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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family [Paperback]

Mary S Lovell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
Price: 11.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 May 2003
This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the world wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; beautiful Diana married the Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley; and Unity, a close friend of Hitler, shot herself in the head when England and Germany declared war. The Mitfords had style and presence and were mercilessly gifted. Above all, they were funny hilariously and mercilessly so. In this wise, evenhanded, and generous book, Mary Lovell captures the vitality and drama of a family that took the twentieth century by storm and became, in some respects, its victims."

Frequently Bought Together

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family + The House of Mitford + Hons and Rebels: Hons & Rebels
Price For All Three: 26.43

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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (20 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324143
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary S. Lovell was an accountant and company director until she began writing in 1980 following a serious riding accident which left her temporarily disabled. Now an internationally acclaimed biographer, she has written best selling biographies of Beryl Markham, Amelia Earhart, Cynthia Pack, Jane Digby, Sir Richard and Isabel Burton, the Mitford sisters and Bess of Hardwick. Her latest biography is a family saga of the Churchills. Her books have been translated into foreign language editions, in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Danish and Finnish. Her biography of Amelia Earhart was made into a movie starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere in 2010, and she has three further titles optioned for film treatments. Until 2011 she often led reader groups interested in Jane Digby around Syria to follow in the exciting footsteps of this favourite subject of hers. She has recently completed promotional tours in the USA and UK, and is now working on the final chapters of her first novel.

Product Description


The Mitfords' stories have been told over and over again, but.... Lovell, utilizing previously unseen documents, explores the relationships between the sisters... and presents the utter 'fun' of this privileged but madcap family. --Allen Weakland"

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Sydney Bowles was fourteen years old when she first set eyes on David Freeman Mitford. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Introduction 7 May 2007
I don't like biographies; but I absolutely adored this book, it covers a huge subject - the lives of 6 remarkable women spanning much of the 20th Century. Mary Lovell has researched their lives and manages to convey the story wonderfully. Obviously because of the constraints of how large a book can actually be there maybe more detailed, individual biographies out there but I think this is a great place to start - it certainly has set me on the path to finding out as much as I can about these women who lived such glorious lives right at the forefront of history.

To give you a little taster there is:

Nancy - the famous author, in love with an aloof Frenchman.

Diana - the glamorous beauty who left her husband for the head of the British Nazi party (Oswald Moseley) and spent much of the second world war sleeping under a fur coat in a dank prison cell.

Decca - who ran off to fight on the communist side in the Spanish Civil & later became a prominent member of the Black civil rights movement in America.

Unity who fell in love with Hitler and tried to kill herself on the day war was declared between Britain and Germany. Hitler himself organised her return to Britain.

Debo - who declared when she was 6 that she wanted to be a Duchess and is the current dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

Pam - the farmer, my only complaint about this otherwise wonderful book is that Pam really gets very little coverage.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Auntie Lovell diapproves 4 Mar 2006
By Luiza
If you've read "Hons and Rebels" first and then, curious about what happened next, pick up this tome, you're in for a nasty fall. Obviously, not everyone can be a Decca in wit and style but Lovell's book is, to quote Decca once more, "'Woman's Own' writing". On the upside, it's meticulously researched and draws on a wealth of previously inaccessible material, most of all private letters. So if you're simply interested in the facts about the entire family, this is, unfortunately, the only place to go. But the bland style and moralistic tut-tutting about Decca (hardly ever about Diana, the unrepentent Nazi) is annoying to say the least. I couldn't agree more with the other reviewers who pointed out that Lovell is clearly biased towards Diana and against Decca. The whole book is, inadvertently, an example of what Decca in "Hons and Rebel" calls "disapproving auntism". Lovell is a disapproving auntie and that shines through on every page.
Four stars for the research job but one, at most, for the judgmental author who doesn't begin to be a match to her fascinating subjects.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A stinker 22 Sep 2007
Like reading the Daily Mail Sunday Magazine the very opposite of Mitford esque (light sharp and witty)writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sisters 17 Nov 2010
An excellent read and quite well written. Exhaustive research has been carried out and the book is a sympathetic and amusing account of the life of the Mitford family
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