Nancy Mitford’s life was as glamorous and as dramatic as her most famous novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.
Mitford was witty, intelligent, often acerbic, a great tease, and an acute observer of upper-class English idiosyncrasies. With the publication of her comic novels, based in part on her eccentric family, she became a huge bestseller and household name. An inspired letter writer, she wrote almost daily to a wide variety of correspondents, among them Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, John Betjeman, and, of course, her famous sisters. Noted biographer Selina Hastings captures the gaiety and frivolity as well as the unhappy truth of Nancy Mitford’s life: her failed marriage and her long, unfulfilled relationship with her dashing but unfaithful French lover contrasting sharply with literary celebrity and glittering social success. Hastings has written a biography that is as superbly entertaining and clear-eyed as the unforgettable novels that are its subject’s lasting claim to fame.
Selina Hastings worked at the Daily Telegraph before becoming the literary editor for Harpers & Queen. She is the author of Nancy Mitford: A Biography; Rosamond Lehmann;Evelyn Waugh: A Biography, which won the Marsh Biography Award; and The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she has been a judge of the Booker, Whitbread, British Academy, Ondaatje, and Duff Cooper prizes, and of the UK Biographers’ Award.
“Selina Hastings has written a book which Nancy Mitford would have been proud to write herself.” —A. N. Wilson, Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Very perceptive and often very funny.” —Peter Ackroyd, Sunday Times (London)