Thursday, 12 June 2008

Mitfords: Letters between six sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley

I meant to keep this as a bedside treat and read a few letters each evening, but inevitably gobbled it down indiscriminately. I was sorry that Nancy's funnier letters, already printed in other collections, didn't make it into this volume as well, as the full extent of her wit is not apparent; the same could be said of Jessica. Diana's famous charm did not come across from the printed page for me - she seemed querulous and tiresome by the end, as if she used up all her bravery during her period of imprisonment and in subsequent defence of Mosley. Debo is the funniest in this volume; Unity can be amusing but it is something of a relief when her letters, with their repetitive refrain of "poor dear Hitler", come to an end. The selection tells the story of the sisters very effectively, letting their own words narrate and expose the complexities of their lives and relationships with each other.

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