Simonson wrote the delightful “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand“, and this book, only her second, is even better. The story takes place in an English village (Rye, in Sussex) before WWI, with all the snobbery and vicious gossip that characterized Downton Abbey. The description of the limited role of women is particularly well-told in this pre-suffragette era. The book ends with a graphic description of the horrors of trench warfare; belligerent and ignorant troop commanders are particularly odious. This is an excellent read.