Love for Lydia

byH. E. Bates. Atlantic-Little, Brown, $3.50.
A novel of young love, tender and tragic by turns, set in a small town in England. At nineteen Lydia is lanky, black-haired, shy and unawakened; and this is the story of her blooming. It is young Richardson who first brings her out, as they skate together and go dancing; by summer they are deeply in love and there is no holding back. But Lydia is one of those girls who, as they rush into maturity, are driven by instinct and feeling and blood — and Richardson is not enough. She must captivate Alex, with whom she loved to dance; and Tom Holland, the blond and powerful farmer; and Blackie Johnson, the arrogant, uncouthly handsome mechanic. The story is told by Richardson — directly, passionately, and sometimes wryly, in the narrow magnification that youth brings to situations so intense and muddled and tragic.