- Title: Don't Tell Alfred
- Author: Nancy Mitford
- ISBN: 9780881845976
- Page: 308
- Format: Paperback
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 housewife to an absent minded Oxford don, Alfred But her life changes overnight when her beloved Alfred is appoint 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 housewife to an absent minded Oxford don, Alfred But her life changes overnight when her beloved Alfred 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 secretary begins filling the embassy with rescued animals and her 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.
Recent Comments "Don't Tell Alfred"
Of the 3 Nancy Mitford novels I’ve read thus far, this one was a little less satisfying. Fanny Wincham’s life gets into the fast lane when her beloved husband Alfred, an Oxford professor of theology, is appointed the British Ambassador in Paris. The wife of the previous Ambassador (Lady Leone) is none too pleased at having to vacate the kind of life to which she had become accustomed and enjoyed for the previous 5 years. She stages a sit/lay-in at the official residence, where her numerous f [...]
Mitford has an acute sense of the absurd. Remember thethingie about U & Non-U words: Pardon? (Non) What? (U) that reveal class? Nancy started it all. This drolleryabout diplomacy, inspired by her living in Paris, spoons up like a creamy dessert as the UK ambassador's wife dissesthe bores & le beau monde. Published in 1960, it tweaks the styles and politics of the day.'What can't be cured must be endured,' says the heroine as shecontemplates life after 50 and then finds herself thrust int [...]
This is the third Nancy Mitford I have read, and unfortunately I did not enjoy it as much as the first two. Fanny is still the narrator of the story but the years have passed and she now has four grown boys. Her Husband, Alfred, a don at Oxford, has taken over as Ambassador to France and so Fanny up and moves to Paris. It is here we meet a whole host of characters, some likable and some not. Fanny has to learn the role of Ambassadress and familiarize herself with all the new faces. Poor Fanny's [...]
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 ma [...]
Don't Tell Alfred is the third book in Nancy Mitford's series that began with The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. Written 15 years after the first two books, it is quite a different book. The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate dealt with the 'bright young things' of the inter-war years of the 20s and 30s, satirising high society manners and concerned with the loves and foibles of upper class English families. Fanny was very much a secondary character; a narrator somewhat remo [...]
Always a safe bet.It's not Mitford's best novel, as I'm sure most readers would agree. It shows an older generation facing the cataclysmic changes of the sixties: rejection of traditional values, adulation of pop stars, spurious annexing of eastern philosophies, runaway children, the beginnings of the classless society. While I give credit to Mitford for attempting it, it makes for a much less happy mix than her previous novels. But just as sometimes we forgive people a lot because of their char [...]
Mostly disappointed. The sense of sharp melancholy and bitter humor that infected The Pursuit of Love and Love In A Cold ClimatDon't Tell Alfred. The first two, written 15 plus years before, were fierce, biting almost comedies of manners, hilarious and humorous then unexpectedly lachrymose. Don't Tell Alfred has a definitely feel of farce, much more episodic. The setting (France in the 1960s,) seems more specific than the settings of the first two (English society in the early part of the 20th c [...]
This novel takes place about 15 years after the events of Love in a Cold Climate. Fanny is a middle-aged mother of four grown children, slightly bored by her life as the wife of an Oxford don, when her husband is suddenly appointed ambassador to France. Wacky antics ensue when she and her newly knighted husband Alfred move into the embassy in Paris.I don’t doubt that Mitford’s contemporaries found this book entertaining, but I didn’t like it nearly as well as the first two books in this lo [...]
Fanny's wrestlings with the former ambassador's wife, who digs in, passively-aggressive occupying a wing of the residence, and with her errant sons, especially the Zen-quoting David who indefinitely occupies the more elegant of the spare rooms, were very, very funny.
