A pleasantly messy two-generational nougat featuring an elaborate family hassle set within the peak manifestations of Los Angeles' industrial enterprises from the 1880s to the 1920s. By the time the two Van Vliet brothers--Bud and Vincent (""3V"")--straighten out their tangled relationships with one another (which are skewed by their competitive love for Bud's dainty, aristocratic wife Amelie), the brothers will have become involved with California's railroads, the oil boomlet and--through offspring--with aviation and the movies. When Amelie is but a young teen, 3V sees Bud and Amelie at play in the hay and promptly leaves L.A. to seek his lonely fortune. But several years after the Bud-Amelie wedding, 3V returns with a tough, raw-boned wife who is pregnant with their first son, Kingdon, only to fling himself on Amelie in a mad, drunken moment. Amelie, hitherto childless, becomes pregnant and produces Tessa--and who is the father? It's this nagging matter which causes Bud's rages, Amelie's disappearance, and a searing feud. But Bud saves Tessa's life (after locating Amelie) and is a doting father. Another generation will compound the trouble when Tessa and Kiugdon fall in perhaps-incestuous love while Kingdon becomes a star of the silver screen There's a murder, a trial, and frantic family summits before it's all sorted out. Fat, hearty, and it waddles along amiably.