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The Pursuit of Love (Radlett and Montdore #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  6,500 Ratings  ·  606 Reviews
Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love is one of the funniest, sharpest novels about love and growing up ever written. 'Obsessed with sex!' said Jassy, 'there's nobody so obsessed as you, Linda. Why if I so much as look at a picture you say I'm a pygmalionist.' In the end we got more information out of a book called Ducks and Duck Breeding. 'Ducks can only copulate,' said Lin ...more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Fig Tree (first published 1945)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 17, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Sketchbook
“Always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair they loved or they loathed, they lived in a world of superlatives.”

 photo NancyMitford_zpsd0569202.jpg
Nancy Mitford, unlucky in love, like many of her heroines.

Nancy Mitford had five sisters and one brother and when you look her up on wikipedia all of her siblings are in blue which of course means that wikipedia has a worthy entry for each one of them. They were certainly a talented, artistic family, and if this book is any indication also quick with th
Oct 20, 2016 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lizzy by: Jeffrey Keeten
Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love is about love and loss, about family unity, about memories and senseless consequences. A very worthy theme, for love is what enriches our memories and memories what sustains our lives.
There they are, held like flies, in the amber of that moment – click goes the camera and on goes life; the minutes, the days, the years, the decades, taking them further and further from that happiness and promise of youth, from the hopes Aunt Sadie must have had for them, and f
After some of the books I have read recently – interesting ones, but with prose that's ranged from workmanlike to experimental – it was a huge pleasure to indulge myself with a writer that has such perfect mastery over her sentences. This sparkling, clear-sighted and unromantic romantic comedy is a little chef d'œuvre of wit and dazzling conversation, in which Mitford deploys the same mannered levity to write about great tragedy that she does to describe an amusing misunderstanding at a dinner p ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

Life, she thought, is sometimes sad and often dull, but there are currants in the cake and here is one of them.The early morning sun shone past her window on to the river, her ceiling danced with water-reflections. The Sunday silence was broken by two swans winging slowly upstream, and then by the chugging of a little barge, while she waited for that other sound, a sound more intimately connected with the urban love affair than any except the telephone bell, that of a stopping taxicab. Sun, sil
Nancy Mitford’s most enduringly popular novel, The Pursuit of Love is a classic comedy about growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric. Mitford modeled her characters on her own famously unconventional family. We are introduced to the Radletts through the eyes of their cousin Fanny, who stays with them at Alconleigh, their Gloucestershire estate. Uncle Matthew is the blustering patriarch, known to hunt his children when foxes are scarce; Aunt Sadie i
Sep 27, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

I recall going through a bit of a Mitford sisters stage when I was a teenager, although I think that involved reading things about them rather than reading things by them. That said, I know that I read Love in a Cold Climate when I was about fifteen, although I remember absolutely nothing about the book. It was, therefore, a bit of a surprise to realise that this novel is the first in a trilogy of which Love in a Cold Climate is the second book.

This is the story of the intensely romantic Linda

Description: Fanny Logan tells the story of her beloved aristocratic cousins, the Radletts, and in particular Linda, who is beautiful and loves animals. Uncle Mathew hunts his children with bloodhounds (to the horror of respectable families in the local village) and keeps a blood-spattered entrenching tool above the fireplace as a relic of his experiences in the First World War. The cousins spend much of their childhood in the airing cupboard - the only wa
I came to this because a) never read mitfords, b) love the whole daft-country-manor-in-the-thirties genre, c) mother of narrator here is real-life Lady Idina Sackville and, d) it was recommended.

Truth is that at first I didn't know if I could sit thru the cutely-brit + twee aspects of the girls interacting, but soon enough the wickedly funny emerged and I was completely on board.

(Uncle Matthew, lord of the manor, a colonel-blimp who gnashes his way thru
Luís C.
I think Linda grabbed that day that I took years to learn: the behavior of a civilized man has nothing to do with nature. All is artifice and more or less artistry.
Anna Casanovas
Creo que debo partir la valoración de este libro en dos términos:
-Técnica narrativa y estilo literario: 5 Estrellas.
-Capacidad para emocionarme: 1 Estrellas.

Es la primera vez que me encuentro tanta diferencia entre lo brillante que me parece la escritura y lo poco (o nada) que me importa lo que suceda en la novela y lo cierto es que estoy confusa y que creo que es un tema muy subjetivo.

