A gay, warm, witty story of a completely disarming English family, on the eve of the war. Here's your current answer to the customer who wants to read about attractive and pleasant people -- and neither historical romance nor anything about the war. It's a family story, no more, no less, uneventful, leisurely, wholly ingratiating, living on a run-down ancestral estate in rural England. There's the mother, Elizabeth Fontayne, casual, vague, contented, and her brood of four, from Sarah, an intense 18, to disconcerting Tom, who is 9. Things start to happen when Elizabeth marries again and annexes two very unpleasant step-children. There's a bit of Thirkell, a bit of the Ethel Boileau of The Gay Family era, in a human, appealing, light novel.