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Don't Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford
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Don't Tell Alfred (1960)

by Nancy Mitford

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I like anything by the Mitfords. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This book is not that easy to assess. It is perfectly readable. The problem is one of comparison - it is the last in a trilogy of books by Nancy Mitford, and the first two are so exceptional that this one can’t help but seem a little insipid. The three books are all narrated by Fanny, who is very conventional and generally unsure of herself, counterposing the colourful and eccentric characters that surround her and whose stories she recounts in the first two novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. The third book concentrates on Fanny’s story, and it is a middle-aged Fanny who has gone to live in Paris, and who seems curiously detached from her children and her husband. The people around her are still far more interesting than she is; in this case it is her children and her niece. It is their unusual exploits which must be kept from Alfred, her husband. Continued ( )
1 vote apenguinaweek | May 14, 2011 |
[2010-08-14] I've long enjoyed "The pursuit of love" and "Love in a cold climate", so when I saw this in Oxfam a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed it. It's set a couple of decades later, and tells how Fanny's life changes when her husband is appointed as the British Ambassador to France. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first two, but it's still a hilarious tale of life in the English upper classes.

http://julesjones.livejournal.com/400697.html ( )
1 vote JulesJones | Dec 18, 2010 |
This is my favourite - and I think the funniest - of all Nancy Mitford's books. This is Fanny (from Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate) now in her middle years. Her university don husband is now the English Ambassador in France and her boys have grown into not what she quite ever expected. Interestingly it is set in the 50s when the world was changing, teds, hippies and entrepreneurs. Some of the characters from her earlier books make an appearance and it is interesting to think how much of it was real as she had been very good friends with one ambassador and not keen on another in real life. Certainly many of the characters are based on real life friends and family. It didn't get all good reviews but I love it and will laugh when I read it again and again ( )
1 vote Summermoonstone | Jul 18, 2010 |
I love Nancy Mitford and I loved this novel. It may not quite have the comic punch that The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold climate do - but it is often very funny, and best of all reunites us with some of those beloved characters from her other books. Fanny is now middleaged, the mother of four boys, two grown up, and causing their parents to despair, and two still at Eton, who during the course of this novel run away and have a few adventures, causing a few more anxieties. When Alfred is made Ambassador to Paris, Fanny's cosy Oxford life changes to one of diplomacy, receptions, cocktail parties, and dodging the gutter press. She hires a cousin of hers Northey as her social secretary - an hilarious (and typical Mitford) character and definitely the best part of the book. She is flighty, prone to tears - especially over animals - she adopts a badger and rescues some crabs that were destined for table, and has half of Paris falling at her feet. ( )
1 vote Heaven-Ali | Aug 3, 2009 |
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Dedication
To Anna Maria Cicogna
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On the day which was to be such a turning-point in my life, I went to London by the 9.7.
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"Oh, how I wish I knew where we went wrong with those boys --!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Sequel to The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. From the trade paperback edition: In this delightful comedy, Fanny -- the quietly observant narrator of Nancy Mitford’s two most famous novels -- finally takes center stage.
Fanny Wincham, last seen as a young woman in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, has lived contentedly for years as the wife of an absent-minded Oxford don, Alfred. But her life changes overnight when he is appointed English Ambassador to Paris. Soon she finds herself mixing with royalty and Rothschilds while battling her hysterical predecessor, Lady Leone, who refuses to leave the premises. When Fanny’s tender-hearted niece/secretary Northey begins filling the embassy with rescued animals, and her two teenage sons run away from Eton and show up with a rock star in tow, things get entirely out of hand. Gleefully sending up the antics of mid-century high society, Don’t Tell Alfred is classic Mitford.

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Fanny is married to bumbling, absent-minded Oxford don Alfred. She is content with her role as a plain, tweedy housewife, but her life changes overnight when Alfred is appointed English Ambassador to Paris.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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