A period romance, spanning close to a century in a three generation story of 14th-15th century England, a story enriched by Norah Lofts' ability as a scholar and spinner of tales, to interweave background, character and incident into a whole. For my part, I liked best the first third of the book, in which Martin Reed, serf and only half aware of the possibility of taking matters into his own hands, made the mistake of falling in love with Kate. His feudal lord would have none of it and claimed his droit de seigneur -- and that was all Martin needed. The story of their escape; of the years of direst poverty and oppression; of the trammels society placed upon the poor -- and of a love that lasted all his life, even when Fortune turned the other cheek, and too late for Kate to share it, her Martin became a rich wool merchant, laying foundations of his own house. The balance of the story carries through the next two generations- and a changing England- and ends with Maude, his granddaughter, making her own choice -- as he had made his. A rich tapestry, and small figures and large come alive in its pattern.