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Love for Lydia [Paperback]

H. E. Bates
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Love for Lydia + Fair Stood the Wind for France (Penguin Modern Classics) + A Moment in Time
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd (28 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413776530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413776532
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

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 it's 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 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.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Like a number of British authors writing in the early twentieth century, H. E. Bates was greatly influenced by the work of Thomas Hardy. He shared with Hardy not only a deep love of nature and of the English countryside, but also a talent for vivid verbal descriptions of that countryside. There are also thematic links between the two writers. Bates's "The Feast of July" has a similar plot to that of Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", and "Love for Lydia" makes employs two plot devices much used by Hardy, love between people of different social classes and two or more men in love with the same woman.

All of Hardy's novels are set in the South-West of England (or "Wessex" as he called it), especially his native Dorset. Bates too concentrated on certain regions of the country as the setting for his novels, typically Northamptonshire, the county where he grew up, and Kent, the country to which he moved in the 1930s. (Some of his wartime stories, such as "The Jacaranda Tree" and "Fair Stood the Wind for France" are set abroad).

Like "The Feast of July" and "Charlotte's Row", "Love for Lydia", first published in 1952, is one of his Northamptonshire novels, set in the small industrial town of Evensford, possibly based upon his home town of Rushden, a town where the main industry is the manufacture of shoes and leather goods. The story takes place during the late 1920s and early 1930s and is narrated by the main character, Mr Richardson, a young apprentice journalist on the local newspaper. (We never learn his Christian name). The novel may be semi-autobiographical; Richardson is around the same age as the author would have been and, like him, works both as a reporter and as a warehouse clerk.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving, atmospheric and sublime 6 Aug 2008
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I read this as a teenager and totally fell in love with the story. I still have the book but have never quite dared to re-read it in case it's not as wonderful as I remember!

Set just after the first world war, Lydia moves to a country town to live with her aunts and uncle, and plays havoc with the emotions of the young men who see her. It's all here: first love, unrequited love, jealousy, passion and despair - but H.E. Bates is a restrained and sublime writer so this never descends into over-blown chic-littish melodrama. I think I've persuaded myself I must re-read it immediately!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I read this as a teenager (and watched the TV serial!) and totally fell in love with the story. I still have the book but have never quite dared to re-read it in case it's not as wonderful as I remember!

Set just after the first world war, Lydia moves to a country town to live with her aunts and uncle, and plays havoc with the emotions of the young men who see her. It's all here: first love, unrequited love, jealousy, passion and despair - but H.E. Bates is a restrained and sublime writer so this never descends into over-blown chic-littish melodrama. I think I've persuaded myself I must re-read it immediately!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical 27 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first time I have read H E Bates and I was entranced.The descriptions of nature, the changing class, cultural and physical world, the emotional attachments of the characters....I feel I must read it all over again.
I initially searched for the TV version of Love for Lydia which I believe was screened in the 1970s. I remember thoroughly enjoying this and, caught up in a wave of nostalgia, planned to purchase the DVD. I may still do this, but the book was very satisfying and I would heartily recommend it to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better second time round 26 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this whilst still at school - it was being aired at the time as a series on UK TV. That was in 1978!

I read it recently and still love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic romance set between the wars 28 Nov 2013
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Love for Lydia" by H.E. Bates is a superb story of young love, set between the wars in the fictional small town of Evensford.

The story begins in 1929 and is narrated in the first person by one of the young men who has his heart turned upside down by Lydia Aspen, one of two sisters who returned to the town after the death of their brother and proceeded to set the town alight. Tragedy, unrequited love, jealousy, and the ecstasy of love are all beautifully depicted in this novel.

It was adapted as a London Weekend Television series in the seventies, and this is available on DVD (Link: Love for Lydia - 5-DVD Box Set (in English, with optional Dutch sub-titles))

Bates was a brilliant novelist and this is one of his best works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Taste of Bates 11 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback
I remember watching the TV series "Love for Lydia" in the late 1970's. Though I remembered little about the plot and even less about the actors or the acting, I do know I was absolutely bowled over by it. I always meant to read the book but never got around to it. Then, a few years ago, I heard the odd part read on Radio 4. Again, I thought I must read it. Again I forgot about it. I'm not sure what brought it back into my mind. I believe the book may now be out of print. The 2007 edition I found on Play.com is an excellent condition second hand copy.

The story is told in a slow ponderous style, very different from the modern pacy novels I have been reading lately and it took me a while to get into it, in part because I had to keep checking back to understand what was going on. Once I had got used to it though I was absolutely captivated. It's one of those books that's worth reading for the use of words alone. It's poetic, lyrical, melodic. The descriptions are just wonderful. Here is how the narrator describes one of the Miss Aspen's:

"As she spoke she ruffled up in her chair and no longer dumpling-like and rotund, seemed to be going through a process of an almost grotesque enlargement, fluffing herself out, sprouting wings. Like a hen about to spring up on a perch after laying an egg."

By today's standards the descriptions of the countryside and the setting are very long, but they are so beautiful. There are far too many to choose from, but here are just a few:

"The colour of the frozen afternoon, all apricot and bronze, came levelly across the ice in a startling horizontal fire"

"A lichen-like green hung above the sunset, and the shadows, all across the snow, became of indigo brilliance before finally dissolving.
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