Book Reviews

Don’t Tell Alfred By Nancy Mitford (1960)

Don’t Tell Alfred (1960) was the last novel by British author Nancy Mitford (1904 –1973) and the final installment of the loose trilogy encompassing The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). 

Like the two previous novels, Don’t Tell Alfred is narrated by Frances (“Fanny”) Wincham. It takes place some twenty years after the previous two (whose timelines were more or less concurrent) and focuses on the narrator herself.

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are told from her perspective but have different main characters, both of whom are cousins of Fanny. Read More→


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Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford (1949)

Love in a Cold Climate (1949) was the follow-up novel to The Pursuit of Love (1945) by British novelist, biographer, and journalist Nancy Mitford (1904 – 1973).

Not a sequel but a companion volume of sorts to its predecessor, like Mitford’s other novels, it satirized upper-class life in England. 

The Pursuit of Love was Mitford’s fifth novel but her first breakaway success, selling two hundred thousand copies within the first year. It set the stage for Love in a Cold Climate, which proved to be equally successful.  Read More→


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The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945)

The Pursuit of Love (1945) was British author Nancy Mitford’s fifth novel, and her first breakout success. The first of what was to become a trilogy, it was followed by Love in a Cold Climate (1949; arguably the best known of her many works) and Don’t Tell Alfred (1960).

The Pursuit of Love sold two hundred thousand copies within the first year, making Nancy Mitford financially independent for the first time in her life.

Adapted as a television miniseries in 2021, The Pursuit of Love marked the directorial debut of Emily Mortimer (who also had the role of Fanny’s mother, “the Bolter”). This well-received three-part series revitalized interest in Mitford’s work, much as earlier adaptations of Love in a Cold Climate had done. Read More→


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Lolly Willowes; or The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Lolly Willowes; or The Loving Huntsman was the first novel by modernist author Sylvia Townsend Warner. Published in 1926, it’s now considered an early feminist classic. 

Considered comedy of manners, this novel is steeped in social satire. This collection of reviews was gathered in High Collars & Monocles: 1920s Novels by British Female Couples by Francis Booth, © 2020. Reprinted by Permission.

Following is a synopsis and two reviews from 1926, when the book was originally published. A more recent look back at Lolly Willows in the Guardian lauds it as a social satire and “an elegantly enchanting tale that transcends its era.” Read More→


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China Court by Rumer Godden (1961)

At first glimpse, China Court by Rumer Godden, the prolific British author, seems fairly straightforward. But this 1961 novel is a book of subtlety and many layers. The grand house that is called China Court is almost a character in itself, developing alongside its human inhabitants. 

Though not as widely read as she was during her lifetime, Rumer Godden’s books still resonate with contemporary readers. Though there are some mixed reviews, overall, China Court ranks highly in this reader discussion on Goodreads.

Originally subtitled The Hours of a Country House, here it’s described by the publisher of the 2021 edition (Open Road Media): Read More→


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