Love for Lydia by H. E. Bates, ‘an honest and skilfully told love story’


‘An honest and skilfully told love story’ – New York Times

We are thrilled to be publishing Love for Lydia, H. E. Bates’s classic love story, as part of our ongoing project to re-publish all of Bates’s collections, novellas, and now, this fantastic novel. This beautiful tale of passion, friendship and tragedy is published as an ebook for the first time, making it available to a whole new generation of readers, as well as those that remember it fondly both from the book and the television series. Love for Lydia captured the hearts of an era when it was brought to the screen in 1977, launching the careers of Jeremy Irons and Peter Davidson.

 ‘I dare you to find a more engaging love story than this one’ Seattle book Mama

This edition includes an introduction by Joanna Briscoe, in which she states that ‘Love for Lydia is so exquisitely written, so accurate on both the glorious and dangerous aspects of obsessive love, and so precise in its portrait of a time and place, it seems to me to be timeless.’

Lydia – shy, sheltered, beautiful and just nineteen – glides into Evensford one wintry day, stirring up feeling amongst the town’s young men. But it is the young Mr Richardson that she befriends. As winter turns to drowsy summer, his world becomes a wondrous place, full only of Lydia; but a change comes over the once retiring girl as she discovers the effect she has on other men. As his closest friends fall under her spell, the love Richardson feels for Lydia becomes tangled with jealousy and resentment, a rift that may never be repaired.

‘Love for Lydia is a novel that tugs at the emotions and pulls the reader through moments of exhilaration and heartache without sentimentality’ NetGalley reviewer

First published in 1952, Love for Lydia is a poignant look at love through the eyes of a boy growing up. Set amidst the hazy beauty of the English countryside and the crumbling splendour of the British upper classes, Bates demonstrates his ability to capture the complexities of human character, his remarkable talent for contrasting romance against stark reality, and the innocence, joy and sadness of young love.

Also out by H. E. Bates this month are Cut and Come Again as an ebook, and the paperback edition of The Watercress Girl.

Cut and Come Again is H.E. Bates’s fifth collection of short stories, a sparkling body of work full of tales of childhood. Geoffrey West observed the collection overall as ‘bright with life, with individuals alive and interacting, and with the sweeping beauties of broad country backgrounds.’ Also included are two additional stories, ‘The Tree’ and ‘The Man from Jamaica,’ never before published as part of a collection.

In The Watercress Girl, H. E. Bates masterfully depicts a childhood which, by proxy, reveals the mystifying world of the adult. Through a series of short, lyrical stories, the complexities of the world are seen with crystalline purity through the eyes of children. We experience the joyous and painful clarity of youth, full of fears, hopes and make-believe, and the trust and mistrust of the adult world.

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