The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

by Mary S. Lovell


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"Fascinating, the way all great family stories are fascinating."—Robert Gottlieb, New York Times Book Review

This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the world wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; beautiful Diana married the Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley; and Unity, a close friend of Hitler, shot herself in the head when England and Germany declared war.

The Mitfords had style and presence and were mercilessly gifted. Above all, they were funny—hilariously and mercilessly so. In this wise, evenhanded, and generous book, Mary Lovell captures the vitality and drama of a family that took the twentieth century by storm and became, in some respects, its victims.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393324143
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/17/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 218,301
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Mary S. Lovell's best-selling biographies include Straight on Till Morning (Beryl Markham) and The Sisters (the Mitford family). She lives in England.

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Chapter One



Sydney Bowles was fourteen years old when she first set eyes on David Freeman Mitford. He was seventeen, classically handsome, as were all members of his family, and with luminous blue eyes. Dressed comfortably in an old brown velveteen keeper's jacket, he stood with his back to the fire, one foot casually resting on the fender. As Sydney entered the brightly lit library of his father's country house at Batsford in Gloucestershire, she was dazzled by light and warmth after a drive through dark winter lanes in the waggonette from the station. Her first impression as she walked through the hall had been of the sweet smell of beeswax, woodsmoke and oriental spices, but as soon as she saw David all this was forgotten. At that moment, Sydney wrote in an unpublished memoir, she lost her heart.

    It was 1894. Sydney's father Thomas Bowles, a 'consistently eccentric, back-bench MP' had taken his children to visit his good friend Lord Redesdale, Algernon Bertram 'Bertie', universally pronounced 'Barty', Mitford. Both men were high achievers, and hugely successful personalities in their own fields.

    Tall, angular, and dressed in the shapeless sailor suit that was the prescribed all-purpose day-wear for Victorian children, Sydney felt all the natural frustration of a teenager wanting to look older to impress this handsome and apparently confident young man with her newly blossoming womanhood. Yet she was miserably aware that her outfit labelled her achild, along with her siblings. At fourteen she was scarcely more, but Sydney's had been an unusual childhood for the time.

    Thomas Bowles was a widower and for some months, ever since he had purchased a substantial London house in Lowndes Square, Sydney had been its young chatelaine, in sole charge of the running of the household and the not inconsiderable finances of the establishment. Her father was Member of Parliament for King's Lynn. A man of character, he had a vast network of friends and entertained a good deal. Sydney apparently managed her responsibilities with distinction, failing only in the area of being able to control the male servants. Quarrelling footmen and drunken butlers were amused by her rather than respectful of her, and caused her a good deal of heartache. From that time, until the end of her life, she only ever employed women as indoor servants.

    Prior to his buying the London house, the children of 'Tap' Bowles had spent much of the previous six years at sea, on their father's boats. Shortly after the death of his wife, when Sydney was eight, Bowles took them aboard his 150-ton sailing schooner Nereid and set off on a year-long voyage to the Middle East. His published log of the voyage gives details of horrendous storms, weathered with aplomb by his four motherless children while their governess and nurse were prostrated with seasickness. After their return to England, during election campaigns, he made his second yacht, the Hoyden, his temporary home and campaign headquarters; his children often accompanied him on those electioneering trips, and each year during the parliamentary summer recess the family lived on the yacht, usually sailing to France. So, though she had been as protected as any upper-class girl in the Victorian era, Sydney's exceptional experiences had given her a seriousness beyond her years.

    We do not know what David Mitford thought of Sydney at that first meeting. His insouciant pose, which so impressed Sydney, disguised his status as the undervalued second son of the extraordinarily energetic Bertie Mitford. David lived in the shadow of his elder brother Clement, who was adored by everyone — if asked, David would probably have said he lived in Clement's sunlight. It was Clement who would one day inherit the title and family fortune, and he was as outgoing and confident as his father, a notable traveller, linguist, writer and MP. Like his father, Clement had attended Eton, an experience he found wholly enriching. Three further sons followed David and at least one, Jack (known as Jicksy, who was 'brave as a lion and clever as a monkey' and his parents' favourite child), attended Eton. David, however, was sent to Radley, which was considered second rate.

