The book starts in late Victorian England and ends shortly after the first world war. It covers the transition between the end of the Victorian era, and the aimlessness of the next generation very well. The main characters grow up with the best education that can be found in England at the time, which is freely admitted to be not very good. They grow up and deal with love, decadence and the reality of war in a very meaningful way. Beautiful and brilliant this remarkable novel, with the subtitle „The Story of an Education”, is full of love, tragedy, World War I scenes and perspectives on German, Irish, Russian, British and American issues and values. Joan and Peter, orphaned at five and with four guardians, run the gamut.