Set in a rural English village, In the Springtime of the Year is an astonishingly acute novel built around young Ruth Bryce’s struggle to deal with the sudden and accidental death of her husband, Ben. Suddenly alone, Ruth must cope not only with Ben’s death but also with his family who view her with suspicion and hostility. Her sole companion is Ben’s fourteen-year-old brother, who understands Ruth’s quiet determination to emerge from this tragedy with her integrity and independence intact.
A young woman’s ability to collect herself, by herself, in the face of oppressive circumstances, is the force behind this novel. Told in a voice that is both honest and unsparing, it is an important addition to the oeuvre of a writer of real scope and power.
In the Springtime of the Year… speaks of home-truths, of rituals, of long-established ways of life and of a sense of sharing… (of a woman’s) progress through stages of grief. It is less a novel than a portrait of an emotion, and as this it is poignant and convincing.
—The New York Times