Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

Another one I’m sure sister goes on about a lot, ‘Love In A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford, or at least she goes on about the Mitford sisters a lot. The Mitford family were minor aristocrats, and the siblings became famous for their style and varied political leanings.  Nancy Mitford became a writer (obvs), Deborah married a nephew of prime minister Harold Macmillan and joined the Social Democratic Party, Jessica married a nephew of Winston Churchill and then became a communist.

Apparently, Pamela remained non-political but was anti-semitic.  Diana married fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley and was the mother of Max Mosley.  Diana and Unity were rather fond of Hitler, Unity tried to kill herself on the outbreak of WW2 by shooting herself.

Anyway, the book is a follow up to ‘The Pursuit of Love’ which I haven’t read, but that didn’t seem disadvantageous to me.  The protagonist Fanny has just ‘come out’ although in the 1920’s in which the book is set that means she is ‘out’ as an adult, on the market for a husband.  The real story of the book is about beautiful Polly, whom Fanny is distantly related.  I suppose the criticism of the book would be that I struggled to keep track of who everyone was and how they were related.

Anyway, Polly is disinterested in the young men around her and shows no interest in marriage or anything really much to her mother’s annoyance.  That is until her aunt dies and she then proposes to her widowed uncle-in-law who she claims to have been in love with since she was 14.  At various points in the book there are references to his affairs, and sexual advances to young girls, although no one seems to care all that much.  He was also her mother’s lover for many years.  Anyway they go off and get married, only a few weeks after his wife’s death which is quite a scandal.  Polly’s mother refuses to speak to either of them and her father disinherits her.  So they move to Europe for a few years.

Before any of this kicked off, Fanny has married Alfred who is an Oxford don but we only get a few glimpses into their lives.  Which is a shame because I found their everyday lives actually more interesting, to me anyway, and I guess I kinda wanted to see a happy marriage in contrast with all the other nonsense going on.  Although I think there was another book about them.