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on 1 February 2017
Wow! Extremely pleased with this Penguin edition of Nancy Mitfords complete novels. It's lovely to have them all in one neat package. Biting, observant, insightful and extremely witty-a must read. The cover is glorious too!
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on 14 March 2017
Thoroughly entertaining read about how the other half lived in the 20's to the 50's.
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Nancy Mitford wrote eight novels in all; often split into her `pre war' and `post war' novels. This collection contains them all: Highland Fling (1931), Christmas Pudding (1932), Wigs On the Green (1935), Pigeon Pie (1940), The Pursuit of Love (1945), Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Afred (1960). The pre and post war novels are very different and, also, both the first two novels and the final four, although stand alone books, share characters. So it is nice to read them all in the order they were written in.

The first two novels, "Highland Fling" and "Christmas Pudding" are light hearted romantic comedies.
The first involves a house party and a generation clash between the older members and the `Bright Young Things'. Christmas Pudding sees author Paul Fotheringay staying, undercover, at the house of Lady Bobbin to write an unauthorised biography of one of her ancestors. The third pre-war novel is "Wigs on the Green", a satirical look of the rise of fascism in 1930's Europe. Of course, Nancy Mitford was well placed to cast her sharp eye on events - her sister Diana was married to Oswald Mosley and her sister Unity, infamously, flirted with fascism. This book was much edited, but still caused a huge family rift and, wisely, Mitford left it out of print after the war - where it remained for over seventy five years. It is interesting to read, but her least successful novel in my opinion. Pigeon Pie, written during the early months of WWII, sees her back on more assured ground with a comedy, in which Lady Sophia Garfield uncovers a nest of German spies.

Doubtless, the war changed Mitford. For one thing, she fell desperately in love. Her masterpiece, The Pursuit of Love was published in 1945 and dedicated to her lover, Gaston Palewski (read The Horror of Love if you are interested in discovering more). This novel introduces Fanny, who features in three of her last novels and is linked to characters in all four of her post war books. The Pursuit of Love follows Fanny's cousin Linda and her love affairs - including that of French aristocrat Fabrice Sauveterre. Both this and the following Love in a Cold Climate are more mature, slightly darker and wonderfully written. Love in a Cold Climate again features Fanny narrating - this time the central character is Polly Hampton, as heiress who makes an unsuitable marriage.

The Blessing is more of a stand alone, although characters are linked to the previous two books. We read of Grace, daughter of Sir Conrad Allingham, and her marriage to Charles-Edouard de Valhubert (a relative of Fabrice Sauveterre). Son Sigi is `the Blessing' of the title, who uses his parents marital difficulties to his own advantage. In the last novel, Don't Tell Alfred, Fanny takes centre stage, when husband Alfred becomes Ambassador to Paris. This novel deals with the generation gap again, as Fanny's sons cause all kinds of problems for her, with strange Teddy Boy clothes and bizarre tastes in philosophy and music.

These books really are a delight. Although they are funny and charming and written with great humour, they are never sentimental. Mitford has a wicked, often cruel, sense of humour and a shar and satirical eye. She wrote of the world she knew, in all its absurdity and was not afraid to lampoon herself, friends and family. Nobody should be a reader and not know Uncle Matt, the Bolter and hypochondriac Davey. If you are coming to these novels for the first time I envy you - utterly enjoyable and completely unforgettable.
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on 7 May 2014
A lost voice really. Her family partly notorious because of Nazi leanings but these novels satirise that and anyway give a glimpse of an aristocracy which is now hidden but still extant. Again a present. There is a lot of lost love in the novels but anyone looking at the period could read therm with profit. A great contrast to the slightly better stories of the Austrian Torberg.
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on 28 December 2012
I adore Mitford,her wit and charm make you forget the pain and suffering in her narrative tales until it is too late and your heart breaks shortly after laughing. So beautifully English and so of the period. Although less admired than her peer and friend Waugh she deserves equally the amount of praise and affection.
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on 1 October 2013
Great having all the books together but warning VERY SMALL TYPE..Better to buy them all separately Also very heavy even though paperback
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on 6 September 2014
I had read "The Pursuit of Love" & thoroughly enjoyed it so I got the complete novels, basically to read "Love in a Cold Climate" & see what the rest were like. "Love" was also very good & "Don't tell Alfred" was good if you liked the other two but not in the same class. I haven't read all the others yet but, while they are an enjoyable read & I am glad I have them, they are nothing particularly special. If you disapprove of the Mitfords & can't take their attitudes & lifestyle this not for you! ( Actually Nancy was caricaturing it while making the point that it wasn't all bad. )
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on 3 January 2015
I'm a huge fan of Nancy Mitford's novels, which I've read to rags in paperback over the years. This collection of her novels is great value as it's about twice the price of one of them in this format. They are so witty and sharp, sometimes shocking to a modern eye, and packed with great characters and scandalous goings on. You can follow the characters through some of the novels which is always enjoyable.
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on 13 August 2014
This is a superb compilation of the novels of Nancy Mitford. Nancy Mitford writes with scintillating wit and brilliance, acutely observing the absurd pretensions and delusions of the British "upper middle classes" in the period between the First and Second World War. As a writer, she ranks alongside Wodehouse and Waugh, although she is not quite so well known these days.
One of Nancy Mitford's better known works is "Noblesse Oblige" but it is not a novel and so, rather disappointingly, does not feature in this compendium.
Overall, this collection is excellent value for money and a delightful journey into the acid mind of one of the most amusing women of the 20th Century.
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on 12 September 2013
Probably not ideal to have any compilation on an old Kindle as it was too tedious to skip through and so ended up reading in the order of printing (as it were). The introductions quite often gave away the plot, so by the third book, I stopped reading them. The content of the works are entertaining as expected and very interesting from a socially historic point of view.
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