First published in 1943, The Bride Comes to Evensford follows a woman from her arrival in a small town (modelled on Bates’s native Rushden) to her work for a draper, her marriage to him, her increasing command over the business and the household, and finally to her infatuation with a young man as a widow in her fifties. Written and published in the midst of Bates’s work for the Air Ministry, but hearkening back in style and subject matter to his pre-war stories, this is a beautiful study of one woman’s life, her hopes and disappointments.
H. E. Bates was born in 1905 in the shoe-making town of Rushden, Northamptonshire, and educated at Kettering Grammar School. After leaving school, he worked as a reporter and as a clerk in a leather warehouse.
Many of his stories depict life in the rural Midlands, particularly his native Northamptonshire, where he spent many hours wandering the countryside. His first novel, The Two Sisters (1926) was published by Jonathan Cape when he was just twenty. Many critically acclaimed novels and collections of short stories followed.