Tuesday, September 22, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Happy Tuesday! I'm trying to get back in the swing of things after my trip to New York state and a side trip to Lenox, Massachusetts. It was such a wonderful trip--great weather, beautiful scenery in the Hudson River Valley and everywhere we went as well as interesting sights. I saw so many things that I really enjoyed, but the highlight for me was a visit to Edith Wharton's home, The Mount. (Blog post coming soon!) It was great to get away, but the week went by too fast!

Although I didn't make much progress with reading on the trip, I did read the first half of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945). I'm sharing the opening of this witty story of the aristocratic and eccentric Radlett family, and Linda Radlett's search for love for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea. Each Tuesday, bloggers share the opening of a book that they're reading or thinking of reading soon. I'm enjoying this book so much, and it may be my favorite of Nancy Mitford's novels that I've read so far.

The opening:

"There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph, hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us children. In the photograph Aunt Sadie's face, always beautiful, appears strangely round, her hair strangely fluffy, and her clothes strangely dowdy, but it is unmistakably she who sits there with Robin, in oceans of lace, lolling on her knee. She seems uncertain what to do with his head, and the presence of Nanny waiting to take him away is felt though not seen. The other children, between Louisa's eleven and Matt's two years, sit round the table in party dresses or frilly bibs, holding cups or mugs according to age, all of them gazing at the camera with large eyes opened wide by the flash, and all looking as if butter would not melt in their round pursed-up mouths. There they are, held like flies in the amber of that moment--click goes the camera and on goes life; the minutes, the days, the years, the decades, taking them further and further from that happiness and promise of youth, from the hopes Aunt Sadie must have had for them, and from the dreams they dreamed for themselves. I often think there is nothing quite so poignantly sad as old family groups."

Now that you've read this lengthy first paragraph, what do you think? Would you keep reading?


  1. Hey, we could have met in the Berkshires as we were in Stockbridge over the weekend...LOL

    I do like this opening Monica. It's I book I'd want to try.

    1. That would have been fun! I loved the Berkshires and Stockbridge, too, so I plan to go back one day. :)

  2. Sounds like a lovely trip. I would keep reading.

  3. Glad you had a good trip... that's such a beautiful area!
    I have this same edition on my shelf and would definitely keep reading.

  4. Wow, now I am eager to learn more! I have been noticing this author, but have not yet read her. Thanks! Here's mine: “PRETENDING TO DANCE”

  5. Welcome back, Monica! Look forward to hearing about your trip!

  6. Hope you enjoyed your trip! Not sure this book is for me, but hope you enjoyed it.

  7. So glad you've had fantastic trips - I do like the opening to this book, despite it being a bit of a lengthy start, it certainly sets the scene!

  8. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, Monica! I look forward to reading about your visit to Edith Wharton's home.

    I love the opening. It drew me right in and I'm dying to know more. I hope you continue to enjoy the book!

  9. I love the sentence about Uncle Matthew whacking the Germans; this is a great opening paragraph, especially for a history buff like me. Thanks so much for sharing this one, Monica!