Comfortable, homespun family story of Illinois in the '90's, with John Patten, presumably head of the family, but with Mary, his wife, definitely the unseen stage hand. Episodes of all kinds, from the fight over the school teacher's keeping company which causes a town ruckus, to John's store and his cronies, and the household kingdom where Mary is so far reaching in her influence. Their three girls, Junia, Hallie and Kit, and the problems they present in growing up; Junia with her beaux, and eventual marriage to the right man; Hallie who wants to be independent, and Kit's emergence from childhood. And at the close -- John's bid for the Mayoralty. Good family book for conservative tastes.