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The Pursuit of Love [Paperback]

Nancy Mitford , ZoŽ Heller
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Nov 1999
Childhood at Alconleigh is scanty preparation for the realities of the outside world and Linda, sweetest and most aimless of the young Radletts, falls prey to a stuffy banker and a rabid communist before she finds her ideal in a Frenchman . . .

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Impression edition (25 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140007113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140007114
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Mitford was born in London on November 28 1904, daughter of the second Baron Redesdale, and the eldest of six girls. Her sisters included Lady Diana Mosley; Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire and Jessica, who immortalised the Mitford family in her autobiography Hons and Rebels. The Mitford sisters came of age during the Roaring Twenties and wartime in London, and were well known for their beauty, upper-class bohemianism or political allegiances. Nancy contributed columns to The Lady and the Sunday Times, as well as writing a series of popular novels including The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, which detailed the high-society affairs of the six Radlett sisters. While working in London during the Blitz, Nancy met and fell in love with Gaston Palewski, General de Gaulle's chief of staff, and eventually moved to Paris to be near him. In the 1950s she began writing historical biographies - her life of Louis XIV, The Sun King, became an international bestseller. Nancy completed her last book, Frederick the Great, before she died of Hodgkin's disease on 30 June 1973.

Product Description


Utter, utter bliss (Daily Mail) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which according to the author, is largely autobiographical. After the war she moved, with her husband, to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed the success of The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949) The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Alfred (1960), published together in Penguin as The Nancy Mitford Omnibus. She also wrote four works of biography; Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Not just an evocation of a lost way of life, but of a lost people - not all of them nice people, but all hugely entertaining. Nancy Mitford is one of the most gifted comic novelists ever to put pen to paper and her talent for characterisation is without equal. So funny you'll cry laughing, but sweet and understandable too. Every teenage girl should read this - they'll understand what the girls in the novel are going through. Everyone else should read it anyway, because it's just so fab.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Pursuit of Love is the 1st in the trilogy written by Nancy Mitford (the 2nd being Love in a Cold Climate and the 3rd Don't Tell Alfred).

Though Love in a Cold Climate is more famous and well-known, I think The Pursuit of Love is the best of the two novels. I found The Pursuit of Love extremely witty, very entertaining and roaring of laughter-funny. It very quickly became one of my favourite novels due to Nancy Mitford's very unique writing style and her exteremly lovable peculiar characters.

I especially loved the first half, when they were children, the picture Nancy Mitford drew of their growing up at Alconleigh with Uncle Matthew's booming voice, always hollering, with Linda's romantic fantasies and crying depression (her suicide attempt after her dog died, I know it should be sad, but that was one part I roared with laughter, it sounded so melodramatic coming from a child of 6 years or so :-D), so that part was such a hilarious, sarcasticly funny in a very realistic and English way.

Then when they were adults and lived their lives with their own husbands, families it became more of a drama, but Linda's character was very entertaining. She is like a butterfly flying from one flower to the other, always seeking the sun(=happily ever after love). She lived in a completely parallel, fantasy world of her own, she was as if she did not have one foot on the ground, head in the clouds, she was as far from reality as one could be.

Then the end.. great end. It suited the book, and left me with a lingering feeling.

