A holding -- if occasionally overplayed -- story of Poles in Vermont, first and second generation, of transition and conflict, and in particular of the unhappy marriage of Jan and Marja, --Jan, who had wanted to escape the farm and be a doctor; Marja, whom his father brought over from Poland. Marja, falling in love with a New Englander, Endicott, her English teacher, is temporarily abandoned by him and finding herself pregnant marries Jan. The night of her wedding Endicott returns and Marja kills him, burying him under the large oak, symbolic in Polish legend. Marja ruins Jan's career, first in the city, then in the community; she bears Endicott's child, and when the child is accidentally killed, she becomes more and more unbalanced until she ends her life as she destroys Hero's Oak. Plenty of plot here for several books, but it is thoroughly readable, if not distinguished.