The best of the Mitfords

Captivating and outrageous, the Mitford sisters were the most fascinating family of the 20th century.

The famous – and at times infamous – sisters were a mainstay of high society for more than 50 years.

Each of the six sisters was eccentric and unique; among the family there was a writer, Duchess, communist, and even a Nazi sympathiser. Their legacy as a family was proving women can be powerful and engaging – and even after their deaths they still capture the imagination of people around the world.

Much has been written by and about the Mitfords – today we’re sharing the best books that illuminate their fascinating lives and careers.

The Mitford Girls –  Mary S Lovell  

Mary S Lovell’s comprehensive biography of the Mitford family is an excellent overview of the family. The author works tirelessly to untangle the myth and legends that surround each of the sisters to get to the heart of who they really were. If you’ve ever wanted to know the history of the family and the strange stories of each of the girls, the Mitford Girls will not disappoint.

Find it at Waterstones

The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford

Nancy Mitford carved out a career as a successful novelist, and many of her most popular works were considered to be semi-autobiographical. Readers loved the books as much for the rumoured insights into the Mitford family as they did for the stories themselves. How much her life really influenced her art was debatable, but her novels remain interesting and worth reading. The Pursuit of Love was her first commercial success, but the following Love in a Cold Climate is also arguably among her most popular work. The book tells the story of an upper-class English family and their many tangled affairs with a sharp eye and biting wit.

Find it at Waterstones

The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters – Charlotte Mosley

The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters offers a chance to hear the story of the family in their own words. Spanning a century, the book complies the letters of the six girls from childhood right through to the last fax sent from Diana to Deborah just before she died in 2003. Before each chapter there is a short biography of each sister, but you get to know them just as well by their letters – their different personalities leap off the page as you read.

Find it at Waterstones

Hons and Rebels – Jessica Mitford

This tell-all memoir of the sisters’ early years is a fascinating account into what life was like from the perspective of the girls themselves. It focuses on their eccentric upbringing and weaves together a captivating story full of heart, fun and wisdom.

Find it at Waterstones

Wait for Me! – Deborah Devonshire

This is the most recent memoir, written by the youngest Mitford, Deborah – more commonly known as Debo. The book’s timeline spans from childhood right through to later life, sharing detailed accounts of her life as a Duchess and mistress of Chatsworth. If you like state visits and big banquets, there’s plenty of that to be found among the pages.

Find it at Waterstones

Have you read any of the books on our list? What are your thoughts on the Mitfords? Let us know in the comments below!  

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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11th Feb 2016
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Read The Mitford Girls, after attending an exhibition in Chatsworth about the sisters. Fascinating, so many unique and independent personalities in one family, well worth a look

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