Book Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Is Love In A Cold Climate A Modern Classic?

I’m slowly making headway with my plan to revisit and update all my old review posts. It’s tempting to rewrite them, particularly those from the very first years of blogging when I was still learning the ropes. But I’m restricting myself to changing just the format and adding some biographical info about the author.

I thought I’d start to share these as part of #ThrowbackThursday as hosted by Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog.

Today’s rewind will be from June 2019 and is a book deemed to be a classic: Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.

Cover of Love in A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

About the Book

Love In A Cold Climate was published in 1949 as a sequel to The Pursuit of Love, with which it shares a narrator and several other characters. It is a book about rich, aristocratic people who believe they deserve their privileged life. Lady Montdore expects her daughter Polly to make a glittering marriage but the girl has other ideas. She rejects all the young men she meets in the London season and scandalises society by declaring her love for her uncle ‘Boy’ Dougdale, (aka the Lecherous Lecturer) with whom she elopes.

It’s usually described as a showcase for Mitford’s “sharp and often provocative wit. ”

My Reaction

Perhaps I came to this book with my expectations set too high. Nancy Mitford was one of the “bright young things” on the London social scene in the inter-war period with a reputation for poking fun at the very kind of aristocratic family from which she descended.

I was looking forward to some shrewd observations about members of this class and some subversive attitudes. But all I found was

a slightly funny book parading the absurdities of a bunch of people who are supremely confident in many things, but particularly their superiority above all other mortals.

Though The Pursuit of Love did contain some humour, notably one tremendous scene which shows up the pretentiousness of a rich aristocratic woman, I didn’t detect any of the much-vaunted sparking wit. It was like a glass of champagne left too long before drinking – slightly bubbly but not exactly fizzing. It’s left me questioning whether this novel really deserves to be considered a modern day classic.

Click here to read my full review

Have you read this book? I’m curious whether I completely misread this novel so if you’ve read it, maybe you can point me to the “sharp and often provocative wit” and persuade me to give Nancy Mitford a second chance.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

15 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Is Love In A Cold Climate A Modern Classic?

  • I think I’m more interested in her bigraphy than her novels! One day…

  • It’s a long time since I read this but I can’t remember being overwhelmed by it, and my patience for tales of the privileged classes has worn a lot thinner since…

  • The recent TV adaptation of The Pursuit of Love was a curious thing which may be partly down to a knowingly comedic script and direction, partly to weaknesses in the original novel, and partly to my inability to connect with the lifestyle. This sequel isn’t one I intend reading, even as I don’t intend reading its predecessor; I’m glad you read it so I don’t have to!

  • I haven’t read the Mitford books, but comedy about privileged decadence is not a genre that appeals to me, so I guess I your extract from your review would.

  • I just started an arc today that’s a histfic about Nancy M called The Booksellers Secret.

    • Any author would have plenty of material upon which to draw – what a life she had.

  • Welcome! I hope this will get more people to visit your older reviews.

  • Have you read the biography of the Mitford Sisters? What a fascinating bunch… I can’t quite remember the name of it, but it’s very interesting. A fair amount of darkness in their story.

  • I love the structure that throwback Thursday provides me for updating old posts! I’ve been doing it for a while and I’m finally reaching posts that don’t need quite so much TLC as the earliest ones!

    • I’ve been doing updates for a while too – some of them were so bad that i don’t know if I can bare to read them again

  • I HAVE read the book but, alas, can be of no assistance, as this occurred so many years in the past I remember little about it. I read it in conjunction with The Pursuit of Love, which I thought was a slightly better novel. I enjoyed both books at the time. I’ve considered re-reading one or both, but was afraid that I’d now find them a little flat. So — I take great interest in your re-read and your review.

    • That’s happened to me often – I read a book, enjoy it but then years (sometimes even only months) later I can’t remember much about it


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