Archives for post-war Paris

#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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