The Young May Moon
The title, The Young May Moon, taken from a song by Moore, implies a love story. But the story here is not of simple romantic love in an idyllic setting. The love is of various kinds and degrees: the love of Alec Rice for his first wife, Laura, who left him for another man; his love for his son Philip, and Philip's bewildered love for him; boy-and-girl love in a Welsh village; "love that never found his earthly close"... The preoccupation of the book is with Alec Rice and his son. Philip had been unaware of his father's first marriage; he had regarded his father's second wife as his real mother. On his death he is sent to an uncle and aunt who run a bakery business into the mysteries of which Philip, at fifteen, is to be initiated. The uncle and aunt, in their different ways, break the news to him.
By strangely contrasted scenes—a bakehouse, a reservoir that "drowned a village," a tumbledown country pub – and through characters as almost Dickensian as Uncle Adrian and as unprecedented as Grainger, supervisor at the reservoir, the movement of the narrative is towards reconciliation not only between father and son but between them and the memory of Laura (now dead) who had failed one as a wife, the other as a mother.