    No secret was made of the fact that this choice of school was deliberate. Lord and Lady Redesdale did not wish Clement's career at Eton to be affected by David's behaviour. All his life David was liable to erupt in sudden violent rages if upset or frustrated. Unlike his gifted father, he was a poor reader and slow to learn, and his only real interest was in country sports. It seems probable that he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia for he was not unintelligent, as his adult speeches in the House of Lords and his surviving letters reveal, and he spoke and wrote fluent French. Described by a grandson as 'impulsive, naïve and rather humble, with a touching idealism', David was sensitive and disliked team games, so he was never popular at Radley, and he loathed his time there. And there is no doubting his fearsome temper: on one occasion having been locked in his room as a punishment for some misdemeanour he heated a poker in the fire until it became red hot, then threatened to attack his father and kill him with it. He was eventually released and calmed by 'Monsieur', the French tutor who taught them so well that all of the Redesdale children were bilingual and all lessons were conducted in French. Monsieur, who became known as 'Douze-Temps' because of his demonstrations of rifle drill, 'Un! Deux! Trois! ...', had served in the Franco-Prussian War and kept the boys — especially David — spellbound with stories of his experiences.

    When Sydney first met him, David must have been experiencing a huge sense of relief that his years at the hated boarding-school had come to an end. He had hoped to make a career in the Army (perhaps because of Monsieur's influence), but having failed the written examination for Sandhurst it was decided that he would emulate many younger sons of good family by going east, to Ceylon, to make his fortune as a tea-planter.

    Sydney's teenage crush on him did not last. While David was in Ceylon she grew up and was launched into Society. She had been educated at home, latterly by a very able governess (who subsequently became Thomas Bowles' mistress). There was talk of Sydney going to Girton, the women's college at Cambridge, and she went to view the college, but for some unknown reason the idea was dropped. Only a handful of women attended university at the end of the nineteenth century; perhaps Sydney did not wish to be regarded as a 'blue-stocking'. With her tall, slender figure, a cloud of light brown hair, generous sulky mouth, and large blue eyes she was pronounced beautiful, and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a débutante: the dances and balls and parties, riding in the crowded Row with her father, which was 'like an amusing party taking place every day', and, especially, meeting new people.

    But above everything, Sydney — in common with her father — loved the sea. Those weeks every summer when Tap's family lived aboard his yacht and sailed to Trouville or Deauville were the highlight of her young life. At Trouville Tap gravitated naturally towards the artistic community which gathered there, and among his acquaintances were Boldini and Tissot. More important to Sydney was Paul-César Helleu, a fashionable portrait painter who liked to spend his summers with his family, aboard his yacht the Étoile. The Bowles and Helleu families met when the Hoyden and Étoile were moored up alongside each other, and from this small incident would spring a lifelong family friendship. After that they met every year and Helleu painted several portraits of Sydney at the height of her beauty.

    It was inevitable that Sydney would receive the attentions of young men and she fell in and out of love with several, some more suitable than others. In London ice-skating was a favourite pastime, and her instructor, a Swede named Grenander, was one of the men she particularly favoured. 'I love being with him,' she wrote in her diary, 'I would do almost anything he asked me. I would let him call me Sydney, I would even let him kiss me ...' It was Grenander who came to her aid when she fell and hurt herself badly. Because of her attachment to him, Sydney managed stoically not to cry, or even wince, at the shattering pain as he manipulated what was later diagnosed as a broken ankle. But she realized that there was no future for her in a relationship with a skating professional, and eventually the infatuation faded.

    One relationship ended sadly when the young man was killed in the Boer War. But the suitor who made the greatest impression on her was Edward 'Jimmy' Meade. Her love for Jimmy, in 1903, was apparently both deep and passionate, and was moving towards an engagement when Sydney discovered that he was a womanizer. She wisely broke off the relationship, and it was generally believed in London Society that she took up with David Mitford on the rebound.

