Love in a Cold Climate

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Love in a Cold Climate is a novel by Nancy Mitford, first published in 1945. It is the sequel to The Pursuit of Love and the second in a trilogy about an upper-class English family in the interwar period. Although a comedy, the story has tragic overtones.  The title of the book is a direct quotation from George Orwell's 1936 novel 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying'.

Nancy Mitford's brilliantly witty, irreverent stories of the upper classes in pre-war London and Paris conjure up a world of glamour, gossip and decadence. Her extraordinary heroines deal with armies of hilariously eccentric relatives, the excitement of love and passion, and the thrills of the social Season. But beneath the glittering surfaces and perfectly timed comic dialogue, Nancy Mitford's novels are also touching hymns to a lost era and to the brevity of life and love from one of the most individual, beguiling and creative users of the language.

Love in a Cold Climate focuses on the love life of young heiress Polly Hampton, a friend and neighbor of the Radletts.  Having recently returned from India with her parents, Lord and Lady Montdore, Polly is universally recognized as the most beautiful debutante of the season. To social-climbing Lady Montdore’s frustration, Polly shows no interest whatever in the many eligible men who pursue her. Then, just days after her aunt Patricia’s death, Polly shocks her family and the rest of genteel society by declaring that she is going to marry her recently widowed (and much older) uncle. Lord and Lady Montdore announce that Polly will be cut from their will if she does so, but Polly goes through with the wedding despite their wishes and sets off on her honeymoon looking blissfully happy. Forced now to leave their considerable estate to a distant relative, Lord and Lady Montdore send for the young heir, and Cedric Hampton quickly arrives – though he turns out to be not at all what anyone had expected.