The Bromfield-Brown family was headed by Grandmother Thorup, who had grown up with and was a dead ringer for her beloved Queen Victoria. Only indisputable orders from the doctor about Mr. B-B's health could budge the family from England, but Grandmother at last agreed to forge ahead--""The Colonies are England's children. We must bear that in mind constantly--that we shall really never leave English soil!"" From Canada they are ordered on to Southern California (""the absolute end of the world!""). The story of how the proper English family adjusts to the ramshackle, desert town (and vice versa) is banked with problems which are always almost disastrous but most enjoyable. The narrator is Amelia, the oldest of the three Bromfield-Brown children, and while she sighs that ""We're too well- bred, that's what's wrong with us,"" they are far from inactive. With the assistance of their Chinese servant they bring their neighbors, the over-populated, under-disciplined Applebooms into line by impersonating spirits at a seance; they resolve an old family feud which had blocked Grandmother's admission into the much- desired tennis club; they overcame the threat of the white scale disease to their orange grove; and they even show signs of becoming Americanized. As always with this author, the characters and dialogue are excellent, and the incidents as real as they are funny.