Furiously independent potter Alexandra Grove, age 32, has just evicted her longtime lover from her London flat and has been forced to take on the guardianship of 13-year-old Casper (his parents have died in a plane crash). So Alexandra moves her gear, gumption, and Casper to a bleakly beautiful, remote Cumbrian village--but, despite freedom from school and a purchase of jeans and sweatshirts, silently glum Casper obviously dislikes Alexandra. . . and she him. Her attention, therefore, turns to village neighbours: brawny male-chauvinist-pig Geoff Crosthwaite; his unlovely, abused sister Eileen, to whom Alexandra reads the liberation message; mad little Miss Cowdie, once jilted at the altar, who now Miss-Havershams it up on the highways; slickly attractive antique-dealer David Garibaldi; randy Roger Markham, factor for Howard, Earl of Cumberland; and Howard's sly wife Jennifer, an old and unwelcome acquaintance of Alexandra's. There are some moderngothic-style scares--animal heads meaningfully left about; prowler noises, and then near-rape for a blindfolded Alexandra. There are also shocking village secrets. And, increasingly involved with her neighbors, Alexandra cuts loose with Garibaldi and most unwisely, as it turns out, attempts to administer sexual liberation to glowering Geoff. The busy finale, then: a snowbound night with a mad intruder, Miss Cowdie gabbling away (on target for once), gunfire, a death, and a whopping confession by the heroine herself. . . . Rather dotty, and Alexandra's a tad abrasive at times--village gothic and feminism aren't the easiest mix--but it's all agreeably smooth, fast, and scenic.