Love for Lydia

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First edition (publ. Michael Joseph)
Cover art by James Broom-Lynne[1]

Love for Lydia is a semi-autobiographical novel written by British author H. E. Bates, first published in 1952.

Plot[edit]

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 Evensford'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 its 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.

TV adaptations[edit]

Love for Lydia was made into a 13-part serial by London Weekend Television, first shown in 1977. It featured several actors in performances which were early in their television careers, including Christopher Blake, Mel Martin, Christopher Hancock, Peter Davison, Jeremy Irons, Ralph Arliss and Sherrie Hewson. It also featured Rachel Kempson, Beatrix Lehmann and Michael Aldridge as Lydia's eccentric relations. Other stars were David Ryall, Sam Kydd, Georgine Anderson, Patricia Leach, Paula Kent, Donald Bisset, Antony Brown, Jonathan Darwill, Holly de Jong, Fiona Duncan and Carol Frazer.

DVD release[edit]

Love for Lydia is available on DVD in the UK (issued by Acorn Media UK) and the US.

Influence[edit]

Welsh-born singer/songwriter Donna Lewis credits Love for Lydia as the inspiration for her song "I Love You Always Forever," which was a huge international hit in 1996. The song also contains a refrain from Bates' text.

References[edit]

External links[edit]