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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten era, 29 May 2007
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This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
This book takes you back to a time ,to our not so distant past,one without emails and text messages.To when letter writing was all and people took time to keep in touch with their friends.It reminded me how civilized letter writing was and how wonderful it is to receive a letter from a friend. I kept looking at the photographs on the front cover of the book, to help me set the scene in my mind of Heywood(who seemed quite handsome), writing his letters to Nancy in the bookshop and Nancy in her Paris appartment scribbling away her thoughts. It astounded me how many great people they both knew and how they spoke of them all so fondly. eg dinner with the Queen and princess Margaret. I know that when you are in certain circles, then your acquaintences are bound to be your peers but to Nancy and Heywood never give you the feeling that they would "Name Drop" as a celebrity of today might, whilst writing their memoirs. Some of the comments made me laugh out loud and the final pages of letters where Nancy is quite clearly in a lot of pain were very sad. I also thought it was horrid to read that HH and HB didn't attend her funeral.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Letters from a bygone age, 11 Jan. 2009
By 
A. Hope "bookcrossing ali" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
These letters from Nancy Mitford to her friend Heywood Hill come to us from a bygone era, from a time when people wrote letters, frequent chatty, gossipy, and sometimes bitchily funny. Heywood Hill, in his now famous shop in London, Nancy in her Parisian apartment, swap stories of people they both knew well, and some of them very famous names. These letters are often hilarious, and provide a wonderful insight into a really lovely friendship that survived several decades. Whenever I think of Nancy Mitford - I suppose like many people I immediately conjour up for myself images of the 1920's 1930's or 40's. But of course Nancy lived untill the 1970's and these letters dated from 1952 - 1973 puts Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill in a more modern world - and their occaisional horror at it is quite often very funny. For example: From NM Venice 1962 - "All the boys here wear a tiny wireless tucked in among their private parts - you wouldn't believe the din these things give out"
and From HH 1963:
"One of the reasons we took Lucy to Corfu is that her friend Jane Asher is in love with a Beatle and told Lucy she would produce another Beatle for her.....They did turn up but luckily the other Beatle was already mated with a Liverpudlian hairdresser" hilarious!!
I often found the reading of this wonderful book to be rather poignant, as I couldn't help but have a sense of time running out - for people like them (Heywood and Nancy) and their fragile world. Looking at the photograph of Heywood Hill in his bookshop in 1938 - looking very dishy -I wanted to jump into a little time machine and go back to these long ago days at 10 Curzon Street and rub shoulders with all the different people mentioned in the book.
This is a book I will probably buy numerous copies of - to give away as gifts. Simply wonderful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love for Nancy, 19 Dec. 2008
By 
Hugh R. Wright (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
Amazon should perhaps be cautious about stocking this book as it will likely make any reader long to return to independent booksellers! This slim, addictive book is a fascinating insight into what began as a professional relationship between bookseller and authoress-cum-business partner and developed over two decades into a charming, civilised and at times mischievous 'correspondence suivie' between two highly intelligent, highly intellectual writers. The charm of the book is amplified many times by the later revelation that the editor was, unbeknownst to him at the time, a vital protagonist in the drama played out over many years between Nancy Mitford, Heywood Hill and the employees and clients of his (and once, their) bookshop at 10 Curzon Street.

The only slight flaw of this collection is that the editor's footnotes are, at times, a little too succinct; it would be of use to the reader to have perhaps a little more biographical background on some of the persons mentioned in the letters who at the time of writing might have been widely known but today are not familiar names. Also, to any readers not familiar with Nancy Mitford's (and indeed, her sisters') unique nicknames and, if one dare call it such, slang, some clarifications might assist. But these are mere quibbles; for any fan of Nancy Mitford this book is a must and would be money exceedingly well spent, be that on Amazon or indeed at The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street which, happily, still exists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight, 8 April 2012
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
I love all things Mitford and this is one of many books about the Mitfords and their circle I have read. I think this helped a lot, as this slender volume does its best to set the scene and introduce you to the world that Nancy and Heywood Hill inhabited, but if I hadn't got a lot of the background already I think I really would have floundered here. The book is rather unevenly weighted, as there are far more of Nancy's letters to Heywood Hill surviving than those from Heywood to Nancy, but the editor does his best to fill in the gaps. I love the informality of their letters to each other, and the obvious fondness they had for each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the letters from Heywood about some of the characters and situations that unfold in the bookshop, and Nancy's obvious delight in them is palpable. It is interesting to trace her body of written work and through her letters, and the trouble she goes to research her subjects. Thoroughly enjoyable. Not for the beginner to the Mitford.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If You Love Nancy Mitford and Books You'll Love This, 28 Mar. 2012
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
I have to say initially `The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street' made me feel like a bit of a Mitford ignoramus. How did I have no idea that Nancy Mitford had owned part of a bookshop when I am such a fan? I had a good think about it and a vague memory came to me from `Letters Between Six Sisters' that she does actually mention working in one. 10 Curzon Street was that bookshop and though she owned it in some part for some time and it became known as `Nancy Mitford's Bookshop' the owner was actually Heywood Hill (which sounds like a place but is in fact a man). This book is a collection of edited snippets of their correspondence through two decades, an utter joy for a Mitford fan like me.

