THE MITFORD GIRLS tells the true story behind the gaiety and frivolity of the six Mitford daughters - and the facts are as sensational as any novel: Nancy, whose bright social existence masked an obsessional doomed love which soured her success; Pam, a countrywoman married to one of the best brains in Europe; Diana, an iconic beauty, who was already married when at 22 she fell in love with Oswald Moseley, the leader of the British fascists; Unity, who romantically in love with Hitler, became a member of his inner circle before shooting herself in the temple when WWII was declared; Jessica, the family rebel, who declared herself a communist in the schoolroom and the youngest sister, Debo, who became the Duchess of Devonshire.This is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, containing much new material, based on exclusive access to Mitford archives.
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(198mm x 130mm x 42mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Almost as many books seem to have been written about the Mitfords as about the Bloomsbury circle; and here is another, this time about all six daughters of the eccentric Lord Redesdale. Lovell has had the co-operation of the two surviving sisters, Debo (Duchess of Devonshire) and Diana (widow of the British fascist Oswald Mosley) - perhaps rather surprisingly given, since previous books about the family have all too often led to disapproval and disassociation. This is a very thorough piece of work, and although - because each of the sisters deserves a biography of her own (and several have had one) - it necessarily cuts a few corners, it offers a very vivid picture of a really astonishing family. The two polar figures of the family were Diana and Jessica (Decca) - the former and her husband became hate-figures during World War II because of their fascist sympathies, while Decca went off to fight against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and was later thoroughly persecuted in the USA for her communist beliefs. Of the other four, Nancy became an exceptionally entertaining writer, Pamela was the beauty of the family, Debo married the Duke of Devonshire, while Unity (whose other forename was, prophetically, Valkyrie) became fixated on Hitler (one of whose favourite women she was), shot herself in the head when war was declared, and was lovingly protected by the family until her death in 1948. Not all of the sisters were perhaps sufficiently notable to merit a biography; but the effect of them as a family remains astonishing and memorable. Incidentally, the author does much to correct the picture of the family given in Nancy's splendidly funny books - 'Farve', in particular, is clearly a caricature of Lord Redesdale, and it is good to have the scales properly balanced. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Mary S. Lovell
Mary Lovell lists her chief interests as horses, sailing, aviation and book collecting. She enjoys overseas travel and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She is the author of four previous biographies including the international bestseller STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING: The Biography of Beryl Markham.