Love from Nancy

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Nancy Mitford, noted author of many novels, including her first best-seller, THE PURSUIT OF LOVE (1945), and the comic masterpiece LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE (1949), was also a biographer and a prolific letter writer as well. The oldest of six daughters and one son in her well-to-do family, she had connections all of her life with the British nobility, political leaders, writers and publishers, and others who made and shaped England especially around the period of World War II.

Mitford had an unsatisfactory marriage to Peter Rodd and later lived for decades in Paris, where she had an extended and often unhappy relationship with “Colonel” Gaston Palewski, a leader in the French government under Charles De Gaulle. The letters contain much biography not only of Mitford herself and her diverse family but also of their era, and much of her commentary is both entertaining and insightful.

This is the first time Nancy Mitford’s correspondence has been collected. Editor Charlotte Mosley selected some five hundred from more than eight thousand letters. The first given is a handprinted but quite formal note to her mother in 1912. The last in the collection is to Gaston Palewski on June 8, 1973, which begins “I’m truly ill.” It was Mitford’s last letter; she died June 30.

Charlotte Mosley is married to Alexander Mosley, the son of Nancy’s sister Diana and Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists prior to the World War II. The careful footnoting and indexing of information and the biographical commentary that introduces each chronological section of letters show Charlotte to be understandably fascinated with this era and the lives and numerous publications of her famous relatives.