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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.

TheSmallClanger Fri 17-May-13 13:52:03

I've always thought Cedric was one of Nancy's early "fiances" who were actually gay - one of them was called Hamish Something, and I think she may have "dated" Lytton Strachey.

She had very inappropriate taste in men and normally went for ones who weren't really there for the taking, due to their sexuality or marital status. I don't understand how her husband Peter Rodd fits into this, but I suspect she was under a lot of pressure to pair up legitimately. She was nearly 30 when she married him.

There are bits of Diana in Linda and Polly Montdore, and in the two runaway Ladies in Wigs on the Green. Eugenia in that book is a hardly-disguised Unity.

joanofarchitrave Mon 13-May-13 21:13:06

oh i don't know if diana is really cedric... just my pet theory... smile

OscarandLulu Mon 13-May-13 19:10:03

I am one week away from baby no. 3 and have just bought Wigs on the Green as is just about the only thing I can read right now ... I LOVE this thread, and have to confess that if baby no. 3 is in fact a girl, which it wont be, it will be named after Nancy ....also swooning at Debo story earlier, I would have loved to have met any of them, they are all fascinating including Diana and Unity in their madness, and think Debo should do private audience with gals on this thread to answer all those intimate qu's... do you think Mumsnet can oblige ???? X

MaitreKarlsson Thu 09-May-13 07:09:45

Ah...didn't realise the Diana-Cedric connection! Makes sense! Thanks...

joanofarchitrave Thu 09-May-13 00:11:53

I'd agree about Fanny's life. Nancy Mitford's characters remind me of Elizabeth Jane Howard's, in that she seems to peel off slices of herself to make into full people... the love-obsessed part of her that ran away from her husband and lived and loved in France, and the sensible part of her that attempted to live as a housewife in Oxford, all quite real on the page IMO. I think it was a fantastic tease to turn Decca's life into marriage with 'a little man like a nut' and to turn Diana into Cedric.

MaitreKarlsson Wed 08-May-13 23:56:11

Don't think I saw that one...I liked the one a few years back which mingled the two main books which had Rosamund Pike as Fanny and Megan Dodds as Polly...actually that was pre-reading the books, was my introduction to them.
Very evocative of pre-war and a different world. Always think it is interesting that Fanny and her Don lead such a calm quiet life in comparison to the Radletts/Montdores and wonder if that's what Mitford envied in some way, rather different from her marital experience/affairs.
The biography of The Bolter is also worth reading. By Frances Osborne. Some of the detail is similar.

joanofarchitrave Wed 08-May-13 23:32:49

Agree Maitre.

I watched about 15 minutes of the most recent adaptation and lunged for the off button as it was truly awful. The worst bit was the addition of lots of reaction shots of people laughing uproariously at the jokes. Nancy Mitford almost never writes reaction to her jokes into the dialogue, she just writes funny lines. Either you laugh or you don't, what's the point of adding someone in a funny hat going 'ha ha ha'.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Pursuit of Love is my favourite too smile

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

Piers Morgan got married in the Swinbrook church as well.

<boring fact of the day>

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).

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

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

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.

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

Pursuit of love is the best

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