Well-written letters, no matter how ordinary the day-to-day activities they chronicle, are fascinating to read."" So claims editor MacKnight; but these letters from aging novelist/gardener Vita Sackville-West (Mrs. Harold Nicolson) to a never-seen soulmate in Maine aren't really all that well-written--and their ordinariness is downright numbing. Vita writes, from her Kent castle, of gardening (thanking Andrew again and again for sending zinnia seeds), of family, of travel, of weather, of dogs, and almost never of politics or ideas or books. (One exception, when son Nigel's firm published Lolita: ""I think it is a revolting book, and am very angry at Nigel having got involved in it."") And, despite MacKnight's annotating labors, these chatty, politely effusive letters (Vita does console Andrew over the loss of his longtime companion) don't in fact show ""stormy, arrogant"" Vita ""for the patient, loving person she was."" A private, one-sided sliver of correspondence that should probably have been printed in a private edition for members of the immediate families only.