In this second volume of Livingston's saga (begun with The Far Side of the Hill, 1988), the progeny of the Scottish crofter Alex McKie endure, despite WW I and the presence of a bad seed in the very heart of the family. Unlike glitzier versions of this same old family story, Livingston's books take honesty and personal contentment (not money and fame) as their chief values--making them a welcome change of pace for admirers of the genre. John and Mary McKie are still overseeing their lucrative Emporium in Darlington, England, as the story begins, anxious to see their son, Luke, who's started medical school, and trying to help Charlotte (widow of John's brother, Davie) raise her three children. There are Jane, a budding ballerina secretly in love with Luke; Ted, easygoing, carrot-haired, mechanically-inclined; and treacherous Matthew, an unlovable miser even as a boy, who plots to take over the Emporium, lower the quality of its wares, and turn loyal employees out on the street. When the Hun causes trouble in France, Luke signs on as an orderly, Jane nurses in London, and Ted (a conscientious objector) does grunt work for soldiers near the front lines. After the Armistice, Ted's buddy, Archie Cavendish, becomes his co-partner in a garage and marries Jane. Meanwhile, Luke sets up a practice in a mining village, Mary dies, John sells the Emporium (to avoid a Matthew-triggered disaster), and Aunt Charlotte promises that ""There's more to come."" Despite some minor glitches (like the too slimy Matthew and an overreliance on the Great War for plot), this is amiable entertainment--and precisely the taste saga-slurpers crave.