My first Nancy Mitford novel to read has had a lot of pressure upon it to be good. Everyone I have mentioned it to who has read it has commented on how fantastic it is and also I came away from the letters of the Mitford Sisters earlier this year with a real fondness for Nancy and her humour. Happily I can say that her humour and personality shine brightly through this novel. I was also pleased to see that though yes indeed if you know the Mitford’s and their family history then yes you can see it reflected in this work, but its also accessible for anyone who has no idea who the Mitford’s are at all and just want to read a great and extremely funny book.
The Pursuit of Love tells of Linda and her pursuit of that exact thing, all told by her cousin Fanny. It starts of back in their childhood when Fanny came to live with them after her mother ‘Aunty Bolter’ has run off with yet another man (hence her nickname) and how she copes in a house run by the blunt and endlessly shouting Uncle Matthew. After that it’s a tale of ‘debuts’, dances, dalliances and doomed marriages as Linda tries to find ‘true love’ a thought she originally feels she could only have for the Prince of Wales.
What are wonderful in this book are the characters, and that fact that though there is one main story line with Linda there are also wonderful short stories of others interwoven. It’s also an interesting and funny insight into society and class in those times and also Nancy’s own way of looking at her childhood and family. Quite clearly Linda and her constant crying in childhood (which almost made me cry with laughter) and beauty and dizziness in adulthood is a mixture of Nancy and her sisters. Uncle Matthew who flies into rages, cries at Romeo & Juliet ‘why did they have to die, the silly fools’ and hates foreigners even though he’s only every been to France is easily their father. There are also some other wonderful characters like Lord Merlin who gives Rodin pictures, houses and cheques for £20,000 without a thought who reflect certain society members.
My only gripe with this book has been the cover, I just think its wrong for a few reasons, however I shalln’t open that can of worms right now. This must become a classic, I am shocked in a way that it hasn’t officially, instead it seems to be a cult classic with many authors naming either this or ‘Love In A Cold Climate’ as one of their favourite books. I really enjoyed it and on several occasions laughed out loud. A truly glamorous, witty collection of fantastic characters, and their colourful tales, if you haven’t read this you should!