Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate” as Want to Read:
The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  5,208 ratings  ·  454 reviews
Mitford's most famous novels, "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a Cold Climate," satirize British aristocracy in the '20s and '30s through the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an exuberantly unconventional family closely modeled on Mitford's own.
Paperback, 468 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Vintage Books USA (first published January 1st 1974)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,208 ratings  ·  454 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate
Dulling, dulling! You must! Simply must read this! It’s just too unfair the way Nancy could write this! We do not all have such an excellent family for material. Did you know my dear that Nancy’s sister herself said she had no imagination? It’s too true, darling! Pursuit of Love was how she found out Nancy was sleeping with a Frenchman. The story is all rather sad you know, almost the ‘saddest story ever told’ by whats his name who has the name like an American car? No dear, nobody is named Chry ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010), 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: history, memoirs
This book is composed of two well-known novels by Nancy Mitford (1904-1973): The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). I decided to read this because the first is included in the 501 Must Read Books: Memoirs and the second is included in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010). The inclusion of the first book as memoir is somewhat misplaced because the narrator of the story is Fanny. While the main protagonist in the story is Linda, the one who pursues love. M ...more
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
How is it possible that I didn't hear of Nancy Mitford before the age of 29? I read these novels like I ate candies when I was little: with intense pleasure, and very slowly, to make them last.

The tepid back cover copy and fluffy introduction surprised me; these are witty books about rich people, yes, but they deal in serious issues. Mitford is interested in how women compromise their power when they get married, or divorced, and what separates a prostitute from a mistress, and what poverty dri
Jul 08, 2010 added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
"Well, you know, they did," says boorish peer Lady Montdore, when another character surmises that the Indian "Rajahs" must have worshiped her and Lord Montdore during the English couples' sojourn on the subcontinent,

"Well, you know, they did...They really worshipped us. It was quite touching. And, of course, we deserved it. We did a very great deal for them. I think I may say we put India on the map. Hardly any of one's friends in England had ever even heard of India before we went there, you kn
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm rather a fan of the Mitford Sisters--- however not? They gave us...hmmm...a duchess, a Communist, a fascist, a novelist, a lesbian poultry-breeding magnate, and a sister who either slept with Hitler or imagined she did. And Nancy Mitford (the novelist sister) gave us..."Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate"--- hilarious, sad, wickedly clever, darkly witty, and perfect for all those of us with serious Bright Young Things fetishes. "Pursuit" takes us off to a world that may or may not have ...more
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
These books were mildly enjoyable. I mostly liked the narrator, but did kind of wonder about her judgment. In the first book, "The Pursuit of Love", she keeps talking about how charming her friend Linda is. She tells it, but I didn't really see it. Linda just seemed silly, unambitious and aimless, and just as bad a judge of character as her friend Fanny, the narrator. I know that part of the problem is the world where these women grew up, where not much was expected of women, and no real encoura ...more
Amy Leigh
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grownup-novels
i LOVE nancy mitford. she's everything i want in a novelist: clever, funny, sly, light-handed. she's got the delightful feel of wodehouse, but is about 1000% funnier. 'love in a cold climate' is so funny that i was reading it at a bar in chicago and i laughed out loud and then began reading passages from it to the woman (a stranger) sitting next to me at the bar.

the woman liked it (and me) so much that she soon tried to set me up with a man who she'd been in love with for years but couldn't be w
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2008, 2007, 2006, own, 2015
I read these books every year, and I love them more and more each time. There is a lot of comfort in them, but mostly I admire the way in which Nancy Mitford explores the idea of family, of society, and of the self, and how loneliness operates in a world where you are always being kept track of. I think, actually, that these books can become quite melancholy, albeit always with a smiling face. Mitford's wit is pretty much unmatched, except by Evelyn Waugh, one of her very best friends, and like ...more
Nov 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Read only the first novel, The Pursuit of Love, and fully intend to make the acquaintance of the second at some point in the future. For few books have made me laugh so consistently--not at anything intentionally humorous, but at the sheer absurdity of it all, and most particularly the very droll, very unique way British upperclass/aristocratic types seemed to communicate with each other in that brief span between the Wars (it would almost seem to be caricature, but there's also a distinct sense ...more
This movie Love in a Cold Climate (2001– ) is available at You Tube.


