The Blessing was new to me, and although it doesn't surpass The Pursuit of Love in my affections, it is a comedy of manners with some truly memorable characters - the cunning Sigi and the redoubtable Nanny being my favourites. Linda has plenty of private sorrows: it would just never occur to her to whine about them. Some novelists emerge, as if from the head of Zeus, with their talents fully formed. This story centers on the cultural clashes resulting from the marriage of a very worldly French man and a decidedly less sophisticated British beauty. They spend a few days together and the woman becomes pregnant with his son. Sure, he has a wife and son, but that doesn't mean he's not going to reunite with his mistresses and perhaps pick up a few more. We ship faster than lightning on a golf course? And speaking of Nancy, and her sad Francophile life.
I love these books that give an insight into the frivolous world of the upper class in the first half of the 20th century. Overall an entertaining book, though not her best it's a good, fun story. But it is simply wrong to read her teasing prose as a denial of those experiences. No marks or highlighting in text. Apparently it was a Book of the Month Club choice in 1951 aside: it's startling to think that American popular taste ran then to a novel liberally sprinkled with references to 18th century French literature and 17th century French drama.
The subject of her confection is, in more ways than one, betrayal. Packed Carefully and Shipped Promptly by Highly Rated Seller. He loves art and beauty and Grace. Very minimal wear and tear. Lacking the wardrobe, cunning and wits of her French counterparts, Grace soon realises that she is hugely unprepared for a sophisticated life in Paris.
His clever deceptions are the most enjoyable part of the story. There is care — there is art — in the most artless-seeming passages of this novel. He is revealed as a child who will betray anyone to get what he wants, and he appears to have no redeeming features at all. As I have already mentioned since I began blogging, I have always had a huge tendency to submit to my obsession with re-reading my favourite books…they sit there on the bookshelf like old friends calling to me across a crowded room. When Grace Allingham, a naïve young Englishwoman, goes to live in France with her dashingly aristocratic husband Charles-Edouard, she finds herself overwhelmed by the bewilderingly foreign cuisine and the shockingly decadent manners and mores of the French. The dust jacket is rubbed, marked and worn, with a medium chip out of the bottom of the spine; this does not seem to have removed any text from the dust jacket, which is well protected in plastic.
It does feel good to read another Nancy Mitford. New York: Random House, 1951. There you have it, confession confided. We go through the years of separation. I think of the three Mitford novels I have read, this is perhaps the most light-hearted and not to diminish the book in any way trivial.
However, I think it is one of my favourites. Marel goes flat, and sinks the arc of the book in so doing. The Blessing is not as tart as most of Evelyn Waugh's work, or as light as P. She knew, or thought she knew, that Frenchwomen were hideously ugly, but with an ugliness redeemed by great vivacity and perfect taste in dress. Set mostly in post-war France - Paris and Provence - the contrast between French manners and mores and English ones provides much of the humour and plot in the book.
He fits in well with the story as philandering Charles-Edouard's son. According to the French man the two were never validly married, as he is nominally Catholic and they were married in a registry. One of the great comedic monsters, whose preternatural cunning and powers of observation are thwarted. As has happened many times in my life, his words carried me through huge change and into new possibilities. These three characters keep the book lively and interesting.
Or was she using the ghosts of the past to recapture the best seller cache of her previous two novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate? In those two weeks she managed to get pregnant, so the seven years away from her husband that she barely knows is spent raising their son Sigi and tending goats. She finds herself with child and later gives birth to a boy, who is nam Grace Allingham, a young and unassuming Englishwoman from an affluent background, makes the acquaintance of Charles-Edouard de Valhubert, a French Air Force officer, during the early years of the Second World War. Maybe not, but it delighted me. His name is Sigismond and he is manipulative and scheming, and focused entirely on what he perceives to be in his own interest. Thank you, Nancy, for reinforcing that wise decision. Wodehouse's, but it has the flavor of both. Here she addresses the difference in cultures between the English and the French, lighting them both on fire with her sarcastic wit.
Here she addresses the difference in cultures between the English and the French, lighting them both on fire with her sarcastic wit. The main conflict takes place in the English heroine's head -- can she overcome the natural jealousy she feels at her French husband's infidelity, or learn to treat his little affairs as no more than minor annoyances, as is the custom in France? May be very minimal identifying marks on the inside cover. The Blessing is engagingly written with an experienced hand. Such eccentricity in one book, it's amazing how she does it without making it too cliché. Old friends who have inspired and succoured me over many years.