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The Pursuit of Love (Radlett and Montdore #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,866 Ratings  ·  527 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. Unc
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ebook, 224 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1945)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 30, 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
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Warwick
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
Algernon
Sep 01, 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
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Kim
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
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J.
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 http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... 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
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Luís Blue Yorkie
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.
Emma
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
Melanie
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
Jonfaith
Sep 02, 2013 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.
Ali
Jan 12, 2013 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
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Mo
Nov 30, 2014 Mo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly Recommended
description

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
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Sara
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
Jay
May 18, 2016 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5

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
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Katerina
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.
·Karen·
Dec 08, 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
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Janet
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
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ΑνναΦ
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
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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.
Janet
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Danielle
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
Sylvester
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
Angie
Sep 28, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Angela Young
Sep 05, 2012 Angela Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate
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
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Núria
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
Sarah
Sep 12, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a, historical-fiction
The narrator of this audiobook, Emilia Fox, is absolutely fantastic and I will be looking out for more books narrated by her.

This is the first Nancy Mitford book I've ever read, and what a delightful little book it is! A wicked satirical novel of an aristocratic family in the 1930s, based on her own family. Her writing is excellent. Here is a short extract, describing Linda's new brother-in-law, which made me smile:

"Poor old thing. I suppose she likes him, but, I must say, if he was one's dog, o
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  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
  • The Weather in the Streets
  • Hons and Rebels
  • Someone at a Distance
  • Summer Half
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • Nightingale Wood
  • Mariana
  • The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters
  • Wait for Me!
  • Nightmare Abbey
  • Excellent Women
  • The Black Sheep
  • Diary of a Provincial Lady
  • The Bottle Factory Outing
  • The Brontës Went to Woolworths
  • Wise Children
  • Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
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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.” 35 likes
“Sun, silence, and happiness.” 21 likes
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