Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford // Book Review 2018


"There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us as children."



The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford // Well, where to begin.... This book was an absolute delight to read from start to finish. I'm so glad I enjoyed it after having an unsuccessful time with my previous book {you can read my review here}. One of my friends had spoken about this book last year and I ended up getting a copy from good old Santa Claus back in December... I've finally finished reading and I loved it. 

If you haven't heard of Nancy Mitford before, it would probably make sense to give you a little background to the author first, before I discuss her book. Nancy Mitford was a member of an aristocratic family in England back in the 1920s/30s who lived a notoriously glamorous life, and Nancy was known as one of the 'infamous' Mitford sisters. Nancy's novel is said to be based around her own exuberant and uncontrollable family, which makes for a hilarious read. I literally found myself laughing out loud at particular moments throughout the book, and the range of outrageous characters makes it memorable. I'm an absolute stickler for daft-country-manor-in-the-1930s genre anyway, and so this book was right up my street. 

We are first introduced to the colourful Radlett family by the narrator, Fanny, a cousin who is sent to live with the eccentric family after her own mother deserts her. Fanny's mother is referred to in the book as 'The Bolter' as she runs away from various marriages, leaving her children behind. Fanny is sent to live with her Aunt Sadie Radlett at their fancy country estate, Alconleigh. It is at Alconleigh where the readers meets a whole array of characters such as Uncle Matthew (the crazy patriarch who loves to stomp around the house, is obsessed with hunting and instantly angry at anything he perceives as foreign or 'anti-British'), Louise (the terribly boring, sensible, eldest daughter), Linda (the great beauty and hopeless romantic) and Jazzy (a sassy, younger daughter who is constantly saving up in order to run away from home). 

The book is called The Pursuit of Love and that's exactly what it's about. We follow Linda, through the eyes of Fanny, whose efforts to find love are the focus of the book. Linda spirals through various marriages and children, travels to Spain, travels to France, and eventually ends back home to London. Without giving too much away, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the different characters, particularly Linda who I found it very hard to dislike (she essentially becomes a 'Bolter' herself and even abandons her own child at one point because 'she is boring'). 

This book takes you on a hilarious adventure on the quest for true love, but there's something you should know... it is not a romance novel. I found it to be wonderfully touching at times but with some equally sad moments, particularly towards the end. If you end up reading this, prepare yourself for a relatively abrupt and dark ending that is very sad but realistic.... 

That's all I'll say for now folks! Let me know in the comments below your thoughts - have you read this book before? 

More soon,

Helen
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Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate it! Helen x

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