Nancy Mitford's brilliantly witty, irreverent stories of the upper classes in pre-war London and Paris conjure up a world of glamour, gossip and decadence.
In The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing, her extraordinary heroines deal with armies of hilariously eccentric relatives, the excitement of love and passion, and the thrills of the social Season. But beneath the glittering surfaces and perfectly timed comic dialogue, Nancy Mitford's novels are also touching hymns to a lost era and to the brevity of life and love.
'Very funny... inimitable and irresistible... one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of English this century.' Philip Hensher
Love in a Cold Climate
'How lovely – green velvet and silver. I call that a dream, so soft and delicious, too.' She rubbed a fold of the skirt against her cheek. 'Mine's silver lamé, it smells like a bird cage when it gets hot but I do love it. Aren't you thankful evening skirts are long again?'
Ah, the dresses! But oh, the monotony of the Season, with its endless run of glittering balls. Even fabulously fashionable Polly Hampton – with her startling good looks and excellent social connections – is beginning to wilt under the glare.
Groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, fearsome Lady Montdore, Polly instead scandalizes society by declaring her love for her uncle 'Boy' Dougdale, the Lecherous Lecturer, and promptly eloping to France. But the consequences of this union no one could quite expect . . .
Love in a Cold Climate is the wickedly funny follow-up to The Pursuit of Love and explores the mystery of sexual attraction.
The Pursuit of Love
'Obsessed with sex!' said Jassy, 'there's nobody so obsessed as you, Linda. Why if I so much as look at a picture you say I'm a pygmalionist.'
In the end we got far more information out of a book called Ducks and Duck Breeding. 'Ducks can only copulate,' said Linda, after studying this for a while, 'in running water. Good luck to them.'
Oh the tedium of waiting to grow up! Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the look out for the perfect lover. But finding Mr Right is much harder than any of the sisters thought. Linda must suffer marriage first to a stuffy Tory MP and then to a handsome and humorousless communist before finding real love in war-torn Paris . . .
The Pursuit of Love is one of the funniest, sharpest novels about love and growing up ever written.
'The Story's genius lies in it's wicked humour.' Olivia Laing, The Observer
'We've had nothing to eat since you saw us, nothing whatsoever. Course upon course of nasty greasy stuff smelling of garlic – a month's ration of meat, yes, but quite raw you know – shame, really – I wasn't going to touch it, let alone give it to Sigi, poor little mite.' 'Nanny says the cheese was matured in manure,' Sigi chipped in, eyes like saucers.
It isn't just Nanny who finds it difficult in France when Grace and her young son Sigi are finally able to join her dashing aristocratic husband Charles-Edouard after the war. For Grace is out of her depth among the fashionably dressed and immaculately coiffured French women, and shocked by their relentless gossiping and bedhopping. When she discovers her husband's tendency to lust after every pretty girl he sees, it looks like trouble. And things get even more complicated when little Sigi steps in . . .
The Blessing is a hilarious tale of love, fidelity, and the English abroad, tailored as brilliantly as a New Look Dior suit.
With less of the charm and debonair gaiety of Pursuit of Love, this approximates more closely social satire and is a delicately devastating portrait of the British aristocracy. As told by Fanny Logan, the most natural note in the narrative, this concerns several families of imposing bloodlines and often erratic eccentricity, particularly the Montdores whose only daughter Polly is Fanny's close friend. Lady Montdore, with her gimlet eye toward the rest of the world and her aggrieved attitude towards Polly, is a redoubtable figure, while Polly, whose beauty does not conceal her indifference towards the men she should attract, is quietly hostile towards her mother's social and marital ambitions for her. With the death of her aunt, Polly marries her uncle, a tired reprobate, is promptly disinherited by the irate Lady Montdore. It is Cedric, a cousin from Nova Scotia, imported as Polly's successor, who- though a nance- brings back warmth and splendor to the Montdores' lonely lives, accomplishes Lady Montdore's radiant rejuvenation... A portrait of an era, a class, a tradition which is always amusing and accomplished- but which lacks the engaging, endearing (presumably more popular) qualities of the first. (Kirkus Reviews)
|The Pursuit of Love||p. 7|
|Love in a Cold Climate||p. 153|
|The Blessing||p. 321|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics Ser.
Number Of Pages: 512
Published: 3rd February 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 19.6