“Why do all my daughters fall for dictators?”
Sydney, Lady Redesdale, Nancy Mitford’s mother
The Horror of Love is a story about two middle-aged, not particularly attractive people who conducted a less than ideal love affair in post-war France. She was febrile, needy and given to “shrieking”, he was pompous, acne-scarred and an incorrigible philanderer.
Both their lives had been blighted by war in a manner which is now almost inaccessible to the contemporary imagination. He inspired and encouraged her to write one of the funniest, painfully poignant and best-loved novels of the latter twentieth century, she supported him through a tumultuous political career.
Their mutual life was spent amongst some of the most exciting, powerful and controversial figures of their times in the reawakening centre of European civilization. By modern standards, their relationship was a disaster, but The Horror of Love is a provocative, emotionally challenging book about a very different way of pursuing love.
With discipline, gentleness and a great deal of elegance, Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski achieved a very adult ideal, whose story will test and shock the reader as much as it charms.