Landscaped with oaks and elms, and behind the privet hedge of Edwardian solidity-serenity, this is an uhurried novel of family-county life in Devonshire which tells the story of Paul Craddock who returns from the Boer War to become the Squire of Shallowfield. Shallowfield is an estate of 1300 acres which Delderfield (the earlier Diana--1960; also The GoLden Millstones) has converted into hectares (1150 pages) of predictable prose which follow Craddock's life through the next two wars along with that of a great many of the local citizenry of his Valley. Craddock's attempt to ""create something lasting and rewarding"" is followed with a singleness of purpose to which Delderfield also subscribes; but Grace, his self-possessed and somewhat aloof first wife, does not share it--leaves him over the more immediate issue of Woman's Suffrage to die driving an ambulance during the Great War. He then marries Claire Derwent who even before Grace had been in love with him, sires six children, and at the end is seen ready to defend this Valley...this earth...this realm...this England before the Nazi invasion....A novel of sensible worth and not a scintilla of surprise, this not only presupposes but is assured of that audience which liked, say, John Moore's The Waters Under the Earth. They'll ""push along middling like.