Again an Iowa setting for the second novel by the author of The Work of an Ancient Hand. Love and He Silent has all the virtues of the regional family novel: it is tender, touching, true-to-life, suffused with a good sense of place and tellingly colloquial. Further, many of the Iowa scenes of farm and town life are eloquently etched with the stark simplicity of a Grant Wood painting. Harnack's evocation of love as exemplified in the everyday entanglements of two sisters and two brothers has both scope and sensitivity. Set against the unea sy years of the depression, extending onwards through the war, it wisely measures the distance between the prosaic and the romantic, culminating in the line from St. Paul: ""Faith is the evidence of things not seen."" Helen eloped with an irresistible stranger but wound up a housewife dreaming of a new washer; Robert carried off his lovely bride, yet the passion turned bitter and they resigned their individual aspirations for the sake of home and 5 kids; Sammy, the young rake, finally settles with a pious Irish Catholic who gives him a child 6 months after the wedding. It is only Alma, the indomitable dreamer, who refuses to accept her mate, a puling here-again, gone-again ne'er-do-well, for what he really is. And it is her quaint love story which becomes the necessary fiction for all the others, including the townspeople: it makes their acknowledged compromises more bearable. A moving chronicle of mid-Western Americana.