    David spent less than four years in Ceylon where evidently he did not take to the life of a planter. While he was on his first home leave in 1898, events unfolding in South Africa intervened in his future. Paul Kruger's ultimatum concerning the independence of the Dutch republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State provoked war between the British and the Boers. This gave David the opportunity to be both a patriot and to engage in the career he had always longed for. With all thoughts of a return to Ceylon forgotten, he enlisted in the ranks of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. His elder brother Clement also fought in the Boer War, serving in the crack regiment of the 10th Hussars.

    David's letters to his parents confirm his early intuition that the Army was the career he would enjoy above all others. His commanding officer, Lord Brabazon, took a liking to the earnest and gallant young man and appointed him as his orderly, which David modestly considered 'lucky'. Shortly afterwards, in March 1900, he received a flesh wound in the leg (his second wound of the war). Writing from the hospital at Bloemfontein, he asked his father to try to get him a commission, '... after this it would not be very difficult, and then I would have the career I always wanted'. It was not to be. In the following year, while in the thick of fighting, David was badly injured in the chest and lost a lung. He was nursed in the field hospital for four days, and when it was suspected that he might live he was carried back to camp in a bullock cart, his wound swarming with maggots. He recovered, and was invalided home in early 1902.

    Clearly, while David had been planting tea and soldiering, and Sydney was running her father's home and making her début in Society, there had been some further contact between the two, for while David was in hospital he dictated a love letter to Sydney, to be given to her in the event of his death. Since their fathers were the closest of friends they would have met quite naturally at each other's homes, and probably also at Prince's ice-skating rink, for both David and Sydney were excellent skaters and regular patrons there. After his homecoming Sydney — with her experience of losing a boyfriend in the war — would undoubtedly have been especially sympathetic to a man shipped home wounded.

    In fact, little is known of the courtship of David and Sydney. Photographs confirm what witnesses recall: they made a handsome couple. He was tall with handsome patrician features, tanned skin and strikingly blue eyes. She was almost his height, elegant and self-composed. It is not difficult to see why she was reckoned a beauty as a young woman. What is not apparent from old photographs is the humour they shared. According to several contributors, David had 'a terrific sense of fun — better than any professional comedian', while several people commented on Sydney's understated, dry wit. When David went to see Tap, to request the hand of his daughter, Tap replied dauntingly, 'Which daughter?' Having established that it was Sydney they were discussing (surely Tap was teasing?), Sydney's father naturally wished to know how David intended to support her. 'Well,' said David, 'I've got £400 a year, and these.' And he held up his large competent-looking hands.

    When they married on 6 February 1904, some ten years after that first meeting, Sydney was twenty-four years old. A couple of stories survive; the first was apparently widely circulated in London Society at the time. It was whispered that when she walked up the aisle of St Margaret's Church, Westminster, towards her bridegroom, she was in tears, weeping — they said — for Jimmy Meade. The other story was that a few days before her wedding day a married friend told Sydney what to expect on her wedding night. Sydney was dumbfounded, A gentleman would never do anything like that,' she said.

    The couple honeymooned aboard the Hoyden, and later visited Paris, after which they settled down in a modest house in Graham Street, a few steps from Sloane Square. By the standards of their class they were relatively poor. Apart from the allowance of £400 a year from David's father, Sydney had a small income from Tap. However, even combined, this income was not enough to live on in comfort, and here Tap was able to assist the young couple in a practical manner. It was not to be expected that, as a self-made man, he would hand over large sums of money to the newly-weds, but he was happy to give David a job. Among Tap's most successful business ventures had been the founding of several magazines. The first of these, Vanity Fair, had since been sold on, but he still owned the Lady (founded in 1885 and named at the suggestion of the Reverend Charles Dodgson), and he offered David the position of office manager.

