Mary S. Lovell - The Mitford Girls - Little, Brown Book Group
Available Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780748109210
    • Publication date:04 Sep 2008

The Mitford Girls

By Mary S. Lovell

  • Paperback
  • £12.99

* A revealing - amusing and sad - biography of a unique family

THE MITFORD GIRLS tells the true story behind the gaiety and frivolity of the six Mitford daughters - and the facts are as sensational as any novel: Nancy, whose bright social existence masked an obsessional doomed love which soured her success; Pam, a countrywoman married to one of the best brains in Europe; Diana, an iconic beauty, who was already married when at 22 she fell in love with Oswald Moseley, the leader of the British fascists; Unity, who romantically in love with Hitler, became a member of his inner circle before shooting herself in the temple when WWII was declared; Jessica, the family rebel, who declared herself a communist in the schoolroom and the youngest sister, Debo, who became the Duchess of Devonshire.This is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, containing much new material, based on exclusive access to Mitford archives.

Biographical Notes

Mary Lovell lists her chief interests as horses, sailing, aviation and book collecting. She enjoys overseas travel and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She is the author of four previous biographies including the international bestseller STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING: The Biography of Beryl Markham.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349115054
  • Publication date: 18 Jul 2002
  • Page count: 624
In The Mitford Girls, Mary S Lovell cordially brings together the varied personalities of an eccentric British blue-eyed sisterhood that spanned the 20th century. Born of "minor provincial aristocracy", as the late Lord Longford put it, the six Mitford sisters and one brother came to epitomise the Bright Young Thing generation of London society, hosting the extravagant, giddy parties lampooned by Evelyn Waugh in Vile Bodies. Nancy, the literary dry wit, was herself to write several successful novels, most notably Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, which followed the family prescription of fact doused with fiction. Notoriety, though, came elsewhere. Diana, beautiful and strong-willed, left Bryan Guinness the month Hitler came to power in Germany to be with dashing British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, whom she eventually married. A meeting of hearts and beliefs, they stayed together through internment during the war, and the years after. Tragedy came with the manic public fervour of the unfortunately named Unity for Hitler and the German Nazi Party. She met the F?hrer on 140 occasions between 1935 and 1939, achieving a rare intimacy, but when war broke out she shot herself in a vain bid to end her life, which left her disabled for the rest of her life. Decca was the leftwing antithesis of Unity, who wrote The American Way of Death and Hons and Rebels, the latter every bit as witty as Nancy's work. The other siblings--Pam, wooed by John Betjeman, Debo, who became Duchess of Devonshire, and Tom--receive fairly scant attention in an account understandably dominated by pre-1945 events, when much of the British aristocracy flirted with fascism. In abstaining from judgement, Lovell, who writes fluently and never loses sight of her charges, comes close to underplaying the Mitford s' more unsavoury views and behaviour, though her task is inevitably fraught with negotiation, particularly as Debo and Diana are still alive. The diverse energies of this multi-plumed brood, who in adult life were rarely in the same room, make them hard to contain in one book, and perhaps require more distance to do justice to the themes, and disparities, of their extraordinary lives. — David Vincent, AMAZON.CO.UK
In the first book devoted to the whole tribe, Lovell does sterling work in revising our Nancy-made image of her parents in her novel THE PURSUIT OF LOVE — Sunday TIMES

Jessica Mitford

Jessica Mitford was the fifth of the six Mitford daughters and always the rebel among her sisters - Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity and Debo. At the age of nineteen she eloped to the Spanish Civil War with her cousin, Esmond Romilly, and the two of them moved to the USA in 1939. Esmond Romilly died in action in 1941 and Jessica later married Bob Treuhaft, a lawyer, with whom she lived in California. A one-time member of the American Communist Party, Jessica was a frequent target for the House Committee of Un-American Activities and was a passionate supporter of civil rights.

