"He had stepped into the enchanted land towards which he had yearned in his childhood . . . This was the unreal land. This was the land of impossible dreams and impossible actions." Theodore Coniffe, austere property owner in Castlerampart, looks forward to the birth of an heir when his third and youngest daughter, Lily marries. A son is born, but the father, Cornelius Galloway, is a spendthrift who dies young, leaving the child to the care of Lily and her sisters, Theresa and Sara. Their love for Gabriel is limited by religious propriety and his youth is both protected and restrained. At the age of twenty-one Gabriel runs away to Dublin with Onny, the kitchen maid. Here they tumble into bohemian life. But Gabriel is ill-suited to this makeshift freedom and finds the values of Clewe Street impossible to evade. This absorbing family saga, first published in 1945, reveals the poignancies of an Irish Catholic upbringing, and is a testimony to Mary Lavin's considerable power as a storyteller.