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The Pursuit of Love (Radlett and Montdore #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  6,419 Ratings  ·  596 Reviews
Few aristocratic English families of the twentieth century enjoyed the glamorous notoriety of the infamous Mitford sisters. Nancy Mitford's most famous novel, The Pursuit of Love satirizes British aristocracy in the twenties and thirties through the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an exuberantly unconventional family closely modelled on Mitford's own.

The Radletts of Al
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1999 by Penguin Books Limited (first published 1945)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 10, 2016 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
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
Sep 01, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it
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
Nov 01, 2012 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
Dec 02, 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 and 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, an
Dec 11, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners

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
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.
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 24, 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 26, 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
Sep 02, 2013 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
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 12, 2013 Ali rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 30, 2014 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
Sep 19, 2015 Sara added it
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.
Jun 10, 2013 Janet rated it liked it
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
Dec 08, 2009 ·Karen· rated it liked it
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
Mar 09, 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
Mar 06, 2010 Laurel Hicks rated it liked it
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.
Apr 17, 2011 Sam rated it it was ok
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
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
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
I have had Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford on my wish list for some time. It features Fanny, the narrator of this book, but stands alone from this title. The BBC dramatised both The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate on TV in 2001 (Christmas, I think) under the title of the latter, but I must have been doing something else at the same time (probably surfing the internet!) as I have no recollection of it at all! I really should have paid more attention, although then again maybe n ...more
Charlotte Allen
Nov 13, 2012 Charlotte Allen rated it it was amazing
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
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
3.5 stars, for a book I neither loved nor loathed, but can appreciate. The Pursuit of Love is a wildly over-the-top tale of the love affairs and the lives of an aristocratic family in the 1920s and 30s. What I wish I had known before beginning was that this story is a satire of Mitford's own family, who were almost as eccentric as the Radletts of this book, and certainly just as much in the public eye.

“Always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair they loved or they
May 21, 2011 Sylvester rated it liked it
Shelves: quirky-families
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
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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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