Abacus

Straight On Till Morning

Mary S. Lovell

Beryl Markham, like Karen Blixen, could only have come out of Africa. Pioneering aviatrix, flamboyant beauty, brilliant race-horse trainer, unscrupulous seducer - her life story is for every reader who was enthralled by Blixen's exotic world, that of Kenya between the wars. This fully authorised biography, drawn from the author's personal association with Beryl and her family, paints a vivid portrait of a tempestuous and controversial character. It tells of her friendship with Karen Blixen (though she commandeered Blixen's husband Bror and lover Denys Finch Hatton), of her spectacular courage when she became the first person to fly from England to America, and of the mysteries surrounding her highly praised, bestselling book WEST WITH THE NIGHT.

Mary S. Lovell

Mary Lovell lists her chief interests as horses, sailing, aviation and book collecting. She enjoys overseas travel and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She is the author of four previous biographies including the international bestseller STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING: The Biography of Beryl Markham.

Abacus

Amelia Earhart

Mary S. Lovell
Abacus

A Rage To Live

Mary S. Lovell

Richard Burton was a brilliant, charismatic man - a unique blend of erudite scholar and daring adventurer. Fluent in twenty-nine languages, he found it easy to pass himself off as a native, thereby gaining unique insight into societies otherwise closed to Western scrutiny. He followed service as an intelligence officer in India by a daring penetration of the sacred Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina disguised as a pilgrim. He was the first European to enter the forbidden African city of Harar, and discovered Lake Tanganyika in his search for the source of the Nile. His fascination with, and research into, the intimate customs of ethnic races (which would eventually culminate in his brilliant Kama Sutra) earned him a racy reputation in that age of sexual repression.Little surprise, then, that Isabel Arundell's aristocratic mother objected to her daughter's marriage to this most notorious of figures. Isabel, however, was a spirited, independent-minded woman and was also deeply, passionately in love with Richard. Against all expectations but their own, the Burtons enjoyed a remarkably successful marriage.

Abacus

Bess Of Hardwick

Mary S. Lovell

Bess of Hardwick was one of the most remarkable women of the Tudor era. Gently-born in reduced circumstances, she was married at 15, wedded at 16 and still a virgin. At 19 she married a man more than twice her age, Sir William Cavendish, a senior auditor in King Henry VIII's Court of Augmentations. Responsible for seizing church properties for the crown during the Dissolution, Cavendish enriched himself in the process. During the reign of King Edward VI, Cavendish was the Treasurer to the boy king and sisters and he and Bess moved in the highest levels of society. They had a London home and built Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. After Cavendish's death her third husband was poisoned by his brother. Bess' 4th marriage to the patrician George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl Marshall of England, made Bess one of the most important women at court. Her shrewd business acumen was a byword and she was said to have 'a masculine understanding', in that age when women had little education and few legal rights. The Earl's death made her arguably the wealthiest and therefore - next to the Queen - the most powerful woman in the country.

Little, Brown

The Churchills

Mary S. Lovell

There never was a Churchill from John of Marlborough down who had either morals or principles', so said Gladstone. From the First Duke of Marlborough - soldier of genius, restless empire-builder and cuckolder of Charles II - onwards, the Churchills have been politicians, gamblers and profligates, heroes and womanisers.The Churchills is a richly layered portrait of an extraordinary set of men and women - grandly ambitious, regularly impecunious, impulsive, arrogant and brave. And towering above the Churchill clan is the figure of Winston - his failures and his triumphs shown in a new and revealing context - ultimately our 'greatest Briton'.

Virago

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Maya Angelou

Throughout Maya Angelou's life food has played a pivotal role at important moments. In HALLELUJAH! THE WELCOME TABLE she narrates some of these tales and then gives us recipes for the food that helped shape her memories. There was the time she cooked a cassoulet for M.F.K. Fisher on the very day she moved into her new house in California. Or how her mother made a delicious maple cake for her when she was expelled from school for not being able to speak. Then there's a story about how once Decca (Jessica) Mitford made a delicious chicken - and the recipe is for 'Chicken Drunkard Style'. The recipes cover fried meat pies, caramel cake, Minnisota wild rice, chicken livers and many more. Maya Angelou's kitchen is a social centre, she cooks while she entertains and is renowned for what she serves.

