A modestly presented, moderately engrossing, and thoroughly likable highclass soap opera--set in London in the early Seventies and featuring a sextet of youngish characters worth tuning in for. Swinging London this isn't, happily enough; sisters Linden (beautiful and tough) and fat Anna (""Linden is older. She took the best bits"") are both twentyish virgins--and they're career-minded out of necessity, not fashion. Anna's a gifted art student who does murals for bathrooms, Linden's a trained gourmet cook whose first posh household job leads jauntily to three of the men in their lives: the Carroll brothers, business scion James and jazz pianist/black sheep Oliver; and Freddie Monroe, a brutish, ambitious expert on Chinese porcelains who's using Oliver's money and connections to ride high on a crest of rising objets d'art prices. Linden naturally aims for supremely eligible James, and, after a lovely fling with Anna's grubby art-school crony, Pyro Macdonald, gets him--to her profound regret. Anna's Mr. Wrong is loner Freddie--though he does wonders for her self-image and weight problem--and she winds up, for better and worse, with shambling Oliver. First-novelist Martin has no great style or special charm, but she quietly allows these people to have full lives, recognizable families, interesting work, realistically blurry motivations, and ambivalent outcomes. Who, from this genre, could ask for anything more?