This book is the story of a young American doctor and his nineteen-year-old sister, southern gentry, who emigrate to Mexico after the American Civil War. An old uncle who lived there has died and left them property, and this seems a chance to escape experiences a new life but the brother and sister have different ideas about what they hope to find there. The brother is a hard, reactionary man who has contempt for his liberal, northern educated sister; much of the book is concerned with the working out of their mutual antagonism. But the brother is an excellent and dedicated doctor who comes to the attention of the Emperor Maximillan, soon after his arrival. Later he becomes the favored doctor of the Empress. (The author- whose research would seem authentic, paints her as already mad, barren, either-addicted, nomewhat at odds with other historians who place this later in her history). The doctor violently disapproves of his sister's love for a French legionaire, one of the force supplied by Napoleon III to prop up the failing puppet regime. In the end it is the sister who triumphs, managing to save both her beloved hacienda and her French husband when the Empire falls. The book's plot, complicated by the historical involvements and the variety of characters, taxes the novelist's conscientious determination to bring all into focus. And the artistry of the style is regrettably limited. But as a March Literary Guild selection, it will be off to a popular sale.