Good Stern -- but not tops. A novel that fits perhaps into the class with Long Lost Father rather than The Matriarch, but that has somewhat more substance and depth than some of those in her lighter vein. It is an unusual story, with a character that in retrospect seems hardly convincing but that she makes wholly convincing as one reads. The scene is England of a few years ago -- there is no particular significance to the period; the story is the reason for being, with its indication of the influence of childhood patterns on adult development. G. B. Stern fans want everything she writes. And they are a dependable and substantial number.