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Group Reads > The Pursuit of Love - General Discussion

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message 1: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
General thoughts and comments during your reading. No plot spoilers here please.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. Maybe I felt like not a lot happened, or too much happened all at once. Now that I am further along Linda's story, it is becoming a enjoyable read. Having the background information on the family helped, too.


message 3: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
I'm only a few pages into it, but already see how Nancy used facts from her family's life. For instance, it was Nancy herself who shocked the neighbour's children - and her own sisters if I recall - with an account of the facts of life that "had been so gruesome that the children left howling dismally..."


message 4: by Ivan (new)

Ivan I adore how Uncle Matthew hunts the children; and that they gather in the closet. I found the whole book light and easy to read, and simply enjoyed being in the company of these eccentric characters.


message 5: by Linda2 (last edited Oct 10, 2010 11:08AM) (new)

Linda2 I caught up a bit last night. I agree with Jeannette that it was unusual to tell the story from a cousin's point of view. But I can see Fanny as intimate enough to know all of their secrets, but just distant enough for some objectivity. None of my online research tells us if there was such a cousin, so she might just be a literary tool or a composite of some of Nancy's sisters.

I see Linda as Nancy herself, but with some events composites from various family members. Here are two interesting reviews from our own time:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/...

http://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/200...


message 6: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 BTW--from what I've read online about this book, the sequel, Love in a Cold Climate, is even better, and certainly more well-known. Now that I've found Pursuit to be rather short and light, some of you might want to move on to the next book. My edition also contains the 3rd book in the trilogy, The Blessing.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37...


message 7: by Ivan (new)

Ivan I, for one, did enjoy "Love in a Cold Climate" more. "The Blessing" is not a sequel to these books, but an independent novel. There is a third book, written decades later called "Don't Tell Alfred" - it's tells of Fanny and her family in the 1960's and does not enjoy the same reputation as the first two.


message 8: by Linda2 (last edited Oct 10, 2010 01:28PM) (new)

Linda2 If you've read duMaurier's Rebecca, you'll already recognize the huge palace-like country houses, in Pursuit. Oddly, Rebecca, which was written in 1938, makes no mention of the coming war, although it takes place in the same era as Mitford's stories. The action exists totally in the small immediate world and mind of the narrator. Perhaps her house was as gloomy, cold and uninviting as Linda's.


message 9: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Ivan wrote: " "The Blessing" is not a sequel to these books, but an independent novel. "

Thanks much, Ivan. I wonder why they were bundled with The Blessing.


message 10: by Ivan (new)

Ivan I can't think of a du Maurier novel that does use the war - even in the background.

I think they're bundled together because Vintage has just republished them in handsome new paperback editions (just a guess).


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Hello all,
As The Pursuit of Love is the first of a trilogy (I hadn't realised this), are we going to be reading the subsequent novels as group reads also?


message 12: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Ivan wrote: "I can't think of a du Maurier novel that does use the war - even in the background.
"

Not WWII, but The King's General and The Glassblowers use historical backgrounds. Rebecca is wrapped it its own little claustrophobic world of the narrator's mind for atmosphere.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

What a funny image: Matthew's trencher, over the fireplace, with blood and hair stuck to it. A perfect backdrop for a cup of tea with the children!


message 14: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 I love this scene: Fanny and Linda sneak out unchaperoned to Tony's house (chapter VII,) and when they return Linda's siblings try to catch her in a lie. Having had a brother 5 years older than me, I can see him again trying to dishonor me in front of Mom. :)


message 15: by Linda2 (last edited Oct 10, 2010 04:37PM) (new)

Linda2 Jeannette--it that a British term? I know trencher only as a machine for digging trenches or a medieval version of a plate, made out of stale bread, later made of wood.
Would this one be a type of shovel?


message 16: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Jeannette wrote: "What a funny image: Matthew's trencher, over the fireplace...
I worked for a customer a few years ago who had stuffed animal heads in her living room, and a bearskin rug, rare sites in the suburbs of NYC. I got the creepies every time I entered the living room.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Rochelle wrote: "Jeannette--it that a British term? I know trencher only as a machine for digging trenches or a medieval version of a plate, made out of stale bread, later made of wood.
Would this one be a type of ..."


