The story spans the years of the Civil War and the generation following, and the first half is so definitely the story of the town and its people, that one feels that ""Everton, Illinois"" must be the hero of the book. (Query, is it a fictionization of Evanston, I wonder?). Such a tremendous number of characters are introduced, and their personalities and incidents connected with them so closely knit into the fabric, that one has a sense of trying to learn a long cast of characters before the curtain goes up. The story centers around a father and son, the richest men in the community, and the poor girl the son married, after he came back from the war; of the level days and years of that marriage, and of how eventually he broke over the traces and took a mistress. As an emotional study, the story seems two dimensional, unreal. As a study of points of view, and a period piece, it is sound.