A wonderful family saga with strong characters in a strong setting: Frampton is almost a character in its own right, and I liked its role in forming the characters, as well as their role in developing it. All the characters, even minor ones, play their part, and all the strands come together at the end. I'm glad that the ending was hopeful, if not entirely happy. If I have any regrets, it's that there wasn't more on some of seemingly secondary characters. As Tolkien said of Lord of the Rings, he wished he'd made the book longer.
Many things recur in the novel (early loss of parent; difficult relationship with surviving parent; terrible wartime experiences; coping with bad actions or decisions; not to mention illness), yet this is no Groundhog Day; each character faces their version of the recurring challenges in a different way. Sons and daughters learn from their parents’ mistakes, yet cannot entirely escape their genetic make-up. Nature and nurture both play their part.
The development of Jed's character, in particular, is good: he visibly and plausibly develops from taciturn and crass young man, full of jealousy and suspicion, into a supportive parent and sound businessman, who has learned to trust and to delegate. I was particularly touched by Jed's love for Evie even though she is not his daughter; he loves her partly for herself, and also for the reminders of Alice. Good too that he gradually comes to like Jack, despite everything. Jack, seemingly at first the more attractive man, is more flawed, for reasons that gradually become clear, yet his staying to the end is an act of devotion and not simply selfish. None of the main characters is without flaws; yet the author allows us to forgive them their faults and love them for their virtues.
I was impressed by how well personal lives are interweaved with working lives; working hard and being successful is as important a driver for the characters as their love lives.