With her usual sensitivity, clarity, and quiet dignity, Darrell (Concerto, 1994, etc.), who also writes as Emma Drummond, turns her unstinting--if romantically inclined--eye on three post- WW II lives. It's 1946, and the war is finally over in England, but the strife has just begun for the surviving members of the Sheridan family: Marion, widow of Sir Christopher, and their two grown children, David and Vesta. Marion is living alone in Tarrant Royal, facing the disdain of her children, who worshipped their father but underestimate the toll it took on Marion to stay so long with a man who never loved her. David, a pilot, is haunted by nightmares of his torture at the hands of the enemy; a trip to Singapore to determine once and for all whether Su Lim (the Chinese woman he married on a whim just before the war) is still alive confirms his suspicions: She's dead, but to his shock has left behind two children, twin girls, fathered by him. Racked by guilt, he leaves them behind in their village, but calls off his impending marriage to childhood sweetheart Pat without telling her why. Meanwhile, Vesta, an artist who paints gripping war scenes, wants desperately to keep her independence and succeed in her profession, but she's also fallen in love with a dashing, noncommittal American war correspondent, Brad Holland. When Brad can't settle down, she takes up with Paul Gaynor, a dependable if unexciting military man. Surprises unfold: Sir Christopher's love child surfaces; Marion finally meets a man who appreciates her; and David and Vesta realize the love they've been seeking is waiting for them right at home. Over time, and with much suffering, all three Sheridans will eventually face the aftermath of war head-on, piecing together their lives--as individuals and as a family--in a new world. A well-researched, unusually intense--and seldom told--story of life after war.