The never-before published letters of the legendary Mitford sisters, alive with wit, affection, tragedy and gossip: a charismatic history of the century’s signal events played out in the lives of a controversial and uniquely gifted family.
Spanning the twentieth century, these magically vivid letters between the legendary Mitford sisters constitute not just a superb social and historical chronicle (what other family counted among its friends Hitler and the Queen, Cecil Beaton and President Kennedy, Evelyn Waugh and Givenchy?); they also give an intimate portrait of the stormy but enduring relationship between six beautiful and gifted women who emerged from the same stock, incarnated the same indomitable spirit, yet carved out starkly different roles and identities for themselves.
Nancy, the scalding wit who transferred her family life into bestselling novels; Pamela, who craved nothing more than a quiet country life; Diana, the fascist jailed with her husband, Oswald Mosley, during WWII; Unity, an attempted suicide, obsessed with Hitler; Jessica, the runaway communist and fighter for social change; and Deborah, the genial socialite who found herself Duchess of Devonshire.
Writing to one another to confide, commiserate, tease, rage and gossip, the sisters wrote above all to amuse. A correspondence of this scope is rare, for it to be penned by six such born storytellers makes it unique.
Editor Charlotte Mosley – Diana Mitford’s daughter-in-law – has had unrestricted access to the vast archive of family letters and photographs, most of which have never been published before.
Reviews of The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters
- ‘Mosley has done a superb job in allowing these sisters to speak for themselves…the result is a glorious portrait of a six–way, life–enhancing, lifelong conversation.’ Sunday Times ‘Memoir of the Year’
- ‘The Mitfords were, of course, unusually funny and unusually verbally dextrous, as well as unusually well connected. But it wasn’t all fun and games, and what this book does so well is show the grit beneath the lustre.’ The Sunday Times
- ‘The great treat of all time…the book’s editor, Charlotte Mosley, proves the perfect companion (and) she provided an exceptionally lucid exposition, perceptive and well–written, of the extraordinary lives and complex characters of her cast. The letters are brilliantly entertaining, for the most part written with a talent to amuse that amounts almost to comic genius…a profoundly moving experience…a rich addition to our national heritage.’ The Sunday Telegraph
- ‘A gripping read’. Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph ‘Books of the Year’
- ‘The editing could not have been better…The great thing about presenting the letters without a biographer’s intervention is that we are allowed’ for the first time, to get a clear view of how the dynamics of this peculiar family worked.’ Guardian
- ‘A novelist would never get away with inventing this: a correspondence spanning eight decades, written from locations including Chatsworth and Holloway Prison, between six original and talented women who numbered among their friends Evelyn Waugh, Maya Angelou, J. F. Kennedy and Adolf Hitler. The story of the extraordinary Mitford sisters has never been told as well as they tell it themselves.’ J. K. Rowling
- ‘It is thrilling to eavesdrop of the blazing rows and tender reconciliations.’ Richard Davenport–Hines, in The Sunday Times ‘Books of the Year’