2015 reading challenge, Books, LGBT

Book challenge #11: A book with a love triangle

Love In A Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling particularly sad and restless and lonely, so, as it was a warm day and I was wearing Sensible Shoes, I took myself for a walk, from work in Westminster to London Bridge to get the train home. The route is lovely, along the south side of the river, past the National Theatre and St Pauls and the Tate Modern and the Globe, and the Southbank Book Market. Nestled under Waterloo Bridge, by the BFI, its long tables are always surrounded by people, and I have to really commit to not-stopping. On that day, though, I needed cheering up, so I scoured the tables, and found a copy of White Fang (a beloved book of my childhood which I foolishly got rid of as a teenager, and deeply regret), and Love In A Cold Climate. I do actually already own this, in an anthology of Nancy Mitford novels, but I needed something comforting, and the anthology is far too big to carry around, so I bought it anyway, and have been reading it on my commute.

This is the first re-read that I’ve done for the book challenge and, actually, the first I’ve done in ages, and it was exactly what I needed. It was like wrapping myself in a comfort blanket. I love Nancy Mitford’s wit, her characters – the glorious Radletts, the outrageous Cedric, the terrifying Lady Montdore, references to The Bolter, and so on – and the way that she sees the world.

A particular joy of it is the love triangles. The most prominent of these is the main focus of the novel: the relationship between Polly, and Boy Dougdale, her uncle (by marriage) and her mother’s lover, but there are many others. As the Duc de Sauveterre remarks, “sooner or later everybody in that set becomes the lover of everybody else, so that when they change their lovers it is more like a cabinet reshuffle than a new government.”

I love the frivolity. Nothing – not even death – is traumatic or terrible, but merely something that happens. It is safe and it is comforting and it was £3.50 well spent.

Other categories that Love In A Cold Climate fits into: a classic romance, a book that became a movie, a funny book, a book by a female author, a book you can finish in a day, a book based on or turned into a TV show


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