This is a pleasant, Tarkingtonian celebration of small-town Michigan life in 1916. Set against a huge Fourth of July wingding are the stories of Frank Kennedy (a budding politician) and on the narrator's family. Frank's suit for the hand of the narrator's sister Laurie is nearly shattered when Laurie falls in love with a visiting stunt pilot, Oscar Viking. The climax comes when Frank, in a great car, beats Oscar in a race based on an auto versus Oscar's monoplane. The subplot concerns a suit by the narrator's grandfather for the hand of a buxom, 35-year-old widow. These stories, while interesting, are merely scaffolding from which to hang enormous swatches of loving description and sentimental recollections of lost mores. The detail is impressive but never exuberant or deeply memorable, and the story just doesn't bite down into bone. Pleasant, painless.