Spanish Civil War. Young Charlotte and her lovely, horse-fancying, scatter-brained mother are forced to leave their Ireland home when Grandfather dies without a close male heir and the estate goes to Richard, the new Lord Blodmore. Of course, Charlotte and Richard fall forever and desperately in love minutes after meeting. But Richard, a former clerk, has been maneuvered into marriage with cool Elena, niece of the immensely powerful and wealthy Marquesa and Don Paulo--a pair who cherish secrets and a loathing of all Blodmores. Charlotte and Mother decide to settle in Jerez, a small Spanish town, in a house mysteriously purchased by Grandfather, and begin three decades of joyful-to-miserable involvements: two marriages, five children (one by Richard), acquisition and loving care of vineyards, and close friendships with gentle and/or feisty women. There are convenient and colorful expirations--including a final spectacular in which Mother, now somewhat deranged but always a good shot, disposes of Elena, which was about to snitch on a grandson headed for the Republican army. There are trysts, some distinguished animals, much, much talk about grapes and sherry-making, along with all the scandals. Gaskin, as always, has a way of espaliering the family tree so that it's no particular trial to keep everyone straight.