They were known as the Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege in the early years of the 20th century, they became prominent as 'bright young things' in the high society of interwar London.
Then, as the shadows crept over 1930s Europe, the stark - and very public - differences in their outlooks came to symbolize the political polarities of a dangerous decade.
©2015 Laura Thompson (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd
"I was enthralled and charmed by this group biography of all six Mitford sisters, which tells the intertwined stories of their stylish scandalous lives." (The Bookseller)
I was a little anxious when I began this book that it wouldn't tell me anything that I hadn't already learned from "The Mitford Girls" (another excellent biography) or Hons and Rebels, but I was happily proved wrong. Where The Mitford Girls is more of a chronological, factual recounting of the sisters lives, this book examines their relationships and motivations in more depth while still recounting their life stories. I also learned far more about the affect their behaviour had on their parents and how Nancy used their lives in her books. All in all I would not hesitate to recommend this book. It has lead me back to reading the Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate in a much more informed way than the first time I read them.
Finally a word about the Narrator, she is truly fantastic, I will be seeking out more books read by her, she really brought the book to life.
Great narration with numerous 'voices'. Difficult book to like, wholeheartedly as the individuals were so diverse. But it's an astonishing account and I feel the richer for learning more about these Seriously strange sisters.
Too many to single out one.
It made me angry, sad, disillusioned and ultimately left with a sense of wonder as to how a single family could have so many disparate and diverse talents. Dysfunctional doesn't even scratch the surface!
At times, the narrative flits back and forth; initially irritating, but as the story unfolded, I found this added to the sense of difference between each of these unusual and remarkable individuals. They're a difficult group yo understand; undoubted literary talent, fashionable, aristocratic and it's srange to think that the youngest sister, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, died only a couple of years ago. They all seem to be from a long gone age and yet they're part of a very recent past. Moseley, Hitler, Waugh, Churchill, Wallis Simpson, imprisonment without charge or trial, debutante coming out balls... all play a part in this astonishing slice of mainly 20th Century social history.
It's enthralling, often irritating but ultimately totally compelling. Can't sh I liked any of them much, but they aroused feelings of sympathy and distaste and certainly shaped a number of events.
Great narrator but the book itself is a little confusing in what concerns timelines. I believe it would be quite hard to follow for someone who doesn't already have some background knowledge of the family.
More substance and less fanciful descriptions.
I expected more setting within the historical events and to come away really understanding each sister's life and contribution. I'm afraid I just felt they were shallow individuals that I didn't want to hear any more of. Maybe I started with the wrong book...
She matched the subject well.
I tend to see books through to the end but decided on this one that life really is too short.
I soldiered on to chapter 6 but found the author's attempt to give this group of shallow, self obsessed women such admirable qualities, rather painful.
This book is very cleverly crafted; it never lingers on any one sister or any one event, but I still felt at the end that I'd enjoyed 6 (7 including Tom) individual biographies as well as one for the whole family. I don't know how the author manages to cover so much ground and include so much detail while the storylines fly along. An excellent narrator makes this a fascinating listen.
I have read a lot of books about the Mitfords and a lot of what they each individually wrote, mainly Nancy, whose biographies are really excellent. So I was unsure if this book would add much or anything to my knowledge but it did. It does come at things from a different perspective and explores the mind-set of the family - beyond the six girls too - as well as the facts/dates/events. And there are nuggets of new information that I didn't have before. But anyway it was interesting to get a new 'voice' on a family with whom I have been obsessed for many years.
I was impressed with the research and the comparative notes which the writer included - for example, contradictions in letters from or about different Mitfords. Actually I think the most interesting 'girls' are Pamela and Deborah who seem to be have been the most truthful!
The narrative is fine. I really like the reader's natural voice; but some of the accents and characters she does are a bit annoying - arguably, biographical or factual books don't need that much 'acting' but I did get used to it and in the end I could tell which Mitford she was being, usually. She does men quite well.
I wish Audible would also offer us the excellent Mitford Girls by MS Lovell (a bit frothier than this book but very good) and Letters Between Six Sisters ed C Mosley, both of which I have read and which I would love to have have read to me!
Maggie Mash reads this with style and force, very much like the sisters themselves might. I've read most books about this family yet still gained some insight from this audiobook. Excellently done. Highly recommended.
More chronological structure and better narration
Not yet known
This family were so fascinating it would not be possible to write a book about them that was completely dull but it was nevertheless a disappointment.
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