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Has anyone read Nancy Mitford's books?

(82 Posts)
Kasterborous Wed 01-May-13 16:32:33

I was wondering if anyone has read them and would have an idea if I would like them or not. My favourite recent reads have been some of Kate Atkinson's books and Kate Morton, they are some of my favourites. I've seen they have got an omnibus edition of Nancy Mitford on Amazon at a good price and would keep me going for a while.

Chubfuddler Thu 02-May-13 10:38:32


Well we were at church and she was there with prince Charles (as happens in the country) DS was about a year old and was fussing so I took him out and sat in the lovely little porch thingy till the end of the service. At the end they came out first and she stopped and was cooing over him. She was all twinkly and lovely.

bassingtonffrench Thu 02-May-13 11:14:51


i think debo has an elvis obsession which makes me like her a lot.

but her autobiography is not a patch on nancy's writing

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 11:21:21

That is a lovely story about Debo. Blimey though at just happening to be in church with a Duchess and the heir to the throne. grin

Her autobiography is very sweet, extraordinary times to live through (the last season before the war, living through the war itself, the Kennedys, restoring Chatsworth etc). I think Chatsworth is lovely - not at all like some other staid stately homes, I remember that there were loads of children and dogs in the grounds paddling in the water features and playing ball games. Incredibly relaxed.

I like her story of taking a goat and a dog from the outer hebrides to London via train when war broke out, then getting a cab at the other end and putting the goat in Nancy's garden (where it ate all the flowers).

bassingtonffrench Thu 02-May-13 11:34:21

yes, her life story is amazing. especially when she married the 'poor' second son who ended up inheriting, but then they had a huge tax bill because the father died young whilst being attended by a serial killer doctor

you couldn't make it up really.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 11:47:44

Yes, that serial killer doctor who killed her father in law was a bit shocking. And if her FIL had lived for another 18 weeks or something they would have avoided death duties (think the duke handed the estate over in the 40s but would have to live 7 years or something to be exempt from inheritance tax or something).

JassyRadlett Thu 02-May-13 11:50:23

Chub, that's a lovely story.

Another Mitford devotee here, as the username might suggest. And loving some of the usernames on this thread...

Any advances on The Pursuit of Love being Nancy's absolute best?

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 12:18:06

No, I agree Pursuit of Love is her very best. I have read some critics who have said that Love in a Cold Climate is her best novel, but I think PoL has the edge.

Mind you Lady Montdore is fantastic. Her put downs are wonderful. That thing she says about some ugly girl training to be a vet instead of doing the season 'best thing she could have done. Can't have girls like that cluttering up the ballrooms - simply not fair on anyone' <paraphrase>

Badvoc Thu 02-May-13 12:39:35

Pursuit of love is the best

Chubfuddler Thu 02-May-13 12:45:55

Ah but doesn't she say that about tony krosig's sister? Is that in POL?

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 12:50:58

Yes, Tony Kroesig's sister but in LICC I am sure, don't think Lady Montdore is in PoL.

I wish we studied PoL and LICC at school instead of bastarding Lord of the Flies. grin

saffronwblue Thu 02-May-13 12:58:00

Another mitford groupie here. I think Nancy would have been absolutely take no prisoners terrifying but her books make me laugh out loud. I love Davey Warbeck and Uncle Matthew and Cedric and all. Fabrice is quite something. I think Pursuit is the best but Love in a cold climate is brilliant. Boy is revoltingly believable.
Debo's autobiography is very sweet. She doesn't have the sizzle of Nancy's writing but has such a great story to tell.
Wow chubfuddler, getting your DS blessed by greatness!

bassingtonffrench Thu 02-May-13 13:26:36

pursuit of love is the best. Uncle Matthew is the best character ever.

Chubfuddler Thu 02-May-13 14:08:55

Agree bassington. The entrenching tool, slips of paper, cries of SEWER, blubbing at Romeo and Juliet. Legend.

Haberdashery Thu 02-May-13 18:47:29

And all the lovely silliness between the sisters in PoL. Little houseless match etc.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 19:04:14

Yes and the stamping out of a rhyme to make the sisters 'blither'.

I went to Swinbrook last year as well. What a beautiful church, and all the very simple gravestones of the Mitfords. And the local pub (lovely and gorgeous food) has blown up pictures of the Mitfords on the walls (the duchess of Devonshire owns the pub).

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 02-May-13 19:04:46

Piers Morgan got married in the Swinbrook church as well.

<boring fact of the day>

tumbletumble Thu 02-May-13 20:20:34

Pursuit of Love is my favourite too smile

Kasterborous Thu 02-May-13 22:03:30

Which Swinbrook is it, as I life not far from somewhere called Swinbrook.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 02-May-13 22:42:56

It is near Burford in Oxfordshire. A really beautiful area.

Kasterborous Thu 02-May-13 22:50:59

That's the one I live near then we are only four miles from Burford which is lovely.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 03-May-13 10:22:38

It's well worth a visit, the pub is really lovely, and a lovely walk through the village to the church.

MrsBartlet Sat 04-May-13 09:11:00

Just read Pursuit of love and Love in a Cold Climate and loved them both. Having read about the Mitfords previously, I can't believe it has taken me until my forties to actually read anything by them. Really want to read Hons and Rebels next.

Mirage Wed 08-May-13 21:48:06

I've read a fair few Mitford books and always enjoyed them.I was once reading Debo Devonshire's memoirs and commented to DH that she seemed a very amusing,down to earth person,the sort you could have a good conversation with,and I'd like to meet her.

He announced that she was indeed a very charming person and he liked her very much.Turned out that he'd met her at something or other[ we are also country people like chubfuddler] but despite knowing how interesting I found her family,had not thought to mention it before.I was like this shock envy.

He does have form for meeting interesting folk and forgetting to tell me until months/years later,but you'd think the sight of me with her book might have jogged his memory.hmm

joanofarchitrave Wed 08-May-13 21:59:09

Slips of paper is love in a cold climate.

They really are vile as a family but so many great books. I really enjoy The American Way of Death as well.

MaitreKarlsson Wed 08-May-13 23:28:43

Love this thread. There are so many funny quotes in The Pursuit of Love but she was genius for poignancy/pathos.
I always think of the bit just before you mentioned Getorf. When she's waiting for him to come and visit her in her London flat during the war and hears the taxi pull up...sun silence happiness...(blubs). Magical and written with such feeling. Sorry dont have exact quote to hand

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