Friday, July 7, 2017
Love for Lydia / H. E. Bates
In my opinion, this is a sad book about love. It reminded me of some of the Thomas Hardy books I read in my teens: no joy. The writing is beautiful and descriptive. Bates paints the colors, sounds, and smells of the small town of Evensford, England, so well that we can see, hear, and smell the world of Love for Lydia.
Juliana and Bertie Aspen are two aging sisters who live on the family estate with their brother Rollo. They don't normally associate with the townspeople. But their niece, Lydia, comes to live with them and they determine not to keep her isolated from other young people. Richardson (I don't think we ever get his first name), the narrater, comes to the house to get a story about Lydia for the town newspaper. Juliana and Bertie recruit him to spend time with Lydia.
Lydia and Richardson fall in love. At least Richardson falls in love with Lydia. She asks him if he'll love her even if she's bad to him. He says yes, but she eventually tries his love to the extreme. She goes from being a shy young girl to a flirtatious and unpredictable, fun loving young woman. Richardson introduces her to his friends. The men fall for Lydia as Lydia happily collects them all.
Tragedy lies ahead for several of the friends, and for Lydia, too.