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The Horror of Love: Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski in Paris and London
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The Horror of Love: Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski in Paris and London

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"Oh, the horror of love!" Nancy Mitford once exclaimed to her sister Diana Mosley.

Elegant and intelligent, Nancy was a reknowned wit and a popular author. Yet this bright, waspish woman, capable of unerring emotional analysis in her work gave her heart to a well-known philanderer who went on to marry another woman. Was Nancy that unremarkable thing—a deluded lover—or was s
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 12th 2012 by Pegasus (first published January 1st 2011)
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Apr 27, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a usual biography - it is the biography of a love affair between Gaston Palewski and Nancy Mitford. Gaston Palewski's family were originally from Poland, but he moved to France with an uncle after his father died. After that, he had a deep and emotional loyalty to France. Nancy Mitford immortalised Gaston as Fabrice de Sauveterre in "The Pursuit of Love" and, for twenty nine years, their relationship was the most significant in both of their lives.

This excellent and interesting book
Dec 18, 2011 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Horror of Love is a unique, fascinating addition to the Mitford cannon of books. It covers, in depth, some of the most interesting times and aspects of Nancy’s life, like her early love relationships, her involvement in helping victims of the Spanish civil war, her experiences in London during WWII and her life afterward in France. There is a lot more background on wartime and post-war Europe than I’ve seen in other Mitford books, and it’s packed with intriguing information about Gaston Palewski ...more
Aug 02, 2013 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Mitford Mania is well-documented and well-researched, so I opened this book with a hefty dose of realism for the fact that there might be nothing new here. I adore Nancy and all her prickly, sarcastic, strange tics. Her tragic love for the Colonel, her buoyant love for Paris -- I've read it all. The chapters on Gaston and the reams of De Gaulle (YAWN -- I'm sure he is riveting in another context, but here he is just monotonous) were fairly new, though I would have loved more dirt. What I did ...more
The Horror of Love is less a love story and more of a history of the Free French movement and of Charles De Gaulle and his most ardent supporter Gaston Palewski. Since I didn't want to read a book on De Gaulle's struggle to free France, this story had little appeal to me. I did gobble up any and all bits about Nancy and her eccentric and somewhat horrible family but Gaston and De Gaulle left me bored and frustrated, theirs was not the love story I wanted, I wanted the story I was promised in the ...more
Robyn Smith
Another Mitford book!, but fascinating nonetheless.
Nancy Mitford, acclaimed author (The Pursuit of Love) and lover of the good life, happened to fall in love with a womanising French politician, with Polish connections, Gaston Palewski, and managed her way through a minefield of treachery and betrayal on a personal level for over thirty years (hence the title)
Palewski and Mitford were both married to other people but their affair was common knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic and "their set
May 16, 2014 Luci rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you have read Mary Lowell's book on the Mitford sisters, this book makes a lot more sense. But the problem with that reading order is that it makes an unfair comparison. Lowell's book is a far more complete picture of Nancy. Also, at times, it seems like the political side of Gaston is filler for the story of he and Nancy, to the book's detriment. I didn't get much more out of this book than Gaston's politics but there were a few entertaining sections (Nancy and Gaston's view of the sixties a ...more
May 10, 2016 Pip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just read three of Nancy Mitford's books I thought this biography fascinating. What interesting lives the Mitfords lead! It is also the story of Gaston Palewski, who was General de Gaulle's right-hand man. Much of the politics of the Free French was vague in my mind and so I enjoyed having background information described from the viewpoint of one of its proponents. It was also interesting to see how much of the background to Nancy's books is autobiographical. I know intend to read The Mi ...more
Apr 25, 2013 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book sounded good on the jacket, BUT beware. You must be a Mitford aficionado before undertaking this. The author dives in assuming the reader is not just familiar, but deeply knowledgeable about both the Mitford family and their dramatic history (down to the relationship and histories or various cousins and inlaws), and Nan y Mitford's writing.
Characters both in real life and out of Nancys books are talked about without reference to who they actually are. Many times I found it hard to det
Bronwyn Mcloughlin
I will admit to a fascination with all things Mitford, and Nancy in particular. A well written examination of the relationship between de Gaulle's go to man and the bitingly cynical author as well an interesting exploration of society and especially marriage in England and France amongst a certain class. My only discontent is with the repeated assertions that despite his involvement with a rather large range of women apart from Nancy, especially towards the end of her life, there is an insistenc ...more
False Millennium
I've read just about everything published about "The Bright Young Things," and the Mitford family (and their associates.) This book tackles a not much discussed aspect of Nancy's life--that of her long love for Gaston Palewski. So many criticize her for not getting him out of her life. She was a successful writer, she was rich (from her own work,) she was independent (to a major degree,) and she was part of "the society of the world." But she lived in a different era, with different values. I do ...more
Oct 29, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book, both for anyone interested in European politics of the mid 20th Century and for those into the Mitfords and their world. I have read much about the Mitfords previously, but still found a lot of new material here. I was also pleased to be educated about France during and after WW2 and de Gaulle. If you're after a bit of romance, then you might be put off by all the politics and philosophy but at the heart of the book is a sad love story that has food for thought for all ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much, much better than I had thought it would be, although she falters a bit during the 1960s. In fact, they were more interesting apart than together, and she never really builds a case for them as a "couple" outside of their narrowly defined romance (narrowly defined by Palewski, anyway). But it was refreshing to read someone make the case that Mitford's view of the relationship was not "modern", and that she was personally satisfied by her life. I also liked the swipes at Diana.
Jan 26, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find the story very compelling (hence the four stars) but it would have been 5 stars if it had been better written. But I shouldn't complain, I'm glad the author wrote it, as I knew virtually nothing about Palewski before, so I learned a lot (and always find Nancy Mitford fascinating). An unusual love story, to the extent that it is one.
Really nice portrait of Nancy--I've always thought she was mistreated by some of her biographers and can't stand it when people try to tear her apart for denouncing Diana, who deserved everything she got (if not worse). I wish the book had been entirely Mitford-centric since the parts about Gaston and de Gaulle are dead boring.
Mar 25, 2013 Ginny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a longtime fan of books about the Mitfords, but this had too much about Palewski's military and political careers and too little about his relationship with Nancy Mitford to suit me.
Annie Garvey
Jul 02, 2013 Annie Garvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the end, is this a sad story? I'm not sure. I liked both Nancy and Gaston.
Might go back to this.
didn't finish.
Jill Southerland
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Oct 09, 2015 04:48PM  
  • Nancy Mitford: A Biography
  • Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
  • The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
  • Love from Nancy
  • Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford
  • A Life of Contrasts: An Autobiography
  • A Life in Letters
  • I, Hogarth: A Novel
  • Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel
  • A Great and Monstrous Thing: London in the Eighteenth Century
  • The House of Mitford
  • Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography
  • The Shadow Queen
  • My Own Story
  • Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds
  • The Diaries Of Evelyn Waugh
  • My East End: Memories of Life in Cockney London
Lisa Hilton is an author and biographer. She grew up in the north of England and read English at New College, Oxford, after which she studied History of Art in Florence and Paris. After eight years in New York, Paris and Milan she has recently returned to England and now lives in London with her husband and their daughter. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, the Evening Standard and the Telegrap ...more
More about Lisa Hilton...

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