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  • Writer's pictureBijou Books

The talented Mitford sisters

The infamous Mitford sisters, were six sisters who set society alight with their various political views - from conservative, to fascism, to communism. However, two sisters were able to set themselves apart as authors, with both being celebrated in their field.

Nancy Mitford (28 November 1904 – 30 June 1973) married Peter Rodd and had a longstanding relationship with French politician and statesman Gaston Palewski. She lived in France for much of her adult life. She wrote many novels, including the semi-autobiographical The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. She was also a biographer of historical figures, including the Sun King.

We are so pleased to be able to have several of Nancy's books as part of the Bijou Books offering, including a beautiful Folio Society edition of 'The Pursuit of Love'.

We also have the first edition of 'Don't Tell Alfred', which is the third book in a trilogy centred on an upper-class English family, and takes place twenty years after the events of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. It was Mitford's final novel, though she continued to produce biographies for a number of years before her death in 1973.

While not available on the website, we also have 'The Blessing' at our stand at Happy Days Vintage Centre in Cowbridge. It is a comic satirical novel, set in post-World War II and concerns Grace, an English country girl who moves to France after falling for a dashing aristocratic Frenchman named Charles-Edouard who lusts after other women. Their son Sigi aims to keep his parents apart by engineering misunderstandings.

Illustrated front cover of a boy on a horse statue of The Blessing by Nancy Mitford
The Blessing front cover

It wasn't just Nancy that produced books though, her sister Jessica Mitford (11 September 1917 – 22 July 1996) was known as "Decca". She eloped with Esmond Romilly to the Spanish Civil War. She spent most of her adult life in the United States. Two years after Esmond was killed during the Second World War, she married Robert Treuhaft, whom she met as a fellow US government employee. She wrote several volumes of memoirs and several volumes of polemical investigation, including the best-selling The American Way of Death (1963) about the funeral industry. We have her second book, 'The American Way of Birth' which provides a history of American childbirth from the nineteenth century to the early 1990s (when the book was published), exploring conventional and alternative methods, public health-care programs, high-tech births, and more.

Front cover of The American Way of Birth written by Jessica Mitford
The second 'American Way' book by Jessica Mitford

Again, this book is not available on the website, but on our stand at Happy Days Vintage in Cowbridge. However, if you are interested in any books, please message us and we can organise payment, as well as delivery.

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