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Mitford, Nancy

marriage english french novel

(British, 1904–73)

Nancy Mitford was born into the family of the famously eccentric 2nd Lord Redesdale, and she chronicled the early years of her life in her first successful novel, The Pursuit of Love (1945). But a more mature novel, The Blessing (1951), has much to recommend it: a portrait of a marriage between a very proper English girl and a charming, arrogant French Marquis with several mistresses. A further obstacle to a happy marriage is the ‘Blessing’ of the title, their young son, Sigismond, who realizes that, as long as his mother and father are estranged, he gets twice as many presents and treats as usual. The Blessingis witty and amusingly perceptive on the differences between the English and French character. Mitford's sister Jessica has written a hilarious autobiography, Hons and Rebels (1960) which is recommended.

Evelyn Waugh  CH

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