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Biography - The Mitford Girls by Mary Lowell - brilliant book

(28 Posts)
GetOrfMoiLand Fri 01-Feb-08 19:53:35

In the middle of this and have to recommend it. Such a fascinating family and very funny. Also really well written and an easy read, the author doesn't go off on a tangent into some ultra-boring side plot, a depressing feature of some biographies, i find.

Has anyone else read it?

PurlyQueen Fri 01-Feb-08 20:06:24

Read the book a couple of years ago and loved it.

TotalChaos Fri 01-Feb-08 20:13:51

Yes it was v. good. Felt she was a bit down on Jessica though.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 01-Feb-08 20:15:54

totalchaos - only halfway through, but yes she is dismissive of Decca describing her upbringing as unhappy, bit odd, interested in seeing how that develops.

Think that's what makes it a good read, doesn't seem to be so achingly impartial as some biographers. Feels like the author is sat there having a good gossip!

wheelybug Fri 01-Feb-08 20:17:17

I think we talked briefly about this on another thread... I might read it next - I won't have long before I have to attack my next book club book but if you reckon its an easy read I might give it a bash....

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 01-Feb-08 20:23:09

yes, I remember mentioning it this week. Hope you enjoy it as much as I am smile

champagneSupernova Fri 01-Feb-08 20:25:17

Just finished Hons and Rebels by Decca - was fascinating and I didn't want it to end which it did quite suddenly.

It's on my wish list on amazon and no one wants to buy it for me. Will have to buy for self!

Tamum Fri 01-Feb-08 20:25:44

It is really good isn't it, but I agree about Decca, especially as she was always my favourite (well, I guess most people's really). I got the edited letters for Christmas, I'll be interested to read that too.

champagneSupernova Fri 01-Feb-08 20:26:09

Just read thread fully - interesting that they're all down on Decca, she is quite my favourite sister having read her book so I'll be doubly interested to read it now.

Tamum Fri 01-Feb-08 20:26:15

I was just thinking I'd like to re-read Making of a Muckraker, too.

champagneSupernova Fri 01-Feb-08 20:27:01

Also love the concept of a nickname like Decca coming from Jessica. (PG at the moment so a bit name obsessed sorry!)

Tamum Fri 01-Feb-08 20:31:02

champagne, have you read A Fine Old Conflict? It's a sequel to Hons and Rebels, though necessarily much more about Decca than the others. Very good read, too.

MrsJohnCusack Fri 01-Feb-08 20:35:44

oh YES I love it
I first read it on an orchestra tour a few years back, we had to play at Disneyland Paris and had free tickets for the afternoon; I sat outside under a tree and read for 4 hours, it was SO brilliant

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 01-Feb-08 20:38:49

love all the photos as well of gorgeous 30's bias cut gowns <sigh>

foxinsocks Fri 01-Feb-08 20:42:49

has anyone read the big letters book yet (Mitfords, Letters between 6 sisters)?

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 01-Feb-08 20:44:46

ooh foxinsocks thanks, must look for that (had never heard of it)

There are a few extracts in the biog, very witty. Some of Debo's quotes are laugh out loud funny (apparently Debo's letters used to make Decca 'roar')

Tamum Fri 01-Feb-08 21:26:04

That's the one I meant, foxinsocks, that I got for Christmas. I might leave it until we go on holiday though, save it up

poppy34 Fri 01-Feb-08 21:27:44

Its a really good book - if you enjoy this then you'd enjoy the letters collection that is edited by Charlotte Mosley - absolutely fascinating as somehow their own words. Decca comes out of this as loved but different.

wheelybug Sun 03-Feb-08 13:35:26

On such recommendations - I started this last night. SO far so good - I agree its an easy read and has already had me chuckling at a couple of things.

Thanks !

WendyWeber Sun 03-Feb-08 14:11:20

I am halfway through the big letters book - have paused to reread Nancy's novels. I love the way Debo & Decca call each other Hen all the time, and Nancy & Decca call each other Susan/Sooze. (And Debo always starts letters to Nancy "Get on" - I'm sure there must be an explanation for that somewhere, but I've missed it)

Unity's letters, adoring Hitler and with loads of German phrases included (whoever she is writing to, surely they didn't all have fluent German?) are shocking. And yes, Debo's are hilarious grin. She seems far and away the nicest and most balanced, despite living such an aristocratic life, and having lost at least 2 babies sad

They are hard to follow though - most letters have footnotes and they are often over the page, and it's a big fat heavy book so flipping back and forth when reading in bed is a chore [weak and feeble woman]

Must read the Mitford Girls again.

VintageGardenia Sat 23-Feb-08 16:53:20

I read the letters just after Christmas and loved them. I also thought they gave the most balanced view of the girls - I mean most of the other books on the Mitfords are very much angled against one or more of the sisters.

Years ago Decca was my favourite - influenced by Hons & Rebels and the fact that she was the one who rebelled - but I've gone off her now as she also seemed to have been so selfish - but since reading the letters it's definitely Debo I like best. And I'd never really noticed her before. She was on Woman's Hour when the book came out, you can get the interview as a podcast.

Can you imagine having dinner with any of them?

VintageGardenia Sat 23-Feb-08 16:54:00

Also v sad towards end where just Debo and Diana left.

wheelybug Tue 26-Feb-08 09:31:04

Finally finished this and i loved it ! I can't believe its taken so long to read but its only in the last couple of hundred pages I've really sat down and read it (otherwise been trying to sneak in a few pages each night in bed without DH moaning about turning the light off). I knew almost nothing about them beforehand but it was so interesting.

Thanks for making me get it off my bookshelf and make me read it !

What do I read next on the mitfords then ? The letters ? their books - any recommendations on where to start ?

WendyWeber Tue 26-Feb-08 09:38:18

Have you read any of Nancy's? The Pursuit of Love, Love in a Cold Climate & Don't Tell Alfred all feature "the Radlett family" (a vaguely disguised form of the Mitfords) and you'll recognise lots of phrases and characters smile

I have never read Hons & Rebels (Jessica's), I must give that a go.

wheelybug Tue 26-Feb-08 09:39:45

Thanks WW - I haven't read anything other than this biog. I was thinking with Nancy's as they sounded quite fun in the book. Will add to amazon wishlist in case it gets perused pre-mothers day grin.

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