    It must be said that it might have been a better business move had he made Sydney office manager, for she had a natural ability in accounting and enjoyed bookkeeping. David, however, hated being indoors, hated office work and office hours, and hardly ever bothered to read a book. There is a family legend that he had once read Jack London's White Fang and found it so good he thought it unnecessary ever to read another book. Since there are references in some of his letters to books that he was reading it is safe to say that this was a joke and not fact. But he was not bookish and can have had little interest in a women's magazine in which half the space was (and still is) given over to small advertisements for domestic staff and holiday accommodation.

    Indeed, the act for which he is best remembered during his days at the offices of the Lady is unconnected with the administration of the magazine itself. When the twenty-seven-year-old David arrived for work he found that the cellars of the building, and no doubt those adjoining it, were infested with rats. In Ceylon householders encouraged a mongoose to take up residence in their gardens to control rats and snakes, and by a piece of good fortune David had brought one home with him. He set it to work with significant success. The image of David spending his days hunting rats, to simulate country pursuits in order to avoid the office work he loathed, was fostered by Nancy through her character Uncle Matthew, and is not based on fact. He remained at the Lady, working in friendly harmony with Sydney's eldest brother George (who was general manager and co-owner with his father) until the outbreak of war in 1914, and from all accounts tried hard to live up to his father-in-law's trust in him. George Bowles had been president of the Union at Cambridge, and editor of Granta. Would such a man have tolerated David as a passenger for ten years? It seems unlikely, and it is even less likely that Tap would have continued to employ David if he had not made some positive contribution. As for David, he described the first year of his marriage in correspondence as 'a year of the greatest happiness to me', so it is unlikely that he found the work too irksome.

    There is another, lesser-known, anecdote dating from David's time at the Lady. His salary was paid weekly, in cash in an envelope, as all employees were paid in those days, and it was his custom to hand over his entire wages to Sydney but for a very small sum. For many years, every Friday afternoon, after he was paid, he would wander over to Covent Garden Market and buy the most perfect peach he could find. This he presented to Sydney. She always received it with every sign of enthusiasm and would eat it after supper, sometimes offering him a piece or two. Twenty years passed before he learned by accident that Sydney loathed peaches. She had never told him, knowing that it would spoil his pleasure at having cleverly discovered a gift that he considered both economical and acceptable.

    With David's salary the couple had a joint income of around a thousand pounds a year, and on this Sydney's meticulous household accounts reveal that they employed five female servants. However, they lived quietly, seemingly content in each other's company, and their limited social life revolved mostly around the Bowles or the Mitford families. The fact that the couple's first child, a daughter, was born on 28 November a little more than nine months after their marriage was probably partially responsible for this. Sydney was initially disappointed for she had wanted, and absolutely expected, a boy, but David was ecstatic. They thought of calling the child Ruby but later decided upon Nancy. Though worried about 'my Sydney', as he affectionately referred to his wife (for the baby weighed nine and a half pounds at birth and the mother was uncomfortable for some days afterwards), David thought the baby 'the prettiest child ... our happiness is very great,' he wrote to his mother. Unusually for the time he had insisted on being present at her birth, and he reported that Sydney had been 'sweet and brave'.

    It seems such an ordinary story, this handsome but otherwise unremarkable young couple settling down to a quietly happy marriage, looking forward to further children. Though they had no great prospects they were content with their lot in life. There was absolutely no indication that their children — there would be seven in all — would be so extraordinary that they would make the family a household name.

Excerpted from THE SISTERS by Mary S. Lovell. Copyright © 2001 by Mary S. Lovell. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Family Treeix
1 Victorian Roots, 1894-19049
2 Edwardian Afternoon, 1904-1519
3 Nursery Days, 1915-2239
4 Roaring Twenties, 1922-963
5 Bright Young Things, 1929-30101
6 The Stage is Set, 1930-32113
7 Slings and Arrows, 1932-4147
8 Unity and the Führer, 1934-5168
9 Secret Marriage, 1935-7192
10 Elopement, 1937217
11 Family at Odds, 1937-8241
12 Slide Towards Conflict, 1938262
13 No Laughing Matter, 1939281
14 Irreconcilable Differences, 1940-41305
15 Gains and Losses, 1941-3337
16 Women at War, 1943-4359
17 The French Lady Writer, 1944-7385
18 Truth and Consequences, 1948-55410
19 Return to the Old Country, 1955-8428
20 A Cold Wind to the Heart, 1958-66457
21 Views and Reviews, 1966-80482
22 Relatively Calm Waters, 1980-2000506
Source Notes530
Acknowledgements and Credits577
Select Bibliography581