I'm guessing that's what it is. They probably had to dig their own trenches in WWI, so I imagine they would be readily available to brain the enemy with.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Rochelle wrote: "I love this scene: Fanny and Linda sneak out unchaperoned to Tony's house (chapter VII,) and when they return Linda's siblings try to catch her in a lie. Having had a brother 5 years older than me,..."

My younger sister was always doing the same thing to me, something I never did to her.


message 19: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 We both did it. It was away of getting even for little injustices or perceived injustices. Mitford is so good at portraying sibling rivalry, and love too.


message 20: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "I caught up a bit last night. I agree with Jeannette that it was unusual to tell the story from a cousin's point of view. But I can see Fanny as intimate enough to know all of their secrets, but ju..."

Thanks for the links, Rochelle!


message 21: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "Hello all,
As The Pursuit of Love is the first of a trilogy (I hadn't realised this), are we going to be reading the subsequent novels as group reads also?"


I have both novels in my book, so will undoubtedly read Love in Cold Climate again. I did years ago and recall that I enjoyed it immensely, but don't remember much of the plot.


message 22: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "We both did it. It was away of getting even for little injustices or perceived injustices. Mitford is so good at portraying sibling rivalry, and love too."

Reading the biography of the Mitford sisters, I was amazed at the nastiness between some of them. Nancy, in particular, seemed cruel.


message 23: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Ooh, ooh, tell us the dirt.


message 24: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Would that I could remember the details! When I have a few minutes, I will try to dig up some examples.

It's Canadian Thanksgiving today, so I'm off to prepare a feast!


message 25: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Happy Thanksgiving!!


message 26: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Thanks! The pumpkin pie is in the oven. Now to the turkey. Yum!


message 27: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 220 comments So we are or are not waiting the discussion to the 15th? I just wanted to know. Happy Thanksgiving Canada!


message 28: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 You guys stole the turkey + pie idea from us!!


message 29: by Gabriele (last edited Oct 11, 2010 08:22AM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
SarahC wrote: "So we are or are not waiting the discussion to the 15th? I just wanted to know. Happy Thanksgiving Canada!"

Yes, I think we should. I'm not far into the book yet anyway. I thought I should respond to current comments, so I apologize for the confusion.

OK, my kitchen is calling me! Talk to you all later this week.


message 30: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "You guys stole the turkey + pie idea from us!!"

Haha!


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe it was just the "Finished" thread that was asked to be closed until October 15?


message 32: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Jeannette wrote: "Maybe it was just the "Finished" thread that was asked to be closed until October 15?"

Definitely that one, Jeannette, but perhaps we should also pause this one so that we don't get too far ahead of those planning to join on the 15th.

On the other hand, I also know that when one has a thought to share, it is convenient to have a forum. And I don't want to curb discussions that flow naturally.


message 33: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
I'm not far into the book as I only have about 10 minutes a day for pleasure reading, but I am amused at how autobiographical this novel seems. Yes, the Mitford kids had the Hons society, and one of them (Jessica, I think), like Jassy, was planning to run away from home. I really must find some time to skim through the biography again to refresh my memory.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

10 minutes a day - wow! I hope this is only a temporary thing.

I think I'll have to pass on this group read - the library hasn't got it. Neither has it got Dickens' Hard Times, which is somewhat annoying. I'll be sure to pop by and see how you're all getting along with it though :)


message 35: by Gabriele (last edited Oct 15, 2010 02:21PM) (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "10 minutes a day - wow! I hope this is only a temporary thing.

I think I'll have to pass on this group read - the library hasn't got it. Neither has it got Dickens' Hard Times, which is somewhat..."


Awww! So sorry that you can't join us, Lauren!

The 10 minutes are spent reading in bed so exhausted that the book usually falls in my face. Anyone who chooses a career as an author should have her head examined! (Actually, I LOVE the research and writing.)


message 36: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Lauren, you can get a used copy from GR Swap for just the price of postage, about $2.50.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50...

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/83...


These days I buy all my books used. There's also paperbackbookswap.com, which gives you 2 credits when you post your first 10 books to swap. You can make your comments later.


message 37: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 18, 2010 02:41PM) (new)

Rochelle wrote: "Lauren, you can get a used copy from GR Swap for just the price of postage, about $2.50.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5..."


