The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love
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Rating: 4.2 /5

Author: Nancy Mitford

Pages: 207 pages

Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 12 November 2015

Language: English

Genre: Contemporary fiction


Cost: Rs. 203 (Paperback), Rs.137 (Hardcover)


Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love is one of the funniest, sharpest novels about love and growing up.

'He was the great love of her life you know.'

'Oh, dulling,' said my mother, sadly, 'One always thinks that. Every, every time.'

Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and let's not even mention the mysteries of sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the hunt for the ideal lover. But finding the perfect match is much harder than any of the sisters had ever dreamed. Linda is first courted by a Tory MP and then becomes embroiled with a handsome but humourless communist, before she risks everything on a chance at real, head-over-heels love in war-torn Paris


It is a darker book than it seems, the superficial lightness conceals a faint pessimism about love's pursuit and its consequences. Linda Radlett, the intensely English heroine, is the most beautiful of an eccentric well to do family. Lord Alconleigh doesn't approve of educating women or of foreigners, intellectuals and other sundry ‘sewers’, while fraternising with the opposite sex is limited to hunt meets and rural dances.

The story's genius lies in its wicked humour, which remains uplifting even as the Blitz begin to smash all the hopes of that pre-war arcadia. Not everyone will warm to Mitford's bright, brittle tone. With the advent of war her acute ability to poke fun achieves a kind of perfection. The ironies of the very posh are very amusing and unique to it’s core.

She has a gift for vivid characterisation, which Mitford developed in her fictional works. She may have inherited some of her natural wit and sharpness of expression from her maternal grandfather Thomas Bowles, who in his youth during the Franco-Prussian War had provided dispatches which Acton describes as ‘extremely graphic and amusing’. Mitford's fiction, based on upper-class family life belongs to the genre of the comedy of manners. Her protagonists are typically, intelligent women surrounded by eccentric characters determined to find life amusing.

About the author:

Nancy Freeman-Mitford CBE (28 November 1904 – 30 June 1973), known as Nancy Mitford, was an English novelist, biographer and journalist. The eldest of the Mitford sisters, she was regarded as one of the "Bright Young People" on the London social scene in the inter-war years. Mitford began writing, encouraged by Waugh. Her first efforts, anonymous contributions to gossip columns in society magazines, led to occasional signed articles, and in 1930, The Lady engaged her to write a regular column. Critics generally place the post war novels in a different league from the earlier efforts; Cooke describes The Pursuit of Love as "an immaculate novel that soars many miles above what came before". In Acton's view it and its companion volume Love in a Cold Climate present an entirely authentic picture of country house life in England between the wars, and will long be consulted by historians of the period.