Weekend Read: The Pursuit of Love and Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Nancy Mitford is a goddess to raving Anglophiles like me. Her joined novels The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate are not only semi-autobiographical and deeply moving, but one of the funniest examinations of British eccentricity ever written. The narrator of both books is Fanny, a quiet girl who observes the lives and loves of her more madcap cousins Linda and Polly. Linda’s story is covered in The Pursuit of Love when the vivacious Linda unwisely marries first a crashing bore of a conservative and then a crashing bore of a communist, and finally finds happiness with a sophisticated Casavnova of a Frenchman. Love In A Cold Climate follows Polly, a beautiful girl destined for a duke or a prince . . . until she elopes with her uncle by marriage.
These books will have you yearning for hedgerows, country houses, and fox hunters in pink coats
The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate are less about plot and more about the characters, who make themselves unforgettable every time they open their mouths. Tony the conservative, “a perfect mountain of pomposity.” Uncle Matthew the explosive country squire, training his bloodhounds by having them hunt his children across the countryside or even across Hyde Park in London, despite people staring. Lady Montdore the ineffable snob, observing “Hardly any of one’s friends in England had ever heard of India before we went there, you know.” Linda’s lover Fabrice, urban to his fingertips, a hero of the French resistance who finds time to keep his mistress updated on the latest fashion trends (“That suit has ready-made all over it; jackets are longer this year.”)
If “Gosford Park” and Oscar Wilde is your idea of humor; if you have ever yearned to grow up in an English country house with fox hunting and tweeds and Oxford dons coming for long weekends – then these are the books for you.