Il terzo volume della trilogia che include The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. Scritto (e ambientato) molto più tardi degli altri due, risente decisamente del confronto, pur difendendosi bene in generale. La trama è come sempre più o meno inesistente e si basa sul trasferimento come ambasciatore a Parigi di Alfred, il marito di Fanny, la narratrice dei primi due romanzi che qui diventa protagonista. Nonostante questo Fanny non brilla per originalità, a differenza di tutti gli alt [...]
Don't Tell Alfred follows the middle aged Fanny in Paris following her husband's appointment as the British ambassador to France.The book doesn't retain some of the charm of Mitford's other novels, mainly because it revolves around life in Paris. While her other novels details the habits and eccentricities of the upper classes in England, this novel focuses on Fanny's life in Paris as the wife of an ambassador.Like all of Mitford's novels, she does an excellent job of conveying to the reader som [...]
Blah. This book – the final part of Nancy Mitford’s trilogy centering on narrator Fanny and her assorted friends and relatives – is not good. And by not good, I mean low-budget ’90s sequel not good. I could list why this book fails (I have a list of five primary reasons – and yes, I did actually take notes on why this book didn’t work), but it mostly makes me sad. The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are good, well-crafted stories. Don’t Tell Alfred hints at the sparkle a [...]
after reading and loving "the pursuit of love" and "love in a cold climate" i was heartily warned *not* to read this one, because it just doesn't hold up to those. so i didn't, until a whim hit fairly recently. and i was delighted by how much i enjoyed it. perhaps enough time has passed since i read those other two that the characters here don't quite seem like the same people and it's possible to enjoy the novel in and of itself and not as "the continued adventures of " it's very enjoyable and [...]
Nancy Mitford is quintessential British literature - and this book, even if it's not on the level of the wonderful The Pursuit of Love, and its sequel Love In a Cold Climate (from which it borrows some essential characters), is a delightful read. The tale of a the new ambassador of Great Britain and his wife in wicked Paris is very witty, very funny, written with style, glamourous yet amusingly cruel, and quite right on the target - Mitford's sharp views on the French or on her fellow countrymen [...]
I liked this a little better than the other Nancy Mitford I've read. The humor is mostly good, and is substantially less reliant on family/social in-jokes as far as I can tell. The entire story is clearly less autobiographical. Still, the main characters are drawn directly from those autobio/fiction works, and it's not a far stretch to put Mitford in the narrator's seat. The ending was less than satisfying as well. Really, none of her endings have been anything but sudden and odd so far. I'd put [...]
To have Fanny at the center, rather than as the narrator, was fantastic! Poor Fanny, dealing with scandal after scandal, and the misadventures of her children - yet it was very entertaining for me!One note, This book should be read after Pursuit of Love, Love In A Cold Climate, and The Blessing, because Mitford expects you to know a lot of characters and their/their family's histories. I can imagine that there would be confusion if the reader hadn't read the previous books first.
Eh. Interesting, maybe. But somewhere in the 30 or so year gap between the last "autobiographical novel" (one character clearly is a stand-in for Nancy's own Polish lover) the author had her sense of humor gland replaced by a more than a bit nasty irony gland. Oh, and she hates America too (doubtlessly because of her Communist -- and funeral-home exposing -- sister, who moved to California).
Fanny's life is being turned upside down. She has spent a quiet life in Oxford with her husband, raising her boys. They are now gone from home, two out of school and two at Eton. What is Fanny to do? Settle into middle age and just wait for death? Sounds fine to her. Then she receives a shocking blow, her husband has been named Ambassador to France, making her Ambassadress. They are to uproot their lives and start hosting cocktail parties and dealing with foreign crises in a large mansion in Fra [...]
To quote the Chicago Sunday Tribune, Nancy Mitford's Don't Tell Alfred is "a wickedly clever novel, hilariously funny " Mitford daringly and deftly juggles foibles of the English, French, Americans, and teenagers in the context of international diplomacy and family dynamics. Written from the point of view of Fanny, Alfred's wife, the novel recounts ridiculous scenarios during Alfred's first year as English ambassador to France in mid-twentieth century Paris. These scenarios are laugh-out-loud f [...]
