2016 Classics Challenge: June | ‘The Pursuit of Love’ by Nancy Mitford

the pursuit of love

WHEN I Discovered This Classic

I picked up a copy of this in my local independent bookshop in March. I’d heard of Nancy Mitford before, and of Love in a Cold Climate, but never realised it was part of a series.

WHY I Chose to Read It

Unusually, it was the blurb that made me interested – as I’ve discussed here before, I really do hate a bad blurb, but the description for The Pursuit of Love I think is really well done. It describes the story as it actually is, and while it gives away a few plot-points, because of the writing style I’m not sure they could be considered spoilers. I decided to pick it up as my June classic because, from the first few pages, it wasn’t like anything I’d read before.

WHAT Makes It A Classic

The sharp wit and intelligence with which Nancy Mitford explores the topic of growing up and falling in love, and I suspect, the intrinsic Englishness of the whole story.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic

I adored it. I loved Mitford’s humour, and the little moments of unexpected seriousness that creep in, making it not entirely a cosy read. I’m endlessly amused by Uncle Matthew’s review of Romeo and Juliet and Linda’s assessment of her husbands at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The characters are brilliantly formed and drawn, and the absurdity of the upper classes – of pretty much everyone, really – is so gently teased.

WILL It Stay A Classic

I absolutely hope so, and I believe it will, as there seems to be such general affection for Mitford’s work. Her work already speaks of a time and social context which is entirely changed from how we live today, and speaks across that divide perfectly well.

WHO I’d Recommend It To

This is tricky – I suppose, people looking for a high-quality but not a stressful read. I think probably fans of Alexander McCall Smith or Jane Austen, and those looking for unusual stories about growing up.

2016 Classics Challenge

 

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