Archives for Nancy Mitford

#BookReview ‘The Blessing’ by Nancy Mitford #satire #historical

The Blessing by Nancy Mitford tells of the wartime romance and marriage of young Englishwoman Grace Allingham and dashing Frenchman Charles-Edouard de Valhubert. Both are aristocratic but from completely different backgrounds. How, you wonder, could this marriage possibly work. Mitford has great fun with the gulf of understanding between the two nationalities, still recovering after the war. At the beginning of the war, Grace’s fiancé Hughie goes off to fight. Despite being engaged, she falls head over heels in love with the flirtatious Frenchman Charles-Edouard and marries him. A fortnight after their wedding, Charles-Edouard returns to Cairo. Nine months later, Grace gives birth to a boy, Sigismond. The war years pass by. Grace ‘lived in a dream of Charles-Edouard, so that as the years went by he turned, in her mind, into somebody quite divorced from all reality and quite different from the original.’ Even when peace is declared, Charles-Edouard’s return is announced and delayed, announced and delayed. Always, there is a gap between expectation and reality. Not all is as it seems. When he finally returns, he collects his wife and now five-year-old son and takes them to live in France, first at the family seat Bellandargues in Southern
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford #satire #historical

A companion novel to The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford is a tale of a group of aristocratic families, told by narrator Fanny Wincham. Both novels are stories about other people, rather than about Fanny herself. Love in a Cold Climate is about Lady Leopoldina ‘Polly’ Hampton and, like all Mitford’s novels, there is a satire in her portrayal of the whims and foibles of the English upper class. It is like reading of a lost world though the satire in this novel is less biting than her earlier novels. Mitford does create unforgettable characters. Not Fanny who, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, is something of a transparent uncomplicated observer, but Lady Montdore and Cedric are both memorable, especially when seen together. The novel finally takes off with the appearance of Cedric but there is quite a lot of background to set up before this point is reached. In a modern novel, the background would be slipped in carefully so allowing the story’s conflict to be quickly addressed. Eighteen-year old Fanny lives with relatives due to the absence of her separated parents. Among her neighbours are the Montdores of Hampton near Oxford,
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘The Pursuit of Love’ by Nancy Mitford #romance

A slower, more meditative pace inhabits The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, less frenetic than her earlier novels. More fond, less satirical. Fanny Logan narrates this story of the Radlett family and, in particular, her cousin Linda’s pursuit of love. The teenage Linda and sisters, and cousin Fanny who visits the Radletts at the fading freezing family pile, Alconleigh in the Cotswolds, want to grow up now. They are obsessed by sex and romance whilst being woefully ignorant of the practicalities. The reality, however, is more difficult and less romantic than they imagined. They form a secret society The Hons. When not out hunting, The Hons spend hours in a large warm cupboard gossiping about love and Fanny’s disreputable mother, ‘The Bolter’, who abandoned her daughter to pursue love. Fanny, raised by her Aunt Emily and stepfather Davey, spends all her holidays at Alconleigh with Uncle Matthew and Aunt Sadie and their family. As with all Mitford novels there are many laugh-out-loud moments. Alconleigh is an eccentric world where Uncle Matthew rules his staff and family; he despises foreigners, Catholics, the nouveaux riche and people who say ‘perfume’ instead of ‘scent’. Desperate to find true love and not follow the
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Categories: Book Love.