Another period tale by the author of The Imagination of the Heart (1990) and The Stallion Man (1983). This one hops out of the Victorian era in England's Midlands to the Great War years, and features two girls from different backgrounds--as well as with different fortunes and temperaments--who, at the close, rescue each other from a life crisis. Flora, daughter of well-to-do tradesman George Dennison, had envied Roseen O'Connor, daughter of widowed, gin-swigging Connie (who, unknown to all, was George's mistress). Roseen was pretty and lively, and Flora always suspected that her own father, who paid Roseen a good deal of attention, liked the other girl better. But in adulthood, each of the two has romantic problems. Roseen's husband dies in the war, and Ma is soggy with gin. Roseen ends up going from man to man. She's also deceived, fleeced of money left her by George, and nearly dies from her second abortion. Meanwhile, Flora, carrying the torch for a man she truly loves, the already married Robert, hitches herself to a dull sort just in order to forget. Then the husband conveniently dies; Robert returns to discuss divorce--and Flora must make a decision. Enter Roseen again--friendship develops, and mutual aid pays off. Roseen, the tiger here, is a Cookson kind of gel, and this is decidedly a scullery tale--sentimental, gossipy, and entertaining.