Elisabeth Dermot Walsh as Linda
Rosamund Pike as Fanny
Megan Dodds as Polly
Javier Alcina as Juan Lopez
Sara Weymouth as Polly's Nurse
John Light as Christian
John Hopkins as Robert Parker
Zoe Waites as Lavender Davies
Christian Coulson as Matt
John Wood as Lord Merlin
Daniel Evans as Cedric
Samuel Labarthe as Fabrice
Anthony Andrews as Boy
Tom Ward as Alfred
Sheila Gish as Lady Montdore
Rupert Frazer as Lord P
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every bit as funny, effortlessly cultured and filled with insights about politics and social class as you might imagine (presuming you've heard of Nancy Mitford). The Pursuit of Love, from 1945, shows her keen awareness of the U/non-U linguistic distinction well before she elaborated it in her famous 1954 Encounter article, "The English Aristocracy". The irascible country squire character (molded on her father) is scolding his sister about the "dreadful" middle-class education the teenage narrat ...more
Sep 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was going to review the two novels seperately, but having now read both stories, I prefer the book as a whole. Naturally, the prim Polly -with her older man and overbearing mother- is close to my heart, while returning characters have acquired a familiar charm.

Curiously, this book kept talking to me about George. Another magical book from Rebecca! I tell you, the girl is a witch. ;)

Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
With snappy writing and quirky characters, this was a book I probably would've really liked and finished at another time, but right now I had more compelling ones to get to!
Literary Relish
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my very first Mitford and I have to say it completely delighted me – a big chunk of Archers-style English fun. This is the story of Fanny and her vivacious cousin Linda, a domestic drama nestled between two world wars that explores, among other things, the fragility of childhood, the transient nature of our relationships and the eccentricities of Englishmen. Fanny is a sensible, self-controlled child, a little girl left by her glamorous yet capricious parents to grow up alongside her ex ...more
Louise Leetch
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have to give The Pursuit of Love five stars. Love in a Cold Climate is usually included as a sequel, but it doesn't quite measure up. The first is just hilarious, sort of P.G. Wodehouse without the slapstick. The Radletts are a looney family with little to do but think up fun mischief to amuse themselves in their country life between the wars. Take for example, the child hunt. Two of the children take off across the estate trying to mask their scent by walking through the creek or mingling wit ...more
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm glad I finally got around to reading this, years after I picked up this battered copy in a used bookstore somewhere. It was an amusing and charming bit of fluff, notable mostly for how blithely Nancy Mitford writes purely to please herself. She ignores novelistic conventions in favor of a sort of disguised memoir, recording her family's peculiarly English personalities, habits, and disasters as if they were fiction, when they apparently largely were drawn entirely from life. The dialogue is ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Perfect reading when you're snowed in for 2 or 3 days.

These are witty books with well-drawn characters. There's a kind of scary emotional distance sometimes, especially in The Pursuit of Love. (Some ending! Don't want to spoil it so will say no more.)

I adore the narrator of both stories. The plain girl who is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-understanding (although probably not all that plain).

If you sometimes want to cast and costume a Masterpiece Theatre series in your very own head, these book
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
These books are soo funny! Particularly if you are a Historical Romance reader and are familiar with the goings on of the London Season. These stories, however, are NOT a romance although both novels deal with all the business of getting married and 'finding love'. But even with all the memorable characters and witty dialogue, the stories are very real: there are unhappy marriages and unhappy people.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
On the train ride back to the quaint and scenic Hudson Valley, I finished Love in a Cold Climate.

I read it two days after I finished The Pursuit of Love. The two books have the same set of characters—more or less—so, it’s easy to treat them as one book. Which is what every writer and director who has ever adapted them to the screen has done.

Actually, though, the novels have decidedly distinct subtexts.

The Pursuit of Love has that astonishing ending. Life is quietly burbling along, and then BAM!
Tom Lee
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books-2008
A guilty, guilty pleasure. Two novels that allow one a look into the rather naughty lives of the awfully well bred and wealthy in the world of the 1930s and 40s. Darlings, you won't be able to resist the charming tone, even if it is about such awfully old-fashioned snobs (for instance, using the word notepaper instead of writing-paper is thought to be simply ghastly). It's a less trenchant Cold Comfort Farm; a novel that pokes fun but doesn't go quite so far as satire.

Personally I prefer The Pur
Ken Ryu
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nancy Mitford grew up in the early 20th century in a wealthy British family. She wrote a handful of novels before attaining success with the 1945 release of "The Pursuit of Love". The autobiographical book provided the public a glimpse of the lifestyles of London high society.

In her life, Nancy had two ill-fated love affairs. After she temporarily called off her engagement to the homosexual Hamish St. Clair Erskine, she met and married Peter Rodd in 1933. The marriage was broken from the start.
This particular edition is two of Nancy Mitford's best known books in one. I really enjoyed the first story and didn't at all enjoy the second.