Nancy Miford, la autora de la novela, tuvo una vida interesantísima y ese es el motivo por el que esta novela t
Sharp, witty, and a real eye-opener into a certain aristocratic mindset. "We were all terrible snobs in those days". And the derision of the vulgarity of a cottage with a spring-flowering garden. How common! One's home should be cold and pragmatic. Kind of hilarious.
Nidhi Singh
Jun 19, 2013 Nidhi Singh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Radletts are eccentric and conventional in a bizarre conflation of these terms: their great love for hunting, their ‘anthropomorphic views’ of their pets, their lack of aestheticism, and their resentful admiration for the patriarch who is for them the touchstone of ‘English manhood’ combine into a ferocious mixture of aristocratic snobbery and unworldly naiveté. Matthew Radlett is the source of all the savagery that flows into the family making him an embodiment of a warm-hearted brute who h ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t decide if the Mitford family works better as fiction or nonfiction. If they hadn’t actually existed, we would probably consider their fictional equivalents too outlandish and improbable, a too on-the-nose attempt to lampoon the aristocracy while shoehorning in some early-twentieth-century politics. But in The Pursuit of Love, just one of eldest sister Nancy’s novelisations of her fabulously bizarre family, little details like Uncle Matthew’s tendency to “hunt” the children are hardly twe ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I regard The Pursuit of Love as a pristine example of hilarity upheld with a fist. Chuckles pervade on almost every page while always reinforcing life's injustice. The risible drifts into a bruised silence. In very unequal measures, The Pursuit of Love is much more Candide than Emma.
Jan 25, 2009 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had something of a Mitford addiction in the past – reading many, though not all, of Nancy’s novels and devouring several of the many books written about this extraordinary family. The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are of course Nancy Mitford’s best known novels, and I have wanted to re-read them for some time.
In this novel undoubtedly her most autobiographical novel Nancy Mitford used her famous wit to lift the lid on the absurdities of aristocratic life – particularly the a
Jun 10, 2013 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Five stars for descriptive writing. Two stars for characterization. One star for storytelling.

I cracked the spine of this slim volume while visiting my twin. It was a lovely Folio edition complete with illustrations. I was hooked by the first paragraph:

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 chimneypiece
Jan 28, 2013 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly Recommended

My Favorite Book read in 2013

What a perfect little gem of a book. It struck exactly the right chord with me. Even after I realized that I had read this novel several years ago, it did not lessen my enjoyment one bit.

I adored crabby, cantankerous Uncle Matthew.

Uncle Matthew answered the telephone, and shouted to Aunt Sadie, without taking his mouth away from the receiver: “That hog Merlin wants to speak with you.” – Nancy Mitford

He is a hoot and the definition of Non-PC.

I can’t wait to read ‘Lo
Despite her reputation as something of a Jane Austen acolyte, Mitford is a writer who doesn't flinch (and for what it's worth, I don't think Austen does either). She's much tougher than the girly book covers she's saddled with suggest. They may be wealthy beyond any means I'll ever know but her characters aren't spared the unpleasantness of life. They just don't notice which is their great tragedy. But while I appreciated her methods, the story wasn't enough to truly hold my attention. In the en ...more
The Lit Bitch
What struck me most about the book was the tone of the narrator and the characters. Bizarre, dramatic, and emotional situations were described with such a detached urbanity and dry wit. Mitford’s style of writing really captures the absurdity of life in an amusing way, and I was often struck by how modern her writing felt. Overall a fun and short read that will make you think, and hopefully help ease some of your longing for Cousin Matthew and Mary. See my full review here
Миленько и остроумно, должно бы читаться за полтора часа, но очень не хватает грамотно встроенного сюжета.
А так да, накрашенные гуашью щеки; графья и коммунисты; дети, копящие пенсы на побег из дома; инкрустированные бриллиантами кофры; лорд по фамилии Мерлин — все очень симпатично.
I probably shouldn't have read this so soon after "Hons and Rebels" by Jessica Mitford, or after watching "Love In a Cold Climate" - seeing that I already knew what was going to happen to the characters, it gave me a weird echo-y feeling of things repeated, but not in quite the same way... After "Hons and Rebels", which is written as a straight-up autobiography, "The Pursuit of Love" struck me as a little off-kilter in the way it is narrated by Fanny, the cousin of the Radletts, and yet is compl ...more
Oct 09, 2009 ·Karen· rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
"In the photograph Aunt Sadie's face, always beautiful, appears strangely round, her hair strangely fluffy, and her clothes strangely dowdy, but it is unmistakably she who sits there with Robin, in oceans of lace, lolling on her knee. She seems uncertain of what to do with his head, and the presence of Nanny waiting to take him away is felt though not seen."
Irresistible! Such a droll tone which I found very, very funny. The parts about childhood are the best, after that the story of Julia seems
Feb 06, 2013 Danielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I wanted to like this novel (as it was recommended to me by a good friend), but I really didn't. It's famous, and has had movies and Broadway shows inspired by it--but I couldn't come to like it, or love it, as others do. The main character is insufferable; I think we are supposed to love her? I supposed if I could see the literary quality of the text, I would be less inclined to dislike it, that is, if I could see a particular literary quality. The main character is the type of character for wh ...more
Jun 11, 2013 ΑνναΦ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le stramberie inglesi son da manuale, gli amici, i parenti numerosi e le già numerose (sei) strambe sorelle Mittford sono il distillato della stravaganza stramba più british.

