Bleak romantic realism about university life in a backwater Canadian town, this novel is distinguished by believable characterizations and situations. And at least one scene (in a hospital) has genuine power of large emotions well-handled... A young Oxford grad comes to Canada with adventure on his mind and becomes an assistant curator in the university art museum. He is being put up by Andrew Dacre, a composer who is also head of the music faculty and leading conductor. Dacre has a lovely wife Margaret, now blooming with her second child. Aside from trying to persuade the university trustees to build a conservatory and a professional musical staff, Dacre is carrying on a quiet affair with a student. Over several months the hero becomes a family fixture and himself falls in with the professor's paramour. After Margaret has a stillborn child, a frost settles over the family, the professor loses his conservatory and Margaret discovers his liaison. The conclusion finds the hero carried into a love affair that he'd come to Canada to find... This banal plot is written with such a clear eye, unforced humor, and a sensuous attention to the seasons that the curse of soap opera is removed. Liked it!