The first story, The Pursuit of Love, was a witty, slightly naughty tale of Linda Radlett who pursues the greatest love of her life through several marriages and one lengthy affair. It was fun, entertaining, and quite compelling to follow Linda as she blundered through trying to find someone she could truly love and be loved by. Despite its sexist over-t
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a title that I can read over and over, and catch difference nuances of life between the wars each time I read it. For me, Nancy Mitford is comfort food -- some echos of Mapp & Lucia, but on a different plane. Great humor and tremendous sadness mark the characters and it is clear this is an extraordinary family, as is the entire Mitford clan in real life.

The Bolter is very entertaining as a character -- and it's clear why bolting, not mothering, was her strong suit. Her daughter Fanny, t
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Nancy Mitford is one of the greatest British writers. I love all her books (including her great historical bios), but those two, which follow each other, and tell the stories of the same characters, are especially wonderful. Based more or less loosely on Mitford's memories of her own family, they recreate an almost mythical (for today's readers) excentric England, but with more than just flair: there is a lot of emotion behind the humor and irony, and you can feel the torments and aches the char ...more
Jamie Collins
For Anglophiles: the antics of an eccentric aristocratic English family, set between the world wars and first published in the 1940’s. This is amusing and mostly lighthearted, but there are serious overtones.

These novels are based on the author’s own experiences (Nancy Mitford was a "Bright Young Thing" of London Society in the 1920’s) and they read very much like a memoir; I had to keep reminding myself that they were fiction. For one thing, there isn’t much of a plot, or a solid ending. I thin
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is actually two short novels centered around the same characters and set in England between the Wars. Both are told in first person by aristocrat Fanny Radlette who shares with her readers the activities of the Montdore household. The novels teem with biting humor and eccentric characters. For example, Uncle Davey writes the names of people he hates on slips of paper and puts these papers in drawers in accordance with a supersition that the named person will die. With biting humor, Mit ...more
Rebecca Huston
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A classic of 20th century English literature and a glorious read. Captures the essence of English Society after WWI in the slightly crazy time before WWII. Shows how good writing can be, detailing the lives of two sisters from an upperclass family, and the very different choices that they made. Nancy Mitford based these two novels on her own family, and did it brilliantly.

To see the full review, please go here:

This was also turned into a fairly good PBS m
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The BLISS of Nancy Mitford, the Radletts, Fa, and Cedric. Do admit.
These 2 little gems are such a delight I have had to read them over again every couple years since i first met them.
have to have a kleenex nearby to wipe my eyes with, from crying with laughter and SHRIEKS!
last read for jane austen book club 3/19;
westridge alum book club 11/1/08;
have read this many many times- screamingly funny!
first read 1980
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved these. A bit more madcap than Evelyn Waugh, but more grounded in reality than Jasper Fforde.

I made the mistake of reading Love in a Cold Climate first. Definitely able to enjoy it, but a few of the references (Hons) and characters (Sauveterre) are more easily understood if one has read The Pursuit of Love first, darling.

By the way, M.F.H. stands for 'Master of Foxhounds'.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVED these two books. I'd heard about them for years but figured they'd be ... dull or obvious or i don't know what. Finally read them and loved them. They're a little dotty and rambling, like Angela Thirkell, but wonderfully written with wonderful "sketches" of characters ... like Angela Thirkell.
These were like a very good pastry, easy to eat and sweet and fun, and when you're done you don't feel overfed or over sugared, you feel just right and want more.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family
  • Hons and Rebels
  • I Capture the Castle
  • The Debutante Divorcee
  • Zelda
  • The Enchanted April
  • The Attenbury Emeralds (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane, #3)
  • Bergdorf Blondes
  • Murder Must Advertise  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #10)
  • Excellent Women
  • Inappropriation
  • The Mangan Inheritance
  • The Body in Griffith Park (Anna Blanc Mysteries, #3)
  • Swan Song
  • Belonging
  • Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Piano Solo)
  • Pearls Before Swine (Albert Campion Mystery, #12)
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

While dealing with her husband's illness, this debut author turned to the refuge of Jane Austen's work. That refuge turned into her highly anticipa...
84 likes · 12 comments
“Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can't imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening.” 39 likes
“But I think she would have been happy with Fabrice,' I said. 'He was the great love of her life, you know.'
Oh, dulling,' said my mother, sadly. 'One always thinks that. Every, every time.”
More quotes…