Of one thing the reader can be certain with any novel by Howard Spring- his gift for recreating period and minutiae of place is unfailing. Unfortunately, this new book offers little more, despite a big cast of characters, spanning a generation of interlocking webs, and despite a rather intricate plot, as characters cross back and forth through marriage and divorce. George Ledra tells the story- from his schoolboy departure to be tutored by a sort of Mr. Chips down in Cornwall, during World War I -- to his settling down into marriage and fatherhood, and the role of confessor and advisor to one and all, with the end of World War II presenting a different world. George, as still a schoolboy, falls in love with the Bascombes- mother and daughter:- Sylvia, an actress with her moments of success- and with her passion for restoring a crumbling ruin of a mansion; and Janet, still a child, recklessly uncontrolled- and George between them in age. As the story of these women, counterpointed by the rebuilding of the house, of the men in their lives- those they loved and those they loved and those they married- is spuh, subplots are patterned through the narrative, petty jealousies survive to wreck and twist lives, and old scandals are resurrected. And always, a period and a way of life comes to the fore. Somehow, this time, it is not enough.