Virago

West With The Night

WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.In 1936 she determined to fly solo across the Atlantic -- without stopping. When Charles Lindbergh did the same, he had the wind behind him. Markham, by contrast, had a strong headwind against her and a plane that only flew up to 163 mph. On 4 September, she took off ... Several days later, she crash-landed in Nova Scotia and became an instant celebrity.

Abacus

Shadows Of Glory

William Woodruff

Elizabeth Longford

Elizabeth Longford was the author of several highly-acclaimed works of biography. She died in 2002.

Abacus

Wellington

Elizabeth Longford

The archetype of the stern, silent Englishman dedicated to his duty, the Duke of Wellington had all the subtlety and variety of genius. WELLINGTON uncovers the sensitive child of Irish aristocrats pushed into the army, making his name in India before returning to lead the Allied Armies to victory against Napoleon in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. Swapping battlegrounds for political minefields, Wellington emerges as a conservative Tory Prime Minister of a country demanding every variety of reform. Many strands gradually come together in his character, to make at last the ideal he had always held out for himself; 'the retained servant of king and people'. WELLINGTON triumphantly succeeds in revealing an unforgettable, appealing and very human character. Magisterial, vivid, exhaustively researched, sympathetic yet balanced, rich in personal details but scholarly too. Elizabeth Longford's classic biography was greeted with a storm of acclaim.

Abacus

Victoria

Elizabeth Longford
ATOM

Killer

Sara Shepard

In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, pictures often lie-and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls. Hanna's on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer's stealing-from her family. And pure little Emily's abstaining from abstinence. The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Abacus

Oswald's Tale

Norman Mailer
Orbit

Dark Is The Moon

Rulke the Great Betrayer is free at last to use the deadly construct he has spent a thousand years perfecting. To succeed he needs just one thing - Karan's unique sensitive talent.Karan and her lover Llian are lost in the Nightland, trapped in an alien palace that is collapsing about them. Only Rulke can open the gate and send them home to Santhenar, but Karan is terrified he will corrupt Llian.Yggur and Mendark, sworn enemies, struggle to tame the power of the rift. They must seal the gate before Rulke brings forth his construct. If they fail he will ravage the world. And if they succeed, Karan and Llian will be trapped in the Nightland for eternity ...

Abacus

You'll Win Nothing With Kids

Jim White

On Sunday mornings Jim White has the following choice: visit the supermarket, buy trellising at B'n'Q, or stand on the sidelines of a muddy municipal football pitch, his trouser cuffs wetter than a weekend in Llandudno, shoulder-to-shoulder with a motley crew of mums, dads, step-parents and same-sex life partners all screaming at their beleaguered offspring. You'll find Jim in the same place every week, failing to organise a bunch of lads into something resembling a team while on the far side of the park his opposite number, a wannabe Mourinho in brashly monogrammed tracksuit, struts the sidelines, shouting - always shouting. This is the hilarious story of Jim White's time as manager of his son's football team: the highs, the lows, and the dog turd in the centre circle. At this level, winning spirit is not so much about passion, pride and belief as praying that your star centre forward has remembered his boots. Most importantly, it's about the enduring relationship between fathers, sons and football. This is the story no one who has ever watched his or her child play sport will want to miss.

Orbit

The Enterprise Of Death

Piatkus

Duchess in Love

Yen Press

Black Butler, Vol. 18

Their elaborate schoolroom deception at an end, Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his peerless manservant, Sebastian, finally hit upon the truth behind the incident of the vanished students at Weston College. Just what tragic steps did the elites of the school, spurred on by their overwhelming sense of justice, take to stamp out the bullying running rife in the halls of their institution?! What began as a seemingly simple case of missing persons goes round and round, spinning out of control into a great menace, one capable of perplexing even a devil...