Nancy Mitford's writing style is very unique and highly enjoyable. Her dry wit and sarcastic humour reminded me sometimes of Jane Austen, the way she made fun of some of her ridiculous characters (Mrs. Elton in Emma, Mr.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This brilliant book has been so carelessly converted to etext that the Kindle version is full of errors and will make you weep with frustration as you try to discern Mitford's prose through a haze of typos. This ebook is not of marketable quality and is definitely not worth paying£6.99 for. I suggest we should stick to old-fashioned paper books for now, until this has been sorted out.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget Bridget Jones.....Nancy was there first 24 Nov 2002
While our bookstores are still overrun with "girly" bridget jones (I am single and can't find love) like dribble. This is the classic girl book. Set in England in the aristocratic circles the story is about a girl who is indeed in the pursuit of love. For people who have read Hons and Rebels Jessica Mitford's memoir , family life in Nancy's book seems to have a lot in common with the real thing. The pursuit of love is sparkeling ,funny ,sweet and a delight too read. Leave that commercial nonsense at your bookstore and read a classic! Enjoy.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The star of the show is Uncle Matthew, a man totally sure of himself and his place in the world, yet totally without arrogance or pretensions. He rules over the house with a rod of iron while his children and quasi adopted niece, Fanny (see also Don't Tell Alfred and Love in a Cold Climate) continually try the great man's patience. He has a view on everything and will not listen to contray opinions yet is intensely lovable as well. The sadness with which he is described as bring in tears after his only outing to the theatre to see Rome and Juliet is offset by his ludicrous criticisms "why did they have to die, the silly fools?". He mistrusts all foreigners having only ever ventured to France once, that being in 1914 and with purposes other than leisure on his mind. When the Kroesigs descend on his house prior to his daughter's marriage to their eldest, he is beside himself with paranoia as to what dirty tricks they might commit under his roof. When Davey blows the lights on their arrival the scene which ensues is undoubtedly one of the funniest ever written in English. His opinions of the Kroesigs can't possibly fall any lower, they have already disgusted him by their bourgeois manners and discussed such things as books "i don't read" and gardening at the diner table, but the next day he discovers that they eat breakfast in bed. This is the last straw, an affront to a man of action like Uncle Matthew, who rises at 5 and is out checking on his animals. He is rude "it's that hog, Merlin on the phone" he shouts to his wife without any attempt to conceal his contempt for Lord Merlin by covering the mouthpiece. Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do We Marry for Love, or for "All This?" 25 Jan 2012
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"The Pursuit of Love," is among the most widely-read novels written by blue-blooded British author Nancy Mitford who was very popular in the earlier twentieth century. If you consider England between first and second world wars, few girls were as famous as the Mitfords, five beautiful daughters of a well-known upper class "county family" as you British would probably still call them. Nancy, writer of the family, knew her debutante balls well. In fact, she later came up with a way to define English social class by defining speech as "U"for upper class; and "non-U" for those who weren't.

The Mitford girls were "brought up to marry,not fall in love,"Nancy once wrote. Unfortunately, of the actual Mitford girls, only one did as she was expected to do. Deborah (Debo) married the eleventh Duke of Devonshire. Unity, however, hung around Germany, striking up warmer friendships with the Nazis, and expressing herself more forcefully in their support, than suited the British public. Diana went and married Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British fascists, who was "detained" for WWII. Jessica ran off to Hollywood, no less, took American citizenship, and wrote the whistle-blowing American Way of Death,a heavily influential indictment of the funeral business. Nancy did marry an "Honorable," but then she turned around and published "The Pursuit of Love," and Love in a Cold Climate (Penguin Modern Classics)two slender novels, only novella length really, that pretty well blew the whistle on society, and on the Mitfords.

For everyone agrees that the central family of these novels, the Radletts, are the Mitfords to the life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a great race
Very great fun and quite sad in the end. An interesting insight into a particular family and time of life.
Published 6 days ago by June Jurmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Made me laugh out loud at times! Well written very readable book
Published 12 days ago by Marie Dewson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this
How have I lived so long and not discovered Nancy Mitford before? I shall instantly download all her books. Brilliant. The writers of Downton must have her as a source.
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Published 1 month ago by mark in shropshire
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential read if you are to read Mitford's later novels..
I really enjoyed this book - I felt the style was between Evelyn Waugh and Jane Austen. The ending was rather a shock - to hear of Linda's demise in such a few sentences. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miss S. Gorton
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pursuit of Love Nancy Mitford
I loved the book and would have given it 5 stars. However the French phrases were incomprehensible to me and I had to look them up which was annoying. Read more
Published 2 months ago by George's Mum
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pursuit of Love
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A friend asked if I had seen it and having missed it before, it was a pleasant surprise and a joy to catch up with my friends.
Published 2 months ago by MEG
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but perfectly formed novel
I'd heard of the famous Mitford sisters of course, but this is the first book by Nancy I've read and oh it was good. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mirren Jones, Author of 'Eight of Cups'
5.0 out of 5 stars poignant light with darkest undertones of the end of an era
Good charactérs an unfurling and unravelling of history role of women was just below everything that DI or did not happen
Published 3 months ago by Josie teasdale
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty but unremarkable
Throughout my reading of the 'The Pursuit of Love', I unfortunately felt consistently underwhelmed. The story of Linda's wavering journey through life, love and war is certainly... Read more
Published 4 months ago by LilacLemon
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