The Pursuit of Love  (Radlett & Montdore, #1)
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The Pursuit of Love (Radlett & Montdore #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,698 ratings  ·  370 reviews
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....more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 1945)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 30, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more

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...more

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...more
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...more
Luís Blue B.
This is a high-spirited and classic 1930s story which captures the coming of age of three young women. For Fanny it's a simple matter of marrying a decent man and, from her safe domestic haven, she watches as Linda chases love throughout Europe, while the beautiful but icy Polly contracts a marriage that shocks society and breaks her mother's heart. Based on the true story of the eccentric, aristocratic Mitford family, an English way of life is threatened by Hitler and World War II.
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
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.
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...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
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.
Charlotte Allen
This book , although at times hysterically funny, is actually a book about loss and love, and the memories and consequent unconscious ( conscious??) editing of those memories needed to sustain both. The book's opening sentence makes it clear that this is a book in which some of the major players are no longer in 'existence', and we do not learn the fate of many. Ostensibly about the passionate Linda and her search for a romantic odyessy that will consume her, it gives a vivid and compelling port...more
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...more
Angela Young
The Bolter was bolting long before the words 'serial monogamy' had been invented and the eccentric Radletts (based on the Mitfords), observed by the Bolter's daughter, Fanny, lead lives free of parental restriction (unless you count being hunted by 'Fa' when it wasn't the season for hunting foxes) which makes them delightfully unselfconscious and unaware of the usual social conventions. But the story, for all its hilarity and apparent lack of concern for the deeper, inner life, is also a sad one...more
Esperaba mucho más de 'A la caza del amor'. En realidad esperaba que fuera como Jane Austen ambientada en la época de entreguerras. Y esperar esto es esperar demasiado. Esperaba sarcasmo hiriente y un ojo clínico capaz de retratar la hipocresía de una época y una clase social. Y lo único que encontré fue una ironía espumosa e inofensiva. Este libro es como una Coca-Cola que abriste ayer y hoy descubres que ha perdido todo el gas y todo el sabor. Es un libro superficial, intranscendente e inofens...more
Sue Smith
This book just wasn't what I was expecting actually - it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It's a wonderful glimpse into an aristocratic family and all their eccentricities as the kids grow up in a world that is in between world wars, in a very British outlook on how the world revolves around them. Specifically it's told by a cousin of the family that essentially grows up with her Mother's family out on their country estate. While her Mother is conspicuously absent with 'others', sh...more
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
A humorous, acerbic account of upper-class frivolity and rather shambolic pursuits of love set in the interwar period, and during WW2. I enjoyed this as much as Love in a Cold Climate (its companion volume), and heartily recommend it to those who are seeking a quick, très amusant read brimming with delightful phrases such as that which describes a man whose hair looks to be perpetually falling backwards 'like an eiderdown in the night', or when the narrator tells us that a baby resembles a 'howl...more
Barksdale Penick
This a very enjoyable read, about the English (and a few French) before WWII. I loved certain characters, such as Unlce Matthew who roared around the home and hunted incessently, but cried throughout Romeo and Juliet and blamed the tragedy on the priest ("Damn RCs"). It must have been a brave new world for women in that time, because they did leave their husbands and divorce and remarry and divorce again. Not that bodes for a steady, happy life, but it freer that their lot before (not that I rea...more
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.
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...more
I found this book on a list of the 100 best books ever. It's not.
"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...more
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
A roman a clef, this book begins by describing the odd upbringing of the author's prominent family, here called the Radletts. Six daughters grow up under the eccentric reign of their father (called "Uncle Matthew" by the narrator, cousin Fanny, who has come to live with them), who rages against foreigners and suitors, forms hatreds or admirations for others on a whim, and refuses to send his children to school. In the style of the time, the daughters go to balls and are presented as "out," where...more
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
I've been meaning to expose myself to the Mitford sisters for a while now. Being one of Kate's favourite books, I thought I'd give it a go.

The story is told from the perspective of Fanny, cousin to the Radletts of Alconleigh. We hear of the attempts to figure out what form love should take, and of the occasions that fool the characters into feeling as though they are in love and the failed relationships that follow.

The main focus is on Linda, one of Fanny's cousins, and an enduring close frien...more
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec La Poursuite de l'Amour?

"Mon envie de découvrir Nancy Mitford est née sur le blog Dingley Bell et c'est une autre blogueuse, mon adorée Eliza, du blog Passion Lectures, qui me l'a offert dans le cadre de notre Swap "Quatre Filles, Un Swap et Beaucoup de Gâteaux."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...

"Fanny nous raconte son enfance et ses vacances passés chez son oncle et sa tante Radlett mais nous parle surtout de Linda, sa cous...more
Finished this interesting read today and it surprised me where and how it ended up. I had thought I was reading a set kind of formula, akin to PG Wodehouse or someone of that ilk and era. I was but then again, it lead me off somewhere I ended up loving being in. I loved the tone of Fanny the cousin, relating her life at Alconleigh growing up with the colourful array of English home counties landed gentry. Uncle Matthew, Auntie Sadie, Linda, Fabrice and many other rich characters.

Some of the one...more
This book was nothing like I thought it would be. I found it to be a funny book with quirky characters. The narrator is Fanny and the story is about her cousin Linda pursuing love. It begins when they are children and describes what life was like at the family home Alconleigh. Uncle Matthew who believes that hunting is the way of life; and even hunts for his children to give the hounds something to look for; Aunt Sadie who puts up with Uncle Matthew; the seven Radlett children - including Linda;...more
Well this turned out to be quite a disappointment. I had no idea what to expect when I first started reading The Pursuit of Love but I did expect to be entertained, which I wasn't. I struggled through the first chapters and when the pace finally started to pick up around chapter 7 I must admit I was no longer interested in the Radletts. The character of Linda I found least interesting of them all and I think I would have enjoyed the story more had it been centered on the narrator's character ins...more
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Vintage Book Group: The Pursuit of Love 3 12 Jun 15, 2013 07:53AM  
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • Hons and Rebels
  • The Weather in the Streets
  • The Bottle Factory Outing
  • Diary of a Provincial Lady (Prion Humour Classics)
  • The Black Sheep
  • Our Spoons Came from Woolworths
  • Mariana
  • The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters
  • Nightmare Abbey
  • Wise Children
  • Someone at a Distance
  • Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel
  • Wild Strawberries
  • Some Tame Gazelle
  • The Go-Between
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
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...
The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate Love in a Cold Climate and Other Novels Love in a Cold Climate The Blessing 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.” 21 likes
“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” 17 likes
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