No fan of the Fairacre/Thrush Green stories will be disappointed by Miss Read's novel of Caxley, the big market town the villages both depend on. The story has a quiet excellence that promotes the author's recognized status as a chronicler of English life and customs. The story begins at the coronation of Edward VII and ends in the early '30's before the death of George V. The details and the setting recall Howard Spring at his early best because this follows generations and a business through the years. Bender North is in hardware and Septimus Howard has a bakery. Both their shops and homes face Caxley's market square. The man had been schoolboy friends and were complete opposites, physically and temperamentally, and so were their wives. However, each is important to the other and though their success in business is unequal, they keep pace with each other and are inevitably further involved through their children. Like the other Miss Read books, this doesn't challenge--it charms. A certified audience.