Sense of humor a gogo, balli, cene e idiosinrasie generazionali (tutto quello che una signorina, per di più una gentildonna, non può fare e se lo fa viene rimarcata con fiammeggiante ira azzurra dallo zio Matthew), vita di campagna di signorotti terrieri, sconfinamenti del bel mondo brillante londinese, fidanzamenti e sfida
Jay Beryl

The Pursuit of Love is like a strong drink with a light froth on top. The superficial layer is concerned with Fanny's world of high society aristocrats with all their "fripperies and silliness" and the strong stuff is made up of Mitford's dark humor at the expense of her high-bred, posh relatives who seem to have very little inkling of how ridiculous they actually are. In The Pursuit of Love, Mitford explores the consequences of achieving love as a kind of status symbol of perfection. In a s
Laurel Hicks
Call me a snob if you like, but I am very glad not to be a member of the upper crust. This book is quite well written, and it is very funny. I do wish, though, that a kindly editor had explained sentence splices to Nancy Mitford This book took me quite a while to read, because it is only available in the old-fashioned paper format.
Dec 03, 2010 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this was based on Mitford's actual family, which made it more depressing to me. I felt sad watching the young girls' dreams slip away from them. But the prose is quite clever.
Apr 05, 2011 Sam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on a list of the 100 best books ever. It's not.
Jan 06, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Clearing

This is the tale of my nasty book-buying addiction. Since 1998 or so, for every five or six books that I bought, I'd read maybe one, leaving something around 80% of my library (over 1000 books) unread. Most of my library is still in boxes: we don't have enough room in our house to display all of them. My office is a mess of boxes and books, and I can't work in there because of it. To fix this problem, I've instituted a new system I call the Clearing: for every new book purchased, one
Emilia Barnes
Wow, I am quite amazed how much I didn't like this book. Honestly, I thought I would love it, everything seemed to say this was going to be my type of thing, and with the witty narrator, who had such an interesting mother and father, and who was so sensible, I was looking forward to what was to come and then... then the narrator tells you, some ten chapters in, that this isn't her story but the story of her brattish, dumb, shrill, waste-of-air cousin Linda. My heart sank. I hated that character ...more
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  • The Weather in the Streets
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
  • Hons and Rebels
  • The Bottle Factory Outing
  • Someone at a Distance
  • Diary of a Provincial Lady
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters
  • Summer Half
  • Nightmare Abbey
  • Mariana
  • Excellent Women
  • A Far Cry from Kensington
  • Westwood
  • The Brontës Went to Woolworths
  • The Black Sheep
  • The Diary of a Nobody
  • South Riding
Nancy Mitford, CBE (28 November 1904, London – 30 June 1973, Versailles), styled The Hon. Nancy Mitford before her marriage and The Hon. Mrs Peter Rodd thereafter, was an English novelist and biographer, one of the Bright Young People on the London social scene in the inter-war years. She was born at 1 Graham Street (now Graham Place) in Belgravia, London, the eldest daughter of Lord Redesdale and ...more
More about Nancy Mitford...

Other Books in the Series

Radlett and Montdore (3 books)
  • Love in a Cold Climate
  • Don't Tell Alfred

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“Life is sometimes sad and often dull, but there are currants in the cake, and here is one of them.” 38 likes
“Sun, silence, and happiness.” 23 likes
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