Love for Lydia


Bates, H. E.

28/02/2008 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9780413776532

About Love for Lydia

One of H. E. Bates' finest novels, by the author of The Darling Buds of May.

Lydia Aspen, a seemingly shy girl from a wealthy but isolated background, is encouraged by her aunts, her new carers, to discover the delights of growing up. They entrust her education to Mr Richardson, the young apprentice for Evenford's local newspaper, who is sent to their house to 'get a story' about the recent death of Lydia's father.

Richardson's access to the Aspens is unusual, as they are rarely seen by anyone from the town and hide behind their stone walls and perimeter of trees; introducing Lydia to the town's inhabitants gives Richardson a great sense of pride. Visiting the Aspen estate also allows Richardson the chance to escape from the great engulfing vacuum of Evensford, with its endless stretch of factory roofs and back alleys.

As Lydia and Richardson spend more time together, he realises that his initial concept of Lydia was wrong, that she is far from being shy, and is often impetuous and demanding and enjoys captivating the young men who become her companions. Richardson soon discovers that his promise to love her, no matter what she does to him, is going to push him beyond the pain and feelings he thinks he is capable of experiencing.

One of H. E. Bates' best-loved and most enduring books, Love for Lydia is an extraordinary tale of love and longing, set against the backdrop of 1920s decadence, and the fall of the English upper classes.


H. E. Bates


H. E. Bates was born in 1905 at Rushden in Northamptonshire and was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book after which he quickly acquired a reputation for his stories about English country life.


During the World War II, he was a squadron leader in the RAF and was commissioned to write stories about service life, which he published under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'.


In 1958 the Larkin family appeared for the first time in The Darling Buds of May, the first of the enduringly popular Larkin family novels.


H. E. Bates was awarded the CBE in 1973 and died in 1974.



'One of the most vividly evocative writers of English... able to conjure up in a handful of words whole landscapes and moods'

The Listener



‘H. E. Bates can achieve a quality of lyrical intensity that few contemporary novelists can match’


Times Literary Supplement



‘Few writers have a more exact feel for texture – of a flower, a face, a silence...’

The Spectator

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