I'm demonstrably too old to contribute to , and here's part of the demonstration: Nancy Mitford's Don't Tell Alfred is terribly funny novel which pokes insightful fun at politics, parenting and the early manifestations of phenomena like Beatlemania. True, it's better if you've read Mitford's semi-autobiographical The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and if you've experienced the late 50's, but Don't Tell Alfred is a stand-alone comedy of manners which transcends its own time. Plus ça [...]
I'm sure this was a scintillating roman a clef back in the day, but I neither know these people nor really could be made to care. Nancy Mitford was an acclaimed author of her time but this novel is very much of a certain period. While sometimes that can be charming, I didn't find it so. The characterizations were a little broad at times.I didn't quite finish it because - why? I read enough to feel I can claim to have read it for my purposes.I should add I am currently having a fascination with a [...]
Not anywhere close to perfectly frothy and delightful as Pursuit and Cold Climate, but after third reading, not as terrible as I'd thought upon first finishing it, even reasonably enjoyable. Works well on heels of Blessing.
Not as funny as Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate but still amusing, with some great characters introduced. I wish we'd seen more of Baz, but Northey was a darling.
Mitford's grasp on capturing the eccentricities and nuances of people, particularly from a generational point of view, is second to none. While perhaps not her most sparkling work I still enjoyed every moment I spent with Fanny in the Paris Embassy.
In a moment of vintage seeking I embarked (or more likely re-embarked, I am %70 certain I read this long ago), on Nancy Mitford's Don’t Tell Alfred, having read a very engaging article about Mitford in an old newspaper clipping. The clipping itself is probably vintage, going by the age of the yellow newspaper.This is a good book and it probably deserved more stars than I gave it but I couldn't fully say that I enjoyed this book.I enjoyed most of the primary characters, the random chaos (which [...]
Other reviewers here lament the lack of a bittersweet quality to be found in the first two volumes, and I think this is exactly right. While there is nothing wrong with the novel per se, it does seem to be missing something when compared with her earlier works.In all fairness, though, I do need to cite this passage which made me forgive much:"'So we remember the old world as it has been for a thousand years, so beautiful and diverse, and which, in only thirty years, has crumbled away. When we we [...]
This is Nancy Mitford cranked up to eleven. It's a little grating when everything is that much more ridiculous, that much more staged, and every character's eccentricity is cranked to eleven. However, it works in everyone's favor when Mitford is exquisitely on point with some of her ruminations about France, about parenthood, about changing times, about Paris itself. There are these tiny moments of loveliness slid in amongst the ridiculousness that will have you idly researching plane tickets to [...]
Although I loved both of Nancy Mitford's earlier novels in this loose autobiographical trilogy (In Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate), I feel that this was my favourite of the three. It may be due to her narrator, Fanny, who had been very much on the sidelines in the other two novels finally taking central stage. Also, the novel is set in the late 1950s, which I had experienced as a child, and so the society and some of the cultural references were more relevant to me than those in the [...]
"We meet again the unforgettable characters of Nancy Mitford's earlier books along with a gallery of new faces. We are treated to antic misbehavior as Miss Mitford gleefully charts the cracks in society's upper crust."When Alfred is suddenly posted to Paris as ambassador, Fanny must manage the huge ambassador's residence. Troubles begin at once when the previous ambassador's wife refuses to leave, setting up a rival salon across the courtyard."Fanny successfully deals with Lady Leone and her own [...]
Having just re-read The Pursuit of Love I thought I would finish the trilogy with this final book. Simultaneously I read The Horror of Love, a biography of Nancy Mitford and Gaston Palewski, which made me realise that a lot of the French politics in Don't Tell Alfred was actually first-hand knowledge because Nancy spent so much time at the British Embassy herself, first in the Twenties, when she stayed with a friend who was the grand-daughter of the Ambassador of the time, and later, when she mo [...]
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