In short, I found this book a disappointment.
At first, it was an interesting area piece. Reading it was like being plopped down in a little place in Derbyshire, where you could sit by the road and watch the lives around you unfold. There is more description than story. You get to know the different families, but not much happens until later on.
Amid all this, though, there are a few spots that stick like pins, things that just don't seem appropriate:
-The husband of a music teacher kisses a 13-year-old student when she runs into him in the hall. Years later (in book time) he propositions her. Uh... yuck.
-The same student later works with an entertainment troupe whose manager, on one occasion, barges into the dressing room that she shares with his wife and runs a finger down the younger girl's naked back. The book gives no indication that the girl dislikes or resents this kind of contact, which in these days would probably land the manager in jail.
-Same girl is later peeped on by a different member of the troupe, AND her younger sister is with her (and in a similar state of undress). Gross! This time, the girl smiles and waves back like nothing is wrong with this.
Nor does the book make any kind of moral commentary on the subject. It happens and whoever is writing the story doesn't seem to care one way or the other.
Somewhere towards the latter half of the book the story starts sliding into tragedy as this girl's marriage (to the peeper -- excuse me while I gag) deteriorates. Augh. I hate tragedy... there is enough pain in real life. I don't want a heaping plateful in my fiction, thank you very much. I skimmed to the end, which consists of this magnet of male attention getting on a train to go to London to work at a promising job after her jerk of a husband kills himself and his FIRST wife in a car wreck.
It all felt unsatisfying. The characters are explained but I was unable to get attached to any of them. I wish I had my time back to read a better book with.