Martin Hare's first novel, The Enchanted Winter, was an utterly delightful story of an Irish parsonage family, which bore the earmarks of autobiography. Subsequent books have been somewhat disappointing. Now comes English Rue, her most ambitious piece of work and her most successful, though it lacks the spark of humor which was a distinguished mark of the first book. A chronicle of a half century in the lives of a little group of intimates, with cross currentschanging the even tenor of their ways. The background of childhood is particularly successful; the shifting scene, from the Mersey to London to the continent and back, has elements of nostalgic emotion; there are some fine scenes and some situations that seem overdrawn. But on the whole, it is eminently readable.