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4.4 out of 5 stars36
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 September 2006
I agree with both the two very different reviewers here, but would like to add that the writing is sublime, and the emotions completely heartfelt, especially the end of Linda's story. Yes, the family is aristocratic, snobbish and enamoured of hunting, but they're also loving, witty and close ranks whenever anyone tries to prise them apart - so they're not all bad! This is one of those books that you can return to again and again (I had to buy the hardback edition because of that!) and it's still magical, moving and funny.
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on 22 November 2000
My favourite book since I was twelve. Follow the fortunes of an eccentric English aristocratic country family whose father - "Fa" buys a new car whenever he thinks they are having a financial crisis. The children are obsessed by sex and discuss it endlessly in the "Hon's cupboard" - the only warm place in the house. This book has littered my whole life with quotes and is so well-thumbed it is positively dog-eared and has been dropped in the bath endlessly. Just get yourself a copy - it will be a friend for life.
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on 25 August 2008
I remember Nancy Mitford's novels being read avidly by girls at school but I never got round to reading them until now. I am not sure what my teenage self would have made of them but I'm certainly glad that I've caught up with this extraordinary writer.

Although set in a time and society that is distant to most of us, there is an enchanting freshness and immediacy about these stories. They are simply buzzing with charm and wit. The first of the novels, "In Pursuit of Love", has its strength in the characterisation with two of the most hilarious but utterly believable characters I have ever encountered: the bluff Uncle Matthew and the marvellous "Bolter". Almost every line from these two is priceless. "Love in a Cold Climate" continues with the same narrator and characters and is a far more polished work in terms of structure and plot.

The final novel in this collection, "The Blessing", was perhaps the one I enjoyed most of all, its central theme being the culture clash when an English Rose marries a dashing Frenchman.

My only criticism of this edition of these novels is that, while this collection offers good value for money, the print is a little small to read. In addition, I read the three novels one after another which was rather like having three stiff Gin & Tonics in a row: maybe a little too much of a good thing!
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on 20 March 2011
Technically `Love in a Cold Climate' is a sequel to the wondair (those of you who love Mitford will know what I mean) `The Pursuit of Love'. Told once again through the eyes of Fanny who narrated its predecessor we follow the story of the beautiful and perfect Polly Hampton from their childhood friendship, through to their `coming out'(no, not that sort) and onto a rather scandalous relationship that she then embarks upon. As this all goes on we are once again given an insight into the society of the 1930's between the wars. Women's roles are still to be somewhat submissive and the aim of a lady's life is to find a suitable husband, it does seem odd to think that this was actually not that long ago.

It has been said, including by the authors sister who writes the introduction to my edition, that `Love in a Cold Climate' was very much a rather autobiographical fictional piece. Uncle Matthew being very much like Nancy's father and the children seeming to have all the traits of her sisters even down to the gang they called `The Hons'. What I love about all of Nancy's writing (and I have also been reading the letters between her and Evelyn Waugh alongside) is her sense of humour. Some may find the setting rather twee or even irritating as she describes the naivety of the children, which soon becomes hilarious cheek and gossip, and the pompous nature of the adults in the society that Fanny and Polly frequent, I myself haven't laughed so much at a book in quite some time.

The characters are clearly caricatures of people Nancy knew or had met in passing, from Fanny's mother `The Bolter' who is mentioned through gossip often as a salacious lady who bolted from husband to husband, to Polly's highly dramatic mother Lady Montdore and the wonderful if slightly disturbing Boy Dougdale also referred to as `The Lecherous Lecturer'. That this book is based so much on real people and how society worked in the 1930's I find fascinating and should interest any of you who want to know more about that period in history.
Though it might not be to everyone's taste I do urge anyone who hasn't read Nancy Mitford to give her a try. If you like your books full of humour, crazy characters and some bittersweet moments thrown in then you simply can't go wrong. In fact with the current craze for shows such as Downton Abbey this would be just the thing. A perfect read for when you need laughter and escapism. I loved it.
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VINE VOICEon 29 May 2008
After many years since first reading Love in a Cold Climate, meeting Nancy Mitford's beguiling, hilarious, characters again, is a laughter fest. Surprises there are midst the intrigue. Who could forget the unexpected transformation of posh, stuffy, Lady Montdore by zany, camp, Cedric Hampton? Or charming, lecherous, womaniser Boyd Douglas, who is much more than he seems to be. This Penguin edition is particularly good value with the inclusion of In Pursuit of Love, and The Blessing, three of Nancy Mitford's memorable novels. For night owls they won't cure insomnia, they will though captivate, make you laugh, and make wish there were more. Which there are, if you search Amazon.
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on 26 March 2010
I read Nancy Mitford's four most famous novels when I was young, and enjoyed them immensely, but over the years began to regard them as "light" (in the pejorative sense) mainly because that's what even many of her fans say. Reading biographies by Selina Hastings and Laura Thompson encouraged me to pick up the first two novels again, and what struck me this time round is how extremely well-written they are. Nancy may not be weighty, but at this stage of her career there is nothing inferior about her style. "Love in a Cold Climate" is a tour de force, where almost every word counts.

Laura Thompson makes the point that Nancy's books were hugely successful in France precisely because they were light. In Anglo-Saxon culture "light" is what you do when you can't do "heavy". In French culture lightness is a quality to be admired, not denigrated. I love it. I can't quite see how anyone could read the description of Lady Montdore curtseying before royalty and not be utterly seduced by Nancy Mitford's comic genius.

The one weakness in the book is Fanny, or rather her completely unconvincing marriage. We are told how perfect Alfred is, and then we meet this charmless, whingeing bore of a husband, who never has a good word to say. A reflection, perhaps, on the lack of domestic love in Nancy's own life.

But hey, I can forgive this. I laughed throughout the rest.

I suspect that people who have a problem with this book are stuck in a 60s time warp, and believe it is morally necessary to loathe the upper classes, even infra dig to have a sense of humour about them.

I don't agree with the PC merchants: I would rather laugh with Nancy Mitford than feel worthy while emoting with John Osborne.
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on 25 March 2011
Like Agatha Christie's stories, Nancy Mitford takes us back to a wonderful and now sadly lost chapter in British history when the world moved at a far slower pace and cigarettes didn't harm you.
This story oozes with her now famous quirky humour focussed on the British aristocracy, of which she was a part of. Today, perhaps Nancy could be parallelled with someone like Tara Palmer Thompkinson as the IT girl of the 1920's and 1930's; and would be very well placed.
Everyone should read at least one Nancy Mitford book in their lifetime, if not all of them; knockout!
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on 18 March 2011
I have only just embarked on this read, but felt I should make it clear for other readers that this version is Nancy Mitford's trilogy, In Pursuit of Love,Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing, in one book. I don't think this is obvious from the details supplied,am now looking forward to a longer read than expected!From the first few pages I am hooked.
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on 23 January 2012
This one-star rating is not for the books which are superb but instead intended as a word of warning for anyone wishing to purchase the Kindle edition of them. I thought I could trust a Penguin edition but there are literally hundreds of typos, many of which are due I think to words colliding over what would have been a printed page break - it appears that Penguin have just done a very lazy cut and paste job from page to Kindle and not even bothered with proofing before publishing the Kindle edition. I don't mind a few errors here and there but these regularly interrupted and so ruined the reading experience. It became so irritating that I began to highlight them so if anyone from Penguin reads this and wants a list of most of the mistakes, just let me know!
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on 24 December 2012
Thoughly enjoyed this,
but won't be searching out any more Nancy Mitford,
lacking in content, once is definitely more than enough.
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