Raisu's Reviews > The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, read-in-2012, historical, memoirs-and-biographies, contemporary, 20th-century

The Mitford girls are utterly fascinating, and anyone who's even a little bit interested in the history of ideas in 20th century Europe, or the English aristocracy between the wars, will probably find something to like in this book: Lovell writes their story well. However, couple of things about the book did annoy me a bit. Nancy Mitford's Pursuit of Love and Love in Cold Climate are novels, they're fiction. No matter how much she borrowed from reality, she used her imagination and skill as a writer to finish the books. She didn't lie, she wrote novels. It's understandable for family members to recognize fictionalized versions of themselves, and consider the portrait distored. It's not okay for a professional biographer to not understand the difference between dishonesty, lies, and fiction. Second, Lovell's admiration of the family matriarch Sydney gets a bit much after a while.

Still, the good far outweighs the bad in this case. It's interesting how reality is often far from realistic. If you read all this in one novel, you'd consider it rather fantastical.
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