Review: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

What is a “weekend” you ask?… Like you I’m having Downton Abbey withdrawls, so I turned to Nancy Mitford to give me a fix.

Nancy was one of the famous Mitford sisters, members of an aristocratic and eccentric English family who became quite famous for their exploits.

There is a very interesting biography about them that I plan to tackle at some point by Mary S. Lovell called The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family. Nancy Mitford bases many of her fictional characters and stories off of her infamous family.

The book I picked up is called The Pursuit of Love (for all of you cover whores out there it is worth reading for the cover alone). I had read a few reviews about the book before reading it myself, and everyone commented on how funny it was. My hopes were high. It wasn’t what I was expecting, however this short book really grew on me.

The story takes place between the wars and centers around the aristocratic Radlett family (a much more bizarre version of the Crawley family). It is told from the point of view of Fanny, a cousin who grows up with the Radletts. The story mainly focuses on the life and loves of the beautiful, young Linda. Here is a character, much in the vein of Scarlett O’Hara, who is spoiled and entitled, yet you still root for her.

At the beginning of the book Linda is a young girl, desperate to find the love of her life. The story follows Linda’s path to understanding what real love is as she grows up, and the men she meets along the way. And what a variety she experiences! The pompous ass, the uber politically conscious do-gooder, the suave ladies’ man, they run the gamut.

What struck me most about the book was the tone of the narrator and the characters. Bizarre, dramatic, and emotional situations were described with such a detached urbanity and dry wit. Mitford’s style of writing really captures the absurdity of life in an amusing way, and I was often struck by how modern her writing felt. Also thrown in are deeper observations that really struck me, such as this passage:

“Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can’t imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening.”

Overall a fun and short read that will make you think, and hopefully help ease some of your longing for Cousin Matthew and Mary.

Check it out at your local library fellow bitches!

This is a post courtesy of The Lib Bitch. This book is a perfect addition to the growing Project Dowton list!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

  • Paperback, 240 pages
  • Published August 10th 2010 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published 1945)
  • ISBN 0307740811 (ISBN13: 9780307740816)

This book counts toward: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5 (a romantic historic fiction novel that fans of Downton Abbey will love)

Genre: Historic fiction, Romance

Memorable lines/quotes: NA

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