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Sisters 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
RS_Minn More than 1 year ago
Really enjoying this book that we will discuss at my Book Club meeting next week. I knew nothing about this family. Now I want to read more - which is always an indicator of a good book to me.
OKMinty More than 1 year ago
Not knowing anything about these sisters came as a surprise to me for all of the history of this period that I have read. The book moves along very rapidly and each of the sisters comes to life through Lovell's easy going style. I must admidt that I made frequent use of the family tree in the front of the book in the beginning, and was at a loss as to the meaning of some of the truly British expressions. However, none of this takes away from the portrait of this rare group of sisters each of whom lived a fuller life than many of us can imagine. I'm thinking of purchasing it as a video book for my 96 year old mother who I know will enjoy it.
CLSR More than 1 year ago
The span of this family saga/historical biography is short in years but infinite in its coverage of the lives of talented British sisters. I was sorry to reach the last of the almost 600 pages. I learned much about the history preceding and during WWII and learned it with the flair and fantasy the author intended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love history and read a lot of non-fiction books. But...this is most simply the most outstanding non-fiction book I have ever read, and one of my favorites out of ALL the genres. It reads almost like a fictional book and I could not put it down. A pleaser on all levels and a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had come across the names of one or another of the Mitford sisters in various contexts and although intrigued by them I had never read a biography until now. I found the book a fascinating read and well worth reading by anyone interested in the history of the era leading up the the Second World War.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovell wrote an enjoyable and engaging biography on these fascinating characters who lived in a remarkable time. For anyone who loves history and politics- this is a book for you! The words that come to mind are not enough. So I'll leave it at this: I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story about some sisters who grew up in Britain around WW II. They were politically active and interacted with Hitler to Churchill . The only reason I did not give it 5 STARS was that none of the pictures came thru on the Nook! Hope they update it with pictures soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fascinating family history. It made me want to read Nancy Mitford's novels -- which were excellent and funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed hearing about each sister and how they where affected during that era,.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, want to read more on the sisters.
duchenf 10 months ago
The naivete and almost complete adoration for the family make for a not very real biography. Some critical analysis would have been helpful. These are not very nice people, even the ones who weren't fascists.
gbelik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This joint biography of the 6 Mitford girls was a fun read and, I think, managed to be fair to each of them, even Unity, a groupie for Hitler and Diana, wife of British Union of Fascist head Oswald Mosley. A thoroughly good read.
jaHce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the world wars. Jessica a community, Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy best selling novelist of the day; Diana married to Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley; and Unity a close friend of Hitler, tried suicide when her beloved England and love of Germany collided in war.
StoutHearted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Before the Hilton sisters, before the Kardashians, the "It" sisters were 6 women of aristocratic English upbringing who each went very different ways, but still held on to the bonds of sisterhood. In the early twentieth century, these were the Mitfords.This biography is very comprehensive and extensive, considering the number of characters that demand attention. Each sister is dynamic and given her due, even Pam, the Mitford sister of whom little is published because she was the least scandalous. Each sister is depicted in all their layers: Nancy, the acerbic writer who poked fun at her class, yet embraced its snobbery; Pam, the "rural one" who was the maternal center of the sisters; Diana, the beauty who left her first husband for Oswald Moseley and was an unrepentant fascist; Unity, the one so besotted by Hitler that she attempted suicide after hearing that England and Germany had declared war; Decca, the one who ran away from home to become a communist and became an immigrant writer in America; and Deborah, the one who became a Duchess and held the family together through their many tiffs.Each sister is handled fairly, which is difficult concerning some of their troubling politics. It is their bond that means most to them, and nowhere is this most evident in the strong affection between Unity and Decca. The two were on opposite sides politically: the room they shared