I’ve been doing some Mitford reading in the last year. Always a joy! A friend once told me that you can tell a huge amount about a person if you know which is their favourite Mitford sister. Well, my favourite is Nancy, because she was the finest writer. I’d be very worried if any of you chose Unity as your favourite! J.K. Rowling admired Jessica Mitford so much, she named her own daughter after her. Another friend loves Debo best, while some admit to a sneaking admiration for Diana. Which is your favourite of the extraordinary sisters?
I’ve been reading some of Nancy’s early novels – Pigeon Pie, Christmas Pudding and Highland Fling. They were all pleasant reads, but not in the same class as her masterpieces, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. I also enjoyed two novels about Nancy’s time working at Heywood Hill bookshop in London (a gorgeous shop, which always stocks an excellent range of Mitford books) – they were Eliza Knight’s The Mayfair Bookshop: Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness and Michelle Gable’s The Bookseller’s Secret. And there’s the on-going series by Jessica Fellowes’ series of crime novels, featuring the various Mitford sisters in turn. The one that focusses on Nancy is The Mitford Murders (2017). All nice books to read, but all fairly forgettable.
You might like to treat yourself to a Mitford binge in 2023, read some of the wonderful biographies and listen to Nancy’s two fabulous books on audio – so wonderfully clever and funny!
Late last November I had the pleasure of hosting a joint event with jewellery historian Adrian Dickens. Together we presented an entertaining evening at Woollahra Library on ‘Debo Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire, and her Jewels’ which proved hugely popular. So much so, we were even booked out!
Susannah Fullerton: Nancy Mitford & Love in a Cold Climate
Susannah Fullerton: Nancy Mitford is born
Susannah Fullerton: Nancy Mitford dies
Susannah Fullerton: Deborah Mitford and the Devonshire Jewels video talk
Susannah Fullerton: Diana Mitford is born
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
The Mayfair Bookshop: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness by Eliza Knight
The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable