This is Elizabeth Taylor's most approachable and appealing novel, certainly if viewed against the more stylized Angel or The Sleeping Beauty, and now, within a more ordinary domestic frame, she touches on the fretful areas in the marriage of a widow, Kate Hallam, a woman in her early forties, to a man who is ten years younger-- and not too much older than her son, Tom, or her daughter, Lou. While Kate is ""prepared to feel like Hamlet's mother"" -- this is not necessary- Dermot has a casual relationship with Kate's children- but there are other disquieting factors; the sexual snare of the woman of forty- and her rather guilty susceptibility; Dermot's inadequacy otherwise -- his precarious attempts to make a living other than off her and his later pretenses of a job in London; his drinking; and finally his attraction to a young girl, with whom Tom falls in love, the alluring Araminta. Others wait for the marriage to disintegrate; her maiden aunt who entertains unmaidenly thoughts on the sexual activities of the household and confides them to a friend; the rather dour Mrs. Meacock, Kate's cook; and Lou, filled with good works inspired by her own infatuation for the local vicar. But at the end it is Tom who has most to forgive and least to comfort him after the double tragedy which takes the lives of Dermot and Araminta... Against the serenity of the English landscape, this is a supple interpretation of the varieties of love, headstrong at twenty, wiser but just as vulnerable at forty. It is graced by many nuances of understanding, humor and warmth.