This book tells the story of the Radlett family, and primarily one of the daughters Linda. Set just before and during World War II, and told through the eyes of her beloved cousin Fanny, Linda embarks on a search for love with takes her through two failed marriages before she finally finds real passion and romance in Paris (no spoilers here; this information is on the back of the book).
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Much has been made of Nancy Mitford’s razor-sharp wit, and while she certainly is very witty and acerbic at times, the story was spoiled for me by the character of Linda (apparently based on Nancy Mitford herself).
Some readers may have found the character to be endearing, but I simply found her irritating. She seemed to have no thought whatsoever for anybody’s feelings except her own, falling in love at the drop of a hat with no regard for whether she or the man in question is already in a relationship. She also abandons her daughter and feels no guilt for it, blaming the girls’s father for making her daughter boring. Worse still is the fact that people around her seem to condone her behaviour for no other reasons than that she is charming and beautiful.
The other characters are not explored particularly well. I would have liked to have learned more about Fanny the narrator, who may have been the less glamorous cousin, but seemed infinitely kinder and more selfless than Linda. The only other characters who I felt the reader could really get to know were Fanny’s aunt’s husband Davey (who veered between being lovable and obnoxious) and their neighbour Lord Merlin – the only character who seemed to be able to stand up to Linda and tell her when she was behaving badly. Overall, it wasn’t a disaster and I still intend to read Nancy Mitford’s ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ but this book was generally a disappointment to me.
(For more information on the author, please click here.)