AT bottom Only One Storm (‘There’s only one storm that never cleared up — and that’s this one.’) is a debate on the question of what men live by. Canby and Christina Kittredge move from New York to the Berkshire village of Pendleton and become a part of the town, accepted by the villagers and acquainted with many of the summer visitors. Their house forms a kind of intellectual crossroads. Their New York friends range in political color from very pale pink to dark red, and their country neighbors — all conservatives — from a moral white to a dark gray.
Amid the swirl of opinion, Canby veers first one way and then another, until the Russo-German peace pact curdles doctrines which he has found persuasive. In the end he solves his personal problems by adopting the sound old principle of ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,’ and gets himself elected selectman of Pendleton. Christina, the finest character in the book, retains her poise throughout because she never lets her very intelligent mind get in the way of her affections. The rest of the men and women — and they comprise almost a directory of the town — illustrate contemporary ferment in an old community; and they provide sufficient story to make the reading very enjoyable. Whatever you believe, you will find it here, and sometimes it may make you squirm; and yet there is an impressive lack of bitterness and propaganda. A sequel will be welcome that shows what happens in Pendleton when Russia and Germany go to war. R.M.G.