Wednesday, July 17, 2019

46. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

I have now started adding the source or reference for books that I have on my wanted list.  Too many times I find a book and I have completely forgotten how it came to my attention. Such is the case with Nancy Mitford.  My sense is that it came indirectly from a high-falutin' place (I am not in direct contact with such places) such as the New Yorker.  She, I believe, had a minor renaissance recently, as evinced by the beautiful Folio version I found at Pulp Fiction books in Vancouver (their store on West Broadway). 

Given my gradually increasing tendency towards British Literature, with an emphasis on the upper classes, this book fell perfectly in my area of current interest.  It is kind of like Trollope on crack, although there really is much less of a true narrative here and it takes place in the mid-20th century.  Things have changed a lot from Trollope's time and at least in this book, Mitford is much funnier.  Maybe it would be more accurate to say that Mitford is sort of a blend of Trollope and P.G. Wodehouse.  At it's core is the same desire to look at the characters and behaviours of the British aristocracy.

Love in a Cold Climate follows the Hampton family, the perfect British gentleman and man of state who is the father, the egotistical and motivating wife and their beautiful, disconnected daughter, Polly.  That trio and the various characters around them are expertly and humorously described by the more middle class, though still from an aristocratic family of her own (with an equally entertaining portrayal), narrator, a cousin and friend to Polly.  There isn't a lot of story at first and the crux of the plot is around when and who Polly decides to marry and the fallout.  It's the ride that is the real pleasure.  Not all her books were social comedies, so I am not sure about her entire bibliography but I will now be looking in the literature section of used book stores for her other books like that.  I believe that this is actually the second book and I should have started with The Pursuit of Love.  Both were at the bookstore and I only took this one, not being sure.  Fool, I.

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