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Surrey, United Kingdom

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford

My fascination with the Mitford sisters seems to have a never ending source of fuel.  My latest venture into their lives came in the form of Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford  These letters have been edited by Charlotte Mosley, Diana's grand-daughter-in-law.  Faced with what must have been an inexhaustible supply of materials, Charlotte Mosley has produced a comprehensive and highly readable volume.  We follow Nancy from childhood right through to her last days.  The beauty of reading a volume of letters as opposed to a biography is that you hear the subject's true voice and consequently feel you are really getting to know them.  Nancy's dry and sometimes caustic wit rings clearly through all the letters, yet it is so liberally tempered with warmth and affection that it is hard to imagine anyone ever taking it the wrong way and being upset by her manner.  Nancy's life was not easy - Diana and Unity's associations with Nazism and Hitler caused her moral anxiety and pain, as did Jessica's elopement and emigration to the USA.  Even her love life was not straight-forward - her marriage to Peter Rodd whilst not necessarily an unhappy was certainly not a fulfilling one and her affection for 'the Colonel' never seems to have been fully reciprocated.
A wonderful insight to a wonderful lady - this collection is well worth reading.  I had it on my bedside table for some time and found it perfect to dip in and out of when no other reading material seemed to be the right choice.


  1. This sounds fascinating. I am ashamed to say that I haven't read any Mitford's but since I now have all of her fiction (that are in print anyway) there is nothing to stop me.

  2. I think I'm actually more a fan of the Mitfords as people, than of their writing. I've read Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love and found both a little hard going. Having said that, there are enough moments that are genuinely amusing and well observed that make them well worth the read.