as children was full of swastikas and hammer and sickles on their respective sides. Still, the two girls had unending affection for each other. Decca had no such forgiveness for her other fascist sister, Diana, whom she treated as a fallen idol. This is just one of the many "warts and all" revelations of the sisters' personalities.The biography truly brings the sisters to life with their letters and many nicknames, any woman with a sister can recognize the heartfelt affection in the Mitfords. Many past biographies and news reports delight in reporting the evilness of Unity and Diana's politics, and the muckraking of Decca, but overlook the fact that these women were human and meant something to their family. (Understandably, though, that point may be too sentimental for newspapers.) When a biography of Unity is published soon after her death, the sisters rally to defend her memory. This move was criticized, but the sisters made it clear that whether or not they agreed with each others' politics, the main thing was to remain loyal to the family. Whereas the girls' upbringing was often depicted as frivolous and indulgent, this biography expands on their early life and helps explain how and why they each chose their paths in life. It makes for an engrossing, fascinating read.In addition to the sisters' lives, the book is also interesting for the depicition of Hitler as a gentleman whose charm was so strong that many of the Mitfords (and other British citizens) who met him refused to believe he was wrong. Showing this side of Hitler is not an attempt to make him look like a good guy, but to warn us how the devil can come to us smiling, dressed well, and offering kindness to deceive us. What a contrast from the man who paid all of Unity's medical bills after her attempted suicide and sent her home safely to her parents in England after the war started, to the man who ordered the extermination of Jews, homosexuals, and anyone not specifically "Aryan." To the sheltered, upper-class Mitfords, Hitler's attention to Unity meant more than the yet-untold horror unfolding across the Channel. It's a complicated portrayal of how strong family ties are that Lady Redesdale (the girls' mother) and Diana still support Hitler during the war (and after). They associate the man with the memory of Unity at her most vibrant. It still doesn't make their politics any more palatable, but at least we can see why they remained so stubborn and steadfast to their beliefs.The book is only outdated in that, when written, Diana was alive. She has since passed after reaching a ripe old age, le
-Cee- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mitford family was all about strong character, independence and choices. The six daughters of Lord and Lady Redesdale seemed to have it all - with consequences they fully embraced. Raised in a permissive, upperclass household pre-World War II, their family life in England is portrayed as fun-loving with an undercurrent of derision towards each other. As they matured in the turbulent times of WW II and years following, they were full of wordly self confidence, pursued entirely divergent paths in public lives of politics (democracy, facism, socialism, communism), and private lives of wealth and romance. They were all dedicated rebels for their causes in very unique manners and lifestyles.This narrative of the Mitfords focuses on the sisters and flows in a relatively even timeline from the girls' childhoods and through their old age. After reading this, you will have a fairly good understanding of all members of the family, how they made their choices, and how they affected each other and the world.Though both honorable and embarrassing public events and struggles are included in this book, it was written with a positive and kindly view with a light hand on the deeper family issues such as wealth, poverty, alcoholism, illnesses, flagrant lifestyles, ambition, bitterness, etc. I got the impression there was much more to reveal that was hidden, better left unsaid, or perhaps unknown. Lovell writes more a history of the family than any attempt at a more intimate understanding of their dynamics. Taken as such, it is a good overview of an intriguing family.
bacreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There was so much history in this book on an everyday basis. These sisters were amazing, selfish, incredible,intelligent. If it was fiction critics would accuse the author of invention and interference with characters.
mzonderm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A biography clearly more sympathetic with some sisters more than others, but overall a comprehensive look at the sisters and the time and world in which they lived.
marient on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the World Wars. Jessica was a communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day;beautiful Diana married the Facist leader Sir Oswald Mosely; and Unity, a close friend of Hitler, shot herself in the head when England and Germany declared war.
bookweaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book; the Mitford sisters are weird but memorable as they are portrayed here. I think Unity is the most interesting of the group, and I appreciate the large sections of this biography devoted to her.
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