The Blessing by Nancy Mitford

the blessingHmm…

🙂 😐

As WW2 is beginning, Grace receives a visit from Charles-Edouard, an aristocratic French friend of her fiancé, Hugh. Within a month, poor Hugh has been dumped, Charles-Edouard and Grace have married and C-E has gone off to war. Finding herself pregnant, Grace goes off to live in her father’s country house, and waits seven long years for C-E to return. When he does, he promptly whisks Grace and the child, Sigi, off to France, where he divides his time between his wife and his mistresses. Eventually Grace leaves him, and the big question is will they get back together? Sigi is enjoying having two parents vying to spoil him most, so he sets out to do everything he can to keep them apart…

Pretending to be a satire, it’s actually a nice little fluffy romance of the type where the man is a worthless, faithless leftover from a dying breed, and the woman is a bucolic, intellectually-challenged leftover from another dying breed. Hmm… I’m struggling to think of anything to say about it, really. Not my kind of thing, as it turns out. The “insights” into French society feel about as realistic as Wodehouse’s England, but unfortunately the book lacks either the humour or good-natured charm of his work. I think it’s supposed to be funny though…

I skipped the last 40 pages because, you know, who cares if they get back together?

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

I reckon we all need cheering up after that, so here’s a much more interesting man from a breed that shows little sign of dying out…


79 thoughts on “The Blessing by Nancy Mitford

  1. Well those sailor chaps certainly did cheer me up. It’s the hats, of course. This book sounds vile – she should have had an idea what C-E was like after he ran off with her – his friend’s fiance! Morals of a swamp donkey. So we don’t know if they got back together? She would have been better of with Hugh.

    • They’re super, aren’t they? But it’s the dress I love most – it may be my favourite frock of all time! Haha! Yes – I failed to find much attractive about either of them, I fear! Oh dear! After alienating the Woolf fans, I was really hoping to ingratiate myself with the Mitford squad too… 😉

      • It’s a lovely frock, absolutely. It’s the perfect thing to wear when cavorting with sailors! Now, have I missed the Joyce, yet? Because I just KNOW the Joyce fans will adore your review. I can feel it in my waters, as my nan would say 😉

        • Ooh – it’s been so long since I had a good cavort! Just the thing to get the circulation going in readiness for Spring…

          Hahaha! Shall I tell you the really bad news? I’m thoroughly enjoying Dubliners so far… it’s such a disappointment! I should have gone with Finnegan…

          • Cavorting is just a distant memory for me *sigh* But that is something I shall rectify, I reckon.
            I’m actually really pleased you are enjoying it, it might be one I shall give a try – but of course I shall wait for your review 😉 I have to say, it would be pretty brilliant to read a review from you of Finnegan’s…

            • Yes, I may have to work up to it – say with a frolic or two first, or perhaps a bit of capering. I think you’d probably like Dubliners – it’s a kind of quiet book, if you know what I mean. Reminds me a bit of Colm Toibin’s style. I may have to work up to Finnegan’s too… 😉

            • I had a frolic last summer, I think. Ended messily as I remember 😉 But I definitely feel up for a caper or two 😀
              I think I might give Dubliners a go, stretch the little grey cells a bit.

            • Haha! Yes, one must frolic carefully – no more than two glasses of wine and always wear one’s saftey belt.

              Do! I’ve only got two stories left, so can be pretty confident now that it’s going to get a good review – unless he suddenly starts torturing cats in the last story…

            • Just the two? It is probably for the best, you know. A careless frolic has brought down far greater persons than I.
              Great! I feel I must try it out. Can’t wait for the review!

    • He should have got them together and sung “So Close” to them… *gags*

      I think Hugh had a lucky escape – though he was last seen hankering after C-E’s mistress – or one of them anyway! Actually I hated everybody! Ugh! Next time you’re mean to me I shall add it to your TBR…

    • Haha! But look on the bright side – at least it wasn’t Tana! No, I fear this kind of upper-class chick-lit just isn’t for me… *scurries away fast giggling before LF explodes*

      • LF smiles her sweetest and most horribly saintly of smiles and scoffs the chocolate she MIGHT have thought of sending to her friend FF.

        Honesty compels me to say the thought of sending the chocolate North never entered my head at all and I would have scoffed it anyway (dinner guests yesterday SHOWERED me with chocolatey gifties, the fridge is groaning with them)

  2. No, definitely not my sort of thing, FictionFan. Nope. Satire can be delightful if it’s well done. It really can. But that’s the thing; it has to be well done. And this doesn’t sound like that at all. To add to it all, I think PorterGirl nailed it about Grace. How in the world did she expect anything else from C-E? Really? Exactly the kind of female protagonist who annoys me, I must admit.

    • Haha! I couldn’t even really bring myself to analyse the book – I just wanted them all to go jump off a cliff! But I do like the cover… and I love that dance routine!! 😉

  3. Ditto! Who cares? I felt the same about The Pursuit of Love by NM–good cover tho!
    Not having grown up with the horsy set–can’t relate to those folks.
    Loved the old reel from On the Town—Gene Kelly steals the show even when
    he’s not trying–so good!

    • So glad I’m not alone! Yes, the bed-hopping affairs of the pointless aristocracy somehow fail to hold my attention! Up the revolution, I say!!

      Gene Kelly is my favourite dancer – he’s brilliant! But I also love that frock with a passion…

  4. I like Mitford but I think you do have to like a certain breed of book to like hers, and if you don’t like them, you don’t like them all. Thanks for being an honest reviewer, though!

    • Yep, I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that I simply don’t get on with British female authors of that era – between the snobbery and the fixation with romance/sex my poor teeth never get a break from grinding… 😉

  5. Commiserations, I also had a disagreeable Mitford experience recently. Following the dalliances of the upper crust during the current economic climate didn’t make for the most comfortable of reads! 😉

  6. I liked The Blessing it is far from perfect though – and not her best. In the Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are her best by far – they are altogether sharper but with a deceptively light touch. I agree with Liz though if you don’t like this kind of writing Nancy Mitford won’t be for you. It also helps to know lots about the Mitford family as pursuit and climate are very autobiographical.

    • Yes, I fear it’s me – I seem to really struggle to find things to appreciate in these British female authors of the early/mid 20th century. It’s a pity in retrospect that I didn’t try one of her better regarded ones first, but I suspect I would probably have ended up feeling much the same. It’s probably the effect of being brought up on Red Clydeside… 😉

  7. Wait…you read all the way through this thing and tossed it across the room before finishing the ending?? Dear me, you must have hated it way more than you’ve said! Frankly, I’m a bit surprised, though — I’d at least have peeked to learn whether these dull characters managed to inflict themselves back on one another!

    • Haha! I know! But by that time I just wanted them all to disappear out of my life for ever! I picked it up to read the last bit and my heart sank – I swear the day actually got darker! So I tossed it into the charity bag and read something else instead! I suspect they did get together again, though – they deserved each other… 😉

  8. SIgh of relief. Can give this book a pass without another thought. The prehistoric man clip was definitely not Hollywood’s finest hour with respect to diversity, although Ann Miller’s dancing was always superb.

    • Not worth a single moment of your time – but LF would argue differently! 😉 Haha! I know, but I love these old Hollywood musicals regardless of subject matter – I spend so much time looking at the dancing and the frocks that the subliminal messages have to just do their own thing…

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