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The Mitford Affair

A Novel

by Marie Benedict

The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict X
The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict
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The Human Mind and Heart
As the Psalmist wrote,"the human mind and heart are a mystery." Marie Benedict, in her historical novel The Mitford Affair illustrates this by giving us the possible, and likely in my opinion, thoughts and words of the Mitford family. The author focuses on Diana, and Unity, the two sisters most involved in the fascist movement in Britain before and after WW II. The focus is also on Nancy who is involved in their actions as a concerned sister. Diana becomes infatuated with Oswald Mosley, leader of the movement in Britain. Unity becomes equally mesmerized by Hitler. Nancy reflects on the events in their lives and the effect upon the family and the country. With hesitance and ambivalence Nancy learns the effect it has on her as well, leading her to make difficult moral choices regarding loyalty. As a student of the history of Germany from 1918 to 1945 I was led to the fascist movement in Britain and Oswald Mosley. It was only after reading the letters of Nancy Mitford that I began to develop an interest in the contentious, dysfunctional, aristocratic Mitford family. The Mitfords were no exception to Tolstoy's comment that all unhappy families are so in their own way. I found the words, thoughts and actions of all the Mitfords believable based on my limited knowledge of them through reading works of history, including Nancy's letters. Yet, one never knows for sure because the human mind and heart are a mystery. My readings of the era left me with a limited and factual view of the Mitfords. The author of this novel, however, left me with the understanding that despite their questionable actions and beliefs, the Mitfords were human beings who made choices that led to sad and unfortunate situations for themselves and others. Before reading the novel I saw Nancy as an author of caustic wit, a socialite and just another member of an eccentric family. I finished the novel seeing Nancy in a more positive light. We never know with any certainty why humans make the choices they do or their reasons for them. The question of how one can be drawn into personality cults is a timely one in the 2020s. Politics is highly personal, leading one down roads sometimes and explainable and sometimes not. The novel is a good read, a page-turner and one I highly recommend.
Power Reviewer
Susan Roberts

Historical Fiction
The Mitford family was a prominent part of English society in the years between World War I and II. The six sisters were considered the Bright Young Things of their time and they were all outspoken and strong women and were very close. Marie Benedict has written a historical fiction novel about this real family and the scandals that they created as England went to war with Germany.

Even though there were six sisters, the novel predominately focuses on three of them

-Diana was a beautiful woman who was married to the heir of the Guinness fortune She gave up her prominent place in society and divorced her husband to have an affair with the charismatic fascist leader who was still married.
-Unity was the sister who became a Nazi and was rumored to be the mistress of Hitler. She moved to Germany and was enthralled with Hitler and his leadership of Germany. She made no secret of her love of Hitler and his government.
-Nancy was the most normal of the three sisters and despite the fact that they had been close as children, their closeness waned after Diane and Unity became so political. Nancy was a novelist who often poked fun at her sisters and other important people in society in her books. She had some interest in the fascist movement in England but when the war became imminent, she made a choice to support the English government and helped the government when her two sisters were accused of being spies.

The author did extensive research into the sisters and the political climate that existed in England between the two world wars. This is a story about family and the love between sisters but more importantly it's about one sister making a choice between her loyalty to her family and her loyalty for her country.

Women who could change the world
Marie Benedict never fails to find women live in the shadows of great men yet have the power to change or affect history. The Mitford sisters certainly fit this category and Ms. Benedict has recreated their stories in a way that is so fascinating. Diana and Unity, especially, who flirted and dined with Hitler putting even their lives on the line to support him. Even while he threatens their own Homeland. They are a study in what can happen to women who become enthralled with powerful men. My sympathies lied with their sister Nancy who tried to make sense of the insanity surrounding her sisters actions and treason and ultimately had to make a decision to protect her beloved country. This book has definitely inspired me to do more research on these fascinating sisters.
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The Mitford Affair
by Marie Benedict
An explosive novel of history's most notorious sisters, one of whom will have to choose: her country or her family?

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