Laura Mitten, a 40-ish widow in the English hamlet of Downpass, is merely amused when visiting stepson Ross tells her that James Hargreaves is coming back to town--20 years after ""jilting"" Laura to marry a Frenchwoman instead. After all, Laura felt only ""deep, deep relief"" when James threw her over. Soon, however, James' return does create an exhilarating uproar at Laura's--as stepson Ross becomes quickly captivated by widower James' ebullient, warm-hearted daughter Gianna. (They ""meet cute"" when Gianna, is a calamitous struggle with a balky gate, manages to injure Ross' leg. . . and ruin his skiing-vacation plans.) Gianna, too, seems taken with both Ross and Laura--especially in comparison to her grim Aunt Beatrice, who frowns on Gianna's buoyant socializing in the old family manse. But there's a snag in the true-love department, naturally: Gianna, you see, intends to marry rugby player Alexander Rannoch, ""a bundle of muscle wrapped in a sports shirt"" whom she met on the ferry to England. So Ross, attracted more and more to Gianna, plays the waiting game, chauffeuring Gianna about while she dutifully braves mud and sleet and whistling winds to watch Alex in incomprehensible matches on distant rugby fields. And Ross' gentlemanly wait is eventually rewarded, of course. . . while Laura uncovers a rather silly mystery about Gianna's parentage. This creaky subplot, however, is incidental to the genially ambling romance and the ample teatimes here; so Cadell fans can once again count on the soothing effect of cozy courtship, pleasant people, and country kitchens.