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"The Bride Comes to Evensford."
Page Count
Word Count
Jonathan Cape
Saturday Book
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd
Publication Year
Document Types
Evensford (setting)
available as ebook
Ambition, Loneliness

London: Jonathan Cape, 1943 (February 1).
Dedication: "To Dilys Powell and Leonard Russell" (contributor to and editor of, respectively, The Saturday Book).

A tale 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. It follows a woman from her arrival in a small town (modeled after Bates's native Rushden) to work for a draper, to her marriage to him, her increasing command over the business and the household, and finally to an infatuation with a young man as a widow in her fifties. This and the remaining Air Ministry stories were Bates's last offerings to his long-time publisher, Jonathan Cape, which published it singly (in which form it enjoyed huge sales due to Bates's success with the "Flying Officer X" stories) and as the lead story in a 1949 compilation. The title would appear to reference "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," by Stephen Crane (an author Bates greatly admired).

Philip Toynbee writes "Mr. Bates's long short story has 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 a period of over-exuberance." R.D. Charques writes that "what makes the tale so unsatisfactory is the rigid and mechanical elaboration of the woman's character."

Also in The 1943 Saturday Book (October 1942), The Bride Comes to Evensford And Other Tales (1949).


  • New Statesman and Nation (February 27, 1943, p. 44, Philip Toynbee, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (February 6, 1943, p. 65, R.D. Charques, attached)
  • Sunday Times (February 14, 1943, p. 3, Ralph Straus, attached)


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.