|Fun loving Unity Mitford palling around with Hitler. FUN.|
Love in a Cold Climate (1949)
by Nancy Mitford
Love in a Cold Climate is a companion piece to her 1944 novel, The Pursuit of Love. It takes place in the same time, with the same set of characters, but with an emphasis on a different sub group of the larger group of wealthy English aristocrats living between World War I and World War II. Here, the emphasis is actually outside the Mitford proxy family, instead focusing on Lord and (especially) Lady Montdore and their daughter Leopoldina.
To the extent that Love in a Cold Climate can be said to be "about" anything at all, it's about Lady Montdore, who is a classic literary villain of the English aristocracy. Like the inspiration for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey. The other main attraction is the live of the narrator herself, a proxy for author Nancy Mitford. Mitford's stand in is Fanny Wincham. During the period covered in the book, she goes from remembering her first impression of Lady Montdore as a young girl, to witnessing the disintegration of her relationship with her daughter. Leopoldina/Polly is eventually replaced by Cedric, a distant Canadian relation who happens to be one of the first gay characters in mainstream literary fiction.
Come for Lady Montdore, stay for Cedric.