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Love in a Cold Climate

(Radlett and Montdore #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  6,416 ratings  ·  616 reviews
Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here

One of Nancy Mitford’s most beloved novels, Love in a Cold Climate is a sparkling romantic comedy that vividly evokes the lost glamour of aristocratic life in England between the wars.

Polly Hampton has long been groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, the fearsome and ambitious Lady Montdore. But Polly,
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Paperback, 249 pages
Published 1999 by Penguin (first published 1949)
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Lucile Mathieu I've read only Love in a Cold climate and it really did not bother me not to have the Pursuit's background. The story is really savoury and filled wit…moreI've read only Love in a Cold climate and it really did not bother me not to have the Pursuit's background. The story is really savoury and filled with humour, it is really interesting to have an off-the-beaten track look back on this era. (less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Duane
This 1949 farcical tale by Mitford is a riot. This group of wealthy British aristocrats who view themselves as the pinnacle of society, who have everything they could possible want, except maybe some common sense, or any sense at all for that matter, live only to gossip about their set, their affairs, their balls, etc. Even Fanny, the narrator, whom the reader comes to rely on as the only somewhat normal character, seems totally invested in the daily events of these silly people. I can see how t ...more
Donald
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When the loo-paper gets thicker and the writing-paper gets thinner, it’s always a bad sign at home (Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate, Hamish Hamilton, 1949)


It is pretty standard, nowadays, to denigrate her as frivolous and out of touch, but I’ve always had a sneaking liking for Nancy Mitford, easily the loveliest of the Mitford sisters. Conventional modern Britain has obviously lost sight of a lot of the values that underly her books and are no longer valued in a country where Mr. Blair and
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Roman Clodia
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find Nancy Mitford such an underrated writer - is it that she's been pigeon-holed as one of the notorious Mitford sisters? It's unfair since at her best she has that sense of combined comedy and tragedy that Waugh demonstrates in, say, A Handful Of Dust, and the story of 'cold' but beautiful Polly shows that Mitford can do depth without sacrificing her signature frothy sense of fun and attention to fashion details.

If The Pursuit of Love deconstructed cultural myths of romantic love, then this
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
[7/10]
In the introduction to the novel, Alan Cummings remarks on the fascination exercited by Nancy Mitford writing, as she is:

throwing open the door at the zoo and letting us watch the animals.

She is an insider in the exclusive circles of Britain's high society, she knows all the dirty little secrets and she has the wit, the talent to make us laugh out loud at their antics. What attracted me most though about her first book in this Radlett / Montdore setting is the human frailty and the limit
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Sketchbook
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1949 Americans were reading A Rage to Live, Point of No Return and The Big Fisherman. All rightfully forgotten today. Then Nancy Mitford erupted with this hilarious novel of U aristos that changed the conversation -- and readers are still talking. At the time readers here were fussed by Truman Capote's book photo of himself lounging on a settee; there was also consternation from critics about Vidal's same-sex saga, The City and the Pillar. Enter Nancy Mitford with her UK best-seller. As she t ...more
Luís
Love in a cold climate is a curtain raised on the great theatre that was the universe of the happy few English high societies of the 1930s.

The narrator Fanny is a sort of poor relative, young first, having always had one foot in the Hampton clan's very select universe. With all its quarters of nobility, a family of old stock, whose central figure is Lady Monroe, willful woman, gossip, viper's tongue and the monster of selfishness. Social fairs, parties, bridges, the quest for the right party, co
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Susan's Reviews
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this one as well. In my later years, I really came to dislike "series" novels. Nancy Mitford never ended her novels on a cliffhanger, so I didn't mind that she pulled out characters from her other novels and told an offshoot story line.
I found the entire family riveting, and this is ironic, because I really dislike gossipy rags like the Inquirer and their ilk.
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Beejay
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why have I waited so long in my life to read this wonderful little gem? It's just so delicious, a pure delight. A comment on the back cover says it is "... a wickedly funny satire, brilliantly lampooning upper-class society". They don't mention that you will laugh out loud on public transport while reading it, or that you are torn between racing through this confection at high speed it or devouring it slowly to savour and enjoy every little morsel. Highly recommended reading, and I look forward ...more
Kirsten
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book full of completely eccentric characters! I just love it.