Being a writer, a lover of literature and having worked in a bookshop Nancy Mitford makes an interesting correspondent to start with. Throw in her wit and the fact that she mingled in some of the most interesting society in London and Paris as a Mitford sister and you have insight into so many worlds, written in such a way that you cannot help be fascinated whilst smiling wryly. Who else read and yet knew Evelyn Waugh, and many other authors of the times, so well? Apparently Heywood Hill as it goes, close friend of Nancy and the likes of Ivy Compton Burnett, and so the sparing of these two literary lovers, who also happen to be at the heart of the literary world at the time, is any book lovers dream.

`It's like with Mr Maugham who calls me Nancy and I always feel I can't get out Willie... Oh for an amusing novel - no not Henry Green, not yet at least. How I wish I could get on with Miss Compton Burnett but it's my blind spot. So I plod on with St. Simon, such a nice readable edition, Racine, which, on account of the notes, is as good as Punch.'

My one slight issue with the book is that whilst it is called `letters between' it's actually very much `edits of letters between - with notes'. None of the full letters actually appear in the book, it's very much just tasters of the best bits. The positive of this of course is that we get the highlights, yet unlike having read so many of her full letters Nancy Mitford could describe walking to the shop or some other every day event in an immensely readable and funny way, it seemed a shame these day to day comments were cut. It also annoyed me and yet intrigued me to read John Saumarez Smith's notes and the regular mention of a collection of Mitford's letters called `Love from Nancy' when he didn't include them, I wanted to read them there and then but alas don't own them, which of course needs to be rectified. I liked the highlights as I said, yet I wanted more and not just simply the snippets we get. You read a bit and want the rest.

`...I would like a book plate, simply Nancy Mitford like the Baskerville Bible title pages, lots of squiggles. Could you ponder...?'
`...Oh isn't it lovely [the bookplate]... Can we start with 500 or do I have to stoke up for life? Goodness what a sticking and licking there'll be - yes please, gum...'

That aside I think John Saumarez Smith does a good job with editing this collection of letters. He explains the background behind Nancy and Heywood's interesting relationship as business partners (`do let's divorce' Nancy wrote at one time) and thanks to a great introduction, best read after you have finished the book as always I think, plus footnotes and commentary between some of the letters to explain what was going on in Nancy or Heywood's life, we get more insight into the underlying tones of the words and where some of the in jokes, which are never too exclusive, are directed.

I came away feeling I knew Nancy Mitford all the more, well as much as anyone can ever know one of their sadly deceased icons, through these letters of a friendship that lasted decades. Best of all there were times when certain things she wrote particularly struck a chord with me and that can be a rarity and feels all the more special in the instances where it happens.

`You know my flat and now there's not room for another bookcase. Every month I give at least 20 books to "the students" who come for them with a sack - many French writers now send me their books, with fulsome dedicaces all of which go in the sack! Unread of course...'

I really, really, really enjoyed `The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street', being a fan of all things Mitford it bowled me over far more than Helene Hanff's '84 Charing Cross Road' which I enjoyed but actually now think is slightly inferior to this collection of letters (though that is more personal taste and love of Nancy) and deserves to be as well read frankly. If you are a lover of the Mitford's, and Nancy in particular, then you simply must read this book. I would also strongly suggest any lover of books to give this one a whirl; though maybe try a Mitford novel first for a flavour of the style of wit you are getting, as she might not be for everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another facet of Nancy Mitford, 15 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
This was so interesting. I have read very many books by and about the Mitford family but we all show different personas to different people - friends, family, work etc. And this is Nancy, with a friend, away from the confines of being "a Mitford" (if she ever was). Very interesting
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book, 21 Sept. 2009
This review is from: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973 (Paperback)
No issues with this item it arrived when the supplier indicated it will in good condition.
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