For her particular audience Rumer Godden is always ""must reading"". Whether the magic of her writing which makes anything of hers worth reading is enough this time to compensate for a difficult hurdle in characterization is a problem. This reader found Sophie hard to take. A young and vague widow, facing insecurity, financially, and sure only that she does not want to take her children back to England,, she is deserving of most of the punishment she gets. Once again the setting is India,- first a mission, then a peasant house on the outskirts of a native village, where Sophie is sure she can override local feuds and bars. Only her too-wise and solemn nine-year old daughter understands the dangers, the intangibles that threaten them. Tensions mount. Sophie fires the one servant who could stand between her and peril. And Teresa, the daughter, and small ""Moo"" the son, are caught in near tragedy. Then- and then only- does Sophie come close to sacrificing her instincts for security. A story of mood and atmosphere and much of the vibrant tension of The River, the sensitive awareness of setting of Thus Far and No Farther. Rumer Godden's peculiarly tender handling of children is again a major factor.