Years ago, I watched a Masterpiece Theater adaptation of this book and just loved it. But, it was years ago and all I remember was I laughed and laughed.

This book was full of the wonderfully eccentric characters that you found in the aristocratic, British upper class in pre-, during, and post-war England. I really have to read all the rest of Nancy Mitford's books.

It's a wonderfully, delightful book and a lot of fun to re
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Francene Carroll
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember what I expected from this book but it definitely wasn't the biting social satire of upper class England in the 1930s that I found. This book is hilarious and so well written. There is a large cast of characters but they are each perfectly delineated and the wit is sparkling. I love the narrator's snarky voice (especially in the first half) and they way the author makes you share Fanny's cynicism about everything she observes while at the same time understanding her fondness for ...more
Nick Imrie
I finished this and cast my eye over other reviews (always eager to know what people think). And I was struck by the number of friends who felt the book was utterly ruined by "the light-hearted depiction of pedophilia". Now I really don't want to get into a silly 'AkShUlY iTs hEbEpHiLiA' debate. But it seemed strange to me that Boy Dougdale's lecherous behaviour toward teenage girls should be viewed as unmentionably evil.

I thought every social circle had at least one lechy old man, who is ultima
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Ailsa
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preferred The Pursuit of Love. Will continue with Don't Tell Alfred and The Blessing.

"It was a favourite superstition of Uncle Matthew's that if you wrote somebody's name on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer, that person would die within a year. The drawers at Alconleigh were full of little slips bearing the names of those whom my uncle wanted out of the way, private hates of his and various public figures such as Bernard Shaw, de Valera, Gandhi, Lloyd George, and the Kaiser, while every s
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Cphe
Written in a lighter vein, the story of an upper class family in the early 1900's. Plenty of snobbery and wealth on offer. Haven't read the author before but enjoyed the style, period and setting.

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Sarah
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half.

Love, attraction and ageing are themes which Mitford explores with style and skill. Eccentric behaviour and entitlement along with thoughtful and sensitive writing makes this a wonderfully engrossing read.

Thank you Mary for sending me this book which is full of sparkling, sharp wit!
Margaret
I have many times already sung the praises of Nancy Mitford. She really is a gift to 20th century English writing, and I love her snarky, gossipy biographies. Her novels are lightly fictionalized versions of her own life, and Love in a Cold Climate is no different.

Paralleling the events of The Pursuit of Love, Fanny narrates the life of her cousin Polly, lately returned from India (where her father was Viceroy), who hopes that the cold climate of Britain will help her avoid tedious love affairs
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Eeva
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored "The Pursuit of Love" si O was super excited for this book. Unfortunately it felt flat compared to the first book.
Gone are Fanny's amusing ralatives, gone her unique, witty voice. There's basically no plot but instead of we have lots and lots of casual paedophilia.
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Bettie
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a fluff, a something of nothing, that is so very dated and non-funny.
the_wistful_reader
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I adored meeting Fanny and her relatives again. Uncle Matthew is especially funny with his violent rages 🙈 he writes names of people he doesn't like on a slip of paper and puts them in a drawer with the belief that they'll be dead by a year 😬 however, he's no wizard and they tend to live long and well! Also love Davey with his various health regimes.

