If you like the 20s and 30s and things like Downton Abbey, you must read the books by Nancy Mitford.She was considered for years a frivolous writer, now she is instead appreciated as the voice of an era now over, that of the years between the two world wars.
Famous for being the eldest of the Mitford sisters of a family that belonged to the small aristocracy with origins dating back to the Norman conquest. Nancy Mitford is still famous for three novels part of a trilogy, written after the Second World War which told the often amorous stories of the aristocracy with a slightly humorous tone.
Despite the origins of the family and two fascist sisters, Nancy declared herself a moderate socialist all her life even if she always managed to sell her aristocratic origins and live from them.
The Pursuit of Love was published in 1945 and is the first book of a trilogy narrated by a certain Fanny about her cousins, belonging to the Radlett, an English aristocratic family. The book takes place in the period between the two world wars.
Partially autobiographical, this novel tells of how Louisa, the eldest of the family’s daughters, gets engaged to a lord older than her 20 years, while Linda falls in love with an heir of a banker who marries against the wishes of the family.
The following is called Love in a Cold Climate and focuses on the story of Polly belonging to another family of distant relatives of the narrator Fanny. Polly is the daughter of an earl and a social climber born after 20 years of marriage. The novel begins when Polly returns to England after years in India and begins attending high society. The book is filled with quirky characters and humorous descriptions.
The third book Don’t tell Alfred published in 1960 instead tells the life of the narrator Fanny and her husband who had been appointed British ambassador to France. Another Nancy Mitford novel not belonging to the trilogy is called The Blessing and was published in 1951 and it’s about an English girl who moves to France for the love of a man who likes other women a bit too much. Nancy Mitford writes in a simple and crispy way and her books are still a pleasure to read.