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.
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.