1 NOVEMBER 1930, Page 32

LACEBURY MANOR. By Robert Gathorne-Hardy. (Collins. 7s. 6d.)—Mr. Gathome-Hardy's book

begins well. One settles down to it with the feeling that one is about to enter into a good, old-fashioned family life, that one will recall such sentiments as were stirred by a first reading of Little Women, and enjoy the girlish gaities and anguishes of the three Cordelion sisters, who are charmingly described. The enjoyment lasts for' the first few chapters, during Whichi . . _ . hearts flutter, a ship, bearing a brother and a lover, is sunk, and the sisters laugh and squabble and discuss the. Amerima Civil War. Then suddenly the book begins to fall to pieces ; there is a lack of form and sequence. Business and love affairs are described quite well, but the story is so formless that one finds oneself taking no more interest in the Cordelion sisters and their life at Lacebury Manor than in long accounts of other people's relations. The author writes as a chronicler, but his characters are not strong enough to hold attention on their own account, and the book needs a more definite plot.