Another squalid family saga from Blair (With this Ring, 1983; A Woman's Place, 1981), this one about the ""furies and passions of cosmic proportions"" that lurk behind the doors of apparently happy homes. Here, the wealthy Knickerbocker Brandons--Blair's clan of choice--behave as if they'd moved into their elegant Hudson River mansion direct from Tobacco Road. As the story opens, textile magnate (and political hopeful) Rhys Brandon is inspecting his sister-in-law's cleavage, unaware that at Brandon's Gate his wife is dying in childbirth. After the fair Georgianna is gone--and though she will always hold a place in his heart--he's quick to take her little sis, Constance, into his bed and then to wife. At the same time, he begins a liaison with his baby Georgia's wet-nurse, Dilys MacKenzie, who brings her own son (by a light-footed union organizer) into the Brandon household. Young Connor MacKenzie grows up half in and half out of polite society, patronized by Rhys, but vowing to inflict revenge oil the manipulative squire (especially once he learns how Rhys has been using his gentle mother). Connor will perform heroically in WW I; make a fortune in stocks, newspapers, munitions, and radio; steal Rhys's beloved daughter; sabotage his campaign for the presidency; and end up as the new squire of Brandon's Gate before finally feeling that he's settled the score. Blair turns up some interesting tidbits in early-20th-century American history (like the struggle of WW I veterans for recognition). But her characters are too vicious and whiny to earn a place in readers' hearts--much less the cosmos.