Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate is a wickedly funny satire, brilliantly lampooning upper-class society.
When Polly, a beautiful aristocrat, declares her love for her married, lecherous uncle – who also happens to be her mother’s former lover – she sparks off a scandal that has both disastrous and delicious consequences. Love in a Cold Climate is an unforgettable tale of the absurdities and obsessions of the elite.
Sometimes a book need be nothing more than just ‘rollicking good fun!’ (as the British upper classes might say) and a perfect description of this month’s classic read Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. The over-drawn, preposterous characters had many of us laughing out loud, and once the small but conscious jump is made into Mitford’s writing style, there is nothing but fun to had within the lives of these satirical upper-crust characters.
We all had our favourites … Polly, Lady Montdore, Davey, Cedric, Aunt Emily … the cast is a wonderful mixture of crazy eccentrics that go about their business, never seeing or believing in the absurdity of their world or their part in it. Some of us were able to see people we know (or have known) within the characters, which always brings some enjoyment and a little more perspective to the reading.
We couldn’t find too much to be serious about with this novel. If there was a sober side it was the questionable fact that Polly needed only her beauty to happily exist. Although, we did end up having an interesting conversation on women’s education and marriage in the early 1900s, and the Mitford girls and their rather dubious relationship choices.
To finish, we all agreed with Nancy that Cedric’s parting comment summed up much of the book and was a classic worth noting …
‘So here we all are, my darling, having our lovely cake and eating it too. One’s great aim in life.’