In The Springtime of the Year, By Susan Hill


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After her venture into crime with the Simon Serrailler mysteries, it's interesting to return to one of Hill's earlier, quieter masterpieces. Here, the author distilled her grief at the sudden death, in 1972, of her longtime boyfriend.

In the novel Ruth, a fictional young country widow, is also coming to terms with the death of her husband, Ben, in a tragic accident.

Cut off from Ben's family she becomes increasingly isolated, hiding herself away in her cottage, baking pies, but unable to eat and viewing even the weather as an intrusion on her misery. Only Ben's young brother, Jo, is able to reach out to her.