Phyllis Whitney is puzzle to me. When she can do as extraordinarily good books for girls as Willow Hill. Linda's Homecoming and Ever After it is harder to accept the inadequacy of Step to the Music. One expects more than more competence from Phyllis Whitney. The emotional values here are derivative, and yet the situation posed involves depths of disturbance. The setting is Staten Island during the Civil War. There are two households chiefly involved, and in each there is internal strife, confused loyalties, or outright partisanship for North, for South. Added to that, a Southern cousin deliberately steals her Northern' hostess beau right out from under, and furthermore steers his doubts into the channel of identity with the Confederacy. And yet- out of all this- the reader feels never a quiver of emotional identity with any of the disturbed characters. It is easy reading, and skilfully tailored to fit, but it just doesn't scratch the surface.