Fanny, who is married to the bumbling, absent-minded Oxford don Alfred, is content with her role as a plain, tweedy housewife. But her life changes overnight when Alfred is appointed English Ambassador to Paris. Suddenly she is mixing with royalty, Rothschilds and Dior-clad wives, giving cocktail parties and having her every move and outfit printed in the papers the next day. And, as well as her new found fame, she also has to deal with organising her friends’ love lives and keeping track of her maverick sons. And with a diplomatic crisis on the horizon, Embassy life in Parisian high society is certainly never dull.
I have always loved Nancy Mitford's novels in the Love in a Cold Climate series and looked forward to being entertained by Don't Tell Alfred on my daily commute. Emilia Fox has a pleasant voice and does well by Fanny but is entirely unable to produce credible French accents or to speak the occasional lines of French which appear in the text. Not only this but she makes Grace de Valhubert (an Englishwoman married to a Frenchman but affecting to speak English with a French accent) sound like a Russian with a sore throat! All this is surprising from a generally talented actress. I am looking forward to hearing The Blessing but would not be purchasing it if it was narrated by Ms Fox! Book: 5 stars; narration: 3 stars
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This witty little novel is totally destroyed by the 'French' pronunciation of the reader which bears little relation to the French language. Furthermore, the entire reading is expressionless with very little differentiation between individual characters. I struggled to hear it to the end.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great sequel to 'Love in a Cold Climate'. Very funny and well read.
Is there a sequel? Love Nancy Mitford
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
No deep revelations appear in this frivolous, light-hearted reading. Entertaining and diverting but certainly not Shakespeare!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Struggled to finish this as it lacked a common thread and had too many characters
Would you try another book written by Nancy Mitford or narrated by Emilia Fox?
Nancy Mitford has been one of my favorite authors since I was a girl but I would recommend any other book by Nancy Mitford before I would recommend this one. I think the author was ill and tired when she wrote this and it shows. It lacks the timeless themes and wit of the others like Love in a Cold Climate, The Blessing and The Pursuit of Love.
What about Emilia Fox’s performance did you like?
Emilia Fox is a good narrator, but why on earth did she give Grace a faux French accent, when her Englishness is her main characteristic in The Blessing?
If this book were a film would you go see it?
I would not go and see this as a film. A brilliant miniseries was made by the BBC in the 1980's on The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and then it was done again in 2001, and it was unwatchable. Don't Tell Alfred would not translate to the screen, the story line where all Fanny's sons go off the rails would be unintelligