2016: 32.-33. Favorite Books: The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate

There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh.” - First lines of The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford.

I, like all right thinking people, am fascinated by the Mitford sisters - fascists, Communists, Duchess, suicide, etc.  But the real reason we are all so obsessed is because of Nancy - the writer, who wrote these just absolutely marvelous books, in which her crazy family is backdrop to the other plots.  I’ve read these two books at least five times, and I know I will keep returning to them.  They are funny, and surprisingly modern in attitude (i.e. the way it deals with Cecil), but mostly, Nancy Mitford created a world, based on her own family that is just delightful to read about.  
The narrator of both books is Fanny, a cousin to the crazy Radlett family (and I just love Fanny. Everytime I re-read I am so pleased that Fanny ends up happy).  For Radlett read Mitford, of course with some minor adjustments (there is an extra brother, and no Nancy character, for example).  The Pursuit of Love is about Linda Radlett’s attempt to find happiness through a series of disastrous love affairs and marriages, Love in a Cold Climate is about Polly Hampton, heir to an enormous fortune (and gorgeous to boot), who infuriates her gorgon mother by failing to fall in love with anyone.  I love them both, but if I had to pick I might choose Cold Climate, only because the plot twists are delectable.  But if you like witty books of the 30’s and 40’s - or any witty books, really, and you somehow haven’t read these, you have denied yourself a real pleasure.  They are so, so, good.

AND, if you can find it (I think it’s only on youtube), the BBC made a tv series of both books, starring Rosamund Pike as Fanny that was an absolute DELIGHT.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017