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The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford

What they say:

Obsessed with sex!’ said Jassy, ‘there’s nobody so obsessed as you, Linda. Why if I so much as look at a picture you say I’m a pygmalionist.’

In the end we got far more information out of a book called Ducks and Duck Breeding.

‘Ducks can only copulate,’ said Linda, after studying this for a while, ‘in running water. Good luck to them.’

Oh the tedium of waiting to grow up! Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the look out for the perfect lover. But finding Mr Right is much harder than any of the sisters thought. Linda must suffer marriage first to a stuffy Tory MP and then to a handsome and humourless communist before finding real love in war-torn Paris . . .

The Pursuit of Love is one of the funniest, sharpest novels about love and growing up ever written.

 

What I say:

It is fitting that on a Blog page called ‘vintagefolly’, the first novel I will review should be one which came to acclaim in 1945.

This book was recommended to me by Sophie Dahl. Not personally you understand, but in a magazine interview!  I have gone on to read other title’s recommended by this fabulous lady and am yet to be disappointed.

This is a delicately written, emotionally intelligent and truly hilarious novel.  I thoroughly recommend it to you.

Mitford’s prose has that charming lilt of someone born in a different time; where responsibility, legacy and curiosity fuelled the actions of whole families.  The words she chooses and the exchanges she creates between the characters, remind me of old movies and yet the subjects remain sometimes painfully relevant today.

We meet the main characters in childhood and though their World of early 20th Century aristocracy may be dramatically different to the lives of most readers, by their adulthood they seem like old friends, such is Mitford’s talent.

It is difficult to review further without including ‘spoilers’.  I will end by saying that I defy any reader not to laugh at the wit, smile at the charm or cry at the honesty of this novel, at some point whilst reading.

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