Rochelle, thanks for the links, but bookswap hasn't come to us in the poor deprived UK yet :P I might have a look on Amazon actually - there's always a cheap copy there.

Gabriele, hmm fair enough! Are you still researching Muskoka or is your new book to be set elsewhere? I've had a look on google and god, it's so beautiful where you are. I shall have to put in on my very long list of places to visit one day.


message 38: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Didn't know you were in the UK. Maybe there's something similar.


message 39: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "Gabriele, hmm fair enough! Are you still researching Muskoka or is your new book to be set elsewhere? I've had a look on google and god, it's so beautiful where you are. I shall have to put in on my very long list of places to visit one day."

Yes, Book 3 is set in Muskoka and elsewhere. (Books 1 & 2 were also largely set in Britain and France.) The tag-line for Muskoka is "Once discovered, never forgotten." I can attest to that, as it is a magical place that refreshes my soul. Hope you do have a chance to visit one day, Lauren! Did you see some of the pics on my trailer? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcAOJb...


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

I did indeed :) Were I to live in such a place, I would do nothing but laze about looking at the view. Did you you take the photos/stills?


message 41: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "I did indeed :) Were I to live in such a place, I would do nothing but laze about looking at the view. Did you you take the photos/stills?"

My daughter took the photos. It is my dream to retire to Muskoka, but it is very $$$$$ to live on one of the lakes. In the meantime, I visit when I can. You can see how it could inspire.


message 42: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (muskoka) | 526 comments Mod
Having read a bit more, I'm beginning to find that I don't like the narration style. Too much is being told rather being being experienced, so I don't get a real sense of being there with the characters, actually getting to know them. Fanny doesn't even talk about herself, saying her life isn't important, as she's telling Linda's story. Hmmm.

Somehow the narrator-as-onlooker worked in The Great Gatsby, where I did feel as if I were seeing things through his eyes - from the sidelines, yet somewhat involved. I don't get that same sense with this book.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe that's why I had a hard time getting into this book. When the focus settled on Linda, I felt more connected to the story.


message 44: by SarahC (last edited Oct 22, 2010 06:47AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 220 comments I can understand what you are saying. In my case, I think my beginning expectations may have then dampened my reading of the book. I had some impressions that the story would continue to be more a tale of the whole family -- which it was, but it wasn't. I don't think I really like that it became Linda's story somehow, but Jeannette, certainly not because it wasn't interesting (I can see how you liked this part more). Again, I think that is because I was still expecting more about Fanny and the others. I think, similar to Gabriele, that it was an odd narrative, set up differently in different parts of the book.

I do probably need to read more of Mitford to get more of an understanding of how her stories flow. I just don't know if I will do that soon or not.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Until I realized that this was to be Linda's story, I was kept off balance by Fanny's narrative. Things happened, big things, without much ado, like the older sister getting married and Linda meeting Mr. Right. (Sorry, the book went back to the library and I have forgotten some names.)


message 46: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 220 comments I am having a time remembering the names myself right now. One sis was Louise maybe. I guess it is not your typical novel structure, is it?

I was also just thinking about Gabriele's comparison to Gatsby. I possibly see what you mean. To me, in Gatsby, Nick the narrator managed to bring some sort of strength or interest across, so that I cared more about him and his outcome than I did Fanny.


message 47: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 220 comments Oh, maybe we should just go ahead and make an agreement that if we call the wrong names for characters, we'll be forgiving -- and probably be able to figure out what we mean! My neighbor tells her kids and family that when she calls the wrong name -- she says "Yes, but you knew who I meant!" haha


message 48: by Ivan (new)

Ivan That was my mom: "Ruth, Kathy, I mean Donna!" But with me it was always: "BOY!" "Boy, don't sass me!" "Where is that boy?" "Boy, get in this house!"


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

My mom tended to call me Jack. He's my older brother.


message 50: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 Re: the book being off-balance and changing tone midway--critics generally regard this as the lesser of the two novels. It's more like an experiment leading up to Love in a Cold Climate 4 years later. Ivan, you've read both, and I haven't finished it yet. Is Love more cohesive?


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