A Cambridge maths grad student takes a holiday in England's remote and rural Lake District, hoping to be able to make progress on his research but instead learning more about his own humanity. A major plot point is his relationship with 10 year old Alice:
(quoted from The Proof of Love)
Spencer thought of the ladders of conjecture that led nowhere, the wrangles that he sweated over late at night, sequences of numbers, the world in which he spent most of his time; an abstract world, a beautiful but elusive place in which he was often lost. He had come to the valley hoping to find a clearer way through it.
"It's not really homework. It's sort of  my job. Only, I never stop thinking about it. I do it all the time."
"What's the name of your school?"
"It's not actually a school, it's a university."
"What's a university?"
"It's where people go after they've been to school."
Alice frowned. "Dad didn't. he worked here with Grandad. I don't think Mam went either. Or Uncle Tom."

In this interview, the author explains that she herself grew up in such a community and that her father took the unusual step of studying advanced mathematics. "So", she says, "I began to think about maths, and the mathematicians that I knew when I went to university. They used to get very excited about their subject but because it’s so hard to talk about to nonmathematicians, they often ended up somewhat isolated. I wanted to explore that feeling of isolation, especially in a place where intellectual pursuits aren’t understood or valued."
This book, her second novel, was nominated for the London Book Award and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize.
Thanks to Sharanjit Paddam for suggesting that I add this book to my database. 