A disappointing book to follow Convenient Season, which --though not a big book, was a better than adequate first novel, well motivated, skillfully told. This seems very unreal, with a queer morbid undertone, and a not too likable central figure. The setting is not Nova Scotia this time, but a mill town in Ontario, where the mill owners are a hated family, torn by inner dissension, distrust, and awareness of the mad streak that runs through them. To this mill comes Brook Sand, gently reared, alone in the world. She finds herself involved on one side with the mill owners, each of whom has a different kind of hold over her, and yet all of whom -- most unconvincingly -- succumb to her urge to improve the affairs of the mill. On the other side, she is caught up into the life of the village through her storybook landlady, her shy, brilliant grandson (for whose violent death Brook is indirectly responsible), and their good neighbor, the young farmer, Martin, with whom Brook falls reluctantly in love. The unfolding of the plot seems forced; the setting and characters never come alive.