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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 October 2015
There are no surviving Mitford sisters, the last, the youngest, Deborah (Deborah Devonshire) having passed away in 2014. What a diverse family they were, Unity, rebellious and keen to shock, a close friend of Hitler, Jessica a socialist and one time active member of the American Communist party, Deborah, Conservative and married to Andrew Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House, Diana married fascist leader Oswald Mosley, Pamela, first marriage to Bryan Guinness, second to physicist Professor Derek Jackson and Nancy, prolific writer, flirted with socialism and fascism before becoming a Gaullist and ardent Francophile. They all had several pet names for one another, here are just a few: Unity: Bobo, Boudle. Deborah: Debo, Hen. Jessica: Decca, Boud. Nancy: Dame, Soo, Naunce(ling). Pamela: Pam, Woo, Wooms Woman. Diana: Cord(uroy), Bodley.

The letters cover over 800 pages and it is a book you can dip into, reading various periods of history. The letters from Unity all bear the symbol of the swastika in this printed diary. An example from 29 March 1939 Unity to Diana: I had lunch with the Fuhrer on Sunday and Monday & he asked me to send you viele grusse [best wishes]. Both days he was in his sweetest mood particularly on Monday, he held my hand most of the time & looked sweet & said 'Kind [child]!' in his sympathetic way because he was so sorry about England and Germany being such enemies. However he said nothing but wonderful things about England...' There are many letters going into detail about meetings with Hitler and other high ranking people by Unity and Diana.

Interestingly, and given all the speculation that has existed concerning Unity Mitford shooting herself in the head: Letter dated 10 May 1941 Unity to Jessica, '...so I can explain it to you. You know I got shot in the head. . . ' Unity would never lie to her sisters so here she is stating that she was shot, not that she shot herself.

A very absorbing read all the way through, eye-opening in many places.
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on 27 January 2012
Full marks to Charlotte Mosley ! She has done an excellent job here. One gathers she only used 5% of the available material but she seems to have extracted the juice with most of the zest discarding peel, pith and pips. Not only this but she has provided a useful introduction and divided the hefty volume into nine chapters each preceded by an equally informative précis of the sisters' lives in the appropriate historical context. Access to family photographs has been granted and a good selection have been reproduced along with photostats of contemporary articles and magazine covers.The letters themselves are coded with signs of authorship (eg. a coronet for Deborah; a swastica for Unity) to make it easier to follow one particular trail. This all greatly adds to one's enjoyment and makes for a very digestable book.

One could read the book from cover to cover or dip into it according to one's fancy, if already with more than a superficial knowledge of this rather special family. There is a huge amount of social history packed into these letters, yet often so personal and so poignant. I am particularly struck how Unity (or Boud) writes about her friendship with Herr Hitler : nobody (unless Albert Speer) has done more to humanise him for posterity. I am not altogether certain that he deserves this favour.
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I love the novels of Nancy Mitford and have also enjoyed her non-fiction work. I was selecting a copy of The Pursuit of Love for a friend's birthday and a lady in the queue behind me asked me if I had read this book. She said it was a wonderful book for dipping in and out of. I bought it.

It is a wonderful book for dipping in and out of. Its eight hundred pages of letters between the six Mitford sisters, spanning eighty odd years is just right when you have the odd minute here or there. Or, like me, you could start reading like that and then get so hooked that you lug it around with you everywhere, devouring every last syllable and not being able to put it down. It was totally fascinating.

This is a eulogy to a time long gone and a unique social history which is told with wit, verve, passion, pathos and huge amounts of humour. The sisters' eccentric and unique personalities shine through with every line and it is just a total delight.

What I found particularly fascinating were the letters between Diana and Unity in the early thirties when Unity was in Germany as an avid fan of Hitler and Diana was a staunch supporter of her husband Oswald Mosley and his right wing politics. Not views I endorse, but nonetheless a completely different and compelling view of a turbulent and challenging time.

The letters have been well chosen and edited by family member Charlotte Mosley, a daunting task given that the sisters wrote to each other constantly, and the introductory pages and the use of well chosen photographs make this an extremely readable and comprehensive book.
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on 4 January 2010
Mosley has the fortunate link to the Mitford sisters which as well as giving her access to the raw material gives her a great understanding of the sisters, the complexities of their lives and why they all developed in the way they did. The choice of letters is good and the pace of the book sufficient to keep you moving through it, but there is no hiding that it is a long book and for many people that will put them off before they start - perhaps issuing it as a couple of volumes might have helped with that. However it is worth starting, because you won't want to put it back down...

An ideal christmas present as it is definitely a long lunch / roaring log fire / crisp walk / good book scenario - worth buying.
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on 14 December 2016
A fascinating book, sometimes very funny. For anyone who remembers the 1930s, parts make your blood run cold, but at the same time provoke feelings of nostalgia. I was left with a deep admiration for the duchess.
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on 8 June 2016
Very very interesting but just a Few too many letters included. The explanations before each section were very helpful. I particularly enjoyed the most recent letters which relate to events happening which I remember. It's worth persevering.
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on 10 October 2015
Brilliant letters that let you straight into the heart of the sisters and their wildly different and often awful views! Fascinating and laugh out loud funny. They all write a dream
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on 16 March 2017
Great read- the Mitfords are fascinating
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on 1 April 2015
A good and entertaining read. Have read the book by Debo Devonshire 'Wait for me' and this book made an interesting read giving a different slant to the same period of time.
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on 5 July 2017
As described.
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