Is ‘The Pursuit of Love’ Based on a True Story? Meet the Mitford Sisters

The Pursuit of Love on Prime Video has all the makings of a basic British interval drama. There’s a modern heroine, good-looking suitors, wild scandals, and beautiful manor estates. But is The Pursuit of Love additionally based mostly on a true story? The Nancy Mitford novel the Lily James sequence is predicated upon is commonly thought-about to be “semi-autobiographic.” What precisely does that imply? Well, clearly The Pursuit of Love is fiction, however many of its wilder plot particulars and most profound characters have been stolen from Nancy Mitford’s actual life. It is a glimpse of what life felt like for one of the legendary Mitfords.

The Pursuit of Love focuses on two cousins and shut finest buddies, Linda Radlett (Lily James) and Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham). Fanny narrates the story and explains that Christmases for her have been outlined by visited her Uncle Matthew and the Radletts at their decrepit property Alconleigh. While Fanny follows a fairly easy trajectory in life, following the guidelines and settling down with a sort scholar (Shazad Latif), Linda throws all warning to the wind and follows ardour. She first marries, in opposition to her household’s needs, a good-looking, right-wing politician. That marriage is instantly a catastrophe. Then, after losing seven years partying with the “Bright Young Things” of London, she falls laborious for a younger Communist named Christian Talbot (James Frecheville). She divorces her husband, inflicting a scandal, and runs away to Southern France to volunteer assist in the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately, Linda winds up in Paris with a new lover earlier than World War II brings her again the UK, and extra tragedy.

Edmund Romilly and Jessica Mitford in 1940
Edmund Romilly and Jessica Mitford in American in 1940. Romilly would die a 12 months later in WWII.Photo: Getty Images

While there aren’t direct one-to-one correlations between Linda, Fanny, and the Mitford sisters, The Pursuit of Love borrows from a lot of the household’s wilder tales. Life at Alconleigh was modeled after the Mitfords’ childhood at their ancestral dwelling of Asthall Manor. (The Hon membership is definitely a focus of Nancy’s sister Jessica Mitford’s personal memoir Hons and Rebels.) Nancy’s best-loved novels loosely fictionalized the outsized personalities of her household and their radical decisions in the early twentieth century. The Mitford sisters have been society favorites in the ’30s and ’40s, however they weren’t as well-known for his or her partying as for his or her radically totally different decisions of political events. Nancy and her sister Jessica advanced into left-leaning writers. Jessica, specifically, was an all-out Communist who ran away from dwelling to battle in the Spanish Civil War and forge a profession as an investigative journalist.

If that sounds barely acquainted, that may be as a result of each Linda and her little sister’s storylines crib from this. But Nancy additionally had her Linda-esque moments. She spent years pining after Hamish St Clair Erskine, a youthful, flamboyant man who was homosexual and mainly every thing her staunchly conservative father would reject. (Sound a bit like Lord Merlin to you? ) When that finally fell aside, she had a transient, ill-fated marriage that ended relatively fast. Like Linda, she didn’t initially have success in love and finally discovered her solution to Paris, the place she lived out her days, changing into a best-selling novelist and biographer.

Unity, Diana, and Nancy Mitford
From L to R: Unity, Diana, and Nancy Mitford in 1932…earlier than Nancy wrote a novel tearing down Fascists and mocking her sisters in 1935.Photo: Getty Images

However, Nancy Mitford didn’t simply borrow from her household for the romantic elements of The Pursuit of Love. Linda’s first marriage to the Nazi-sympathizing Tony Kroesig is clearly influenced by the most notorious Mitford sisters: Diana and Unity. The two are infamous for buddying up with Adolf Hitler and brazenly flaunting Fascism in Great Britain. Nancy briefly flirted with their politics earlier than turning totally anti-Fascist. Nancy finally spied on Diana and her husband to British Intelligence throughout World War II, prompting the two’s detainment. Unity was an all-out Nazi who tried to commit suicide after Hitler’s loss of life to observe her good friend and idol to the grave. It was…a lot.

The Pursuit of Love was revealed in 1945, which suggests the wry and witty Nancy Mitford was nonetheless in all probability grappling with what this all meant for her and her household. Her novel, curiously, is much less about the bigger world implications than the smaller, intimate ones. How did politics drive households aside? How may they’ve sparked romances? And by means of all of it, may two tightly-bound girls who selected totally different existence nonetheless be family and friends?

The Pursuit of Love is emphatically a work of fiction, however it displays the joys and sorrows of a actual lady who had a entrance row seat to some of the most tumultuous instances in trendy historical past.

Where to stream The Pursuit of Love

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