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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

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"Oh, the horror of love!" Nancy Mitford once exclaimed to her sister Diana Mosley.

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
she a
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 12th 2012 by Pegasus (first published January 1st 2011)
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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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
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