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The Bride Comes to Evensford, a novella first published in 1943, follows a woman from her arrival in a small town (modelled on Bates's native Rushden) to her work for a draper, her marriage to him, her increasing command over the business and the household, and finally to her infatuation with a young man as a widow in her fifties. Written and published in the midst of Bates's work for the Air Ministry, but hearkening back in style and subject matter to his pre-war stories, this is a beautiful study of one woman's life, her hopes and disappointments. Philip Toynbee stated that it had "e;a fine elegant shape, covering with formidable skill a period of thirty years in only twice as many pages...Mr. Bates is a master of restraint...in a period of over-exuberance."