This time we are introduced to Fanny's friend Polly of the frightfully posh Hampton family. She is a well-known beauty and her parents are keen to m
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Carmen
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Oh, bother. I felt sure, really, you would say that. It was so in India, of course, but I thought perhaps in a cold climate..! Anyway, don't tell Mummy if she asks you. Pretend that English debutantes don't bother about love. She is in a perfect fit because I never fall in love, with people; she teases me about it all the time. But it isn't any good, because if you don't you don't. I should have thought, at my age, it's natural not to."
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Rebecca
(3.5) I didn’t realize this 1949 novel is a sequel to The Pursuit of Love, so it took a while to figure out who all the characters were. Fanny Logan is a cousin orbiting around Lord and Lady Montdore and their daughter Polly Hampton, all recently returned from some years in India. Fanny marries an Oxford don, while Polly shocks everyone by eloping with her uncle by marriage, “Boy” Dougdale, a recent widower once known as the “Lecherous Lecturer” for interfering with little girls. (This hint of p ...more
Jennifer
The first half of this book bored me nearly to tears, then I roared through the much more enjoyable second half. It is hilariously British, if you enjoy British wit and parlance. Overall a charming, light read.
Tania
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, the-mitfords
Fanny again narrated the story, with such a wonderful cast of characters, some familiar and some new.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Four and a half stars. I’d assumed that this being a sequel to the Pursuit of Love would pick up where the previous story left off but instead it takes us back to a period in the middle of the previous book. This time Fanny Wincham, our narrator, introduces us to the Montdores but unlike the previous book, she no longer keeps her own story entirely on the sidelines and lets it take centre stage for a bit. But her focus is the Montdoes—especially Lady Montdore and her relationship with her daught ...more
Siria
Oct 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Trashily enjoyable, Love in a Cold Climate casts a delightfully cold and acerbic eye over aristocratic English society in the 1930s, aided by Mitford's deft (and often malicious) way with characterisation. I don't know that I would read much more of her work--Mitford is very much of her time with regards to certain, uh, social assumptions and stereotypes, and this is almost ridiculously frothy--but as a once-off read, it is a lot of fun. ...more
Regina Lemoine
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending felt a bit rushed but this was quite an enjoyable read. I love Mitford's sparkling wit. She is the kind of writer one might get if Jane Austen were crossed with Evelyn Waugh. If you are a fan of British Lit set between the wars, you will enjoy Mitford. ...more
Laurie
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This is purported to be a humorous novel which pokes fun at the upper classes of England during the late 1920s. I see the jabs at the lives of the rich who have little to do except go to each other's parties and gossip about each other. If only I found it all funny then I would have sped through this book. Alas the characters are as uninteresting to me as the gossip columns of society magazines are. Just as I thought near the end that the saving grace was that I could finish and be done with Mit ...more
Brigita Soldo
Nov 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Once again, Nancy Mitford doesn't disappoint - I lost track of how many times this book made me laugh out loud! ...more
J.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: period junkies
Once you invest the fifteen minutes that it takes to get through the setup for this book, Mitford's Pursuit Of Love, you'll have certain expectations for what is to follow in this episode. Almost certainly in Love In A Cold Climate we'll see the mockingly entitled young set getting their comeuppances, and as it happens, things go fairly cold, fairly quickly. Like those Sunday buffet breakfasts in the Morning Room, once the paraffin warmers are used up.

I was hanging about, as one does at house p
...more
Donna LaValley
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This funny book had a slow start but soon had me laughing and looking for someone to read the good lines to. However, that someone has to like wry or oblique British humor, and pick up on the tatters of British aristocratic snobbery.

As in many humorous stories, there are stereotypes as well as full characters, all to the good.

On the second page, narrator Fanny states that the Hampton family is of “stupendous antiquity,” a beautiful choice of words with which to lead off the satire.

In this tale,
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Phil
I didn't know what to expect from Nancy Mitford, I half-thought that she'd be snobbish and cold and rather forbidding, simply because of her very privileged upbringing and all the "U and non-U" business of defining people by their language. However, there is absolutely no denying that she writes beguilingly. The words flow by like oiled silk, so easy to read but full of caustic wit and insight (although insight into a very narrow world). She's not at all protective of her class, and they form th ...more
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Reading 1001: Love in a cold climate 3 11 Dec 05, 2020 04:42PM  
Guardian Newspape...: July 2015- Love in a Cold Climate 36 29 Aug 16, 2015 03:20PM  

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Nancy Mitford, 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 was brought up at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire. She was t ...more

Other books in the series

Radlett and Montdore (3 books)
  • The Pursuit of Love (Radlett & Montdore, #1)
  • Don't Tell Alfred (Radlett & Montdore, #3)

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