I picked up this book because I had read "Possession" and loved the writing. I didn't realize this book was following a family through a generation. There is a plethora of characters; there are snippets of history; there are comments on historical people of whom I know nothing. The middle section of the book seems to focus strictly on sex. I read for fun. I like to follow a character or two in whom I've invested a bit of time and see what happens to them. I don't care to try and keep track of fifty different characters. I'm not interested in researching people from the past whom I probably should know but don't. I don't care to read 200 pages dealing with sex. These are my failings, not the book's. Having said that I am still in awe of her writing. The way Ms. Byatt can create a book within a book is, to me, amazing. The fairy tales and stories she creates to weave into the main story and anchor it are marvellous and make the book worth my while to follow its complexities. The end of the book was probably true to the time period, but, nevertheless, a disappointment to me. It seemed that a lot of threads were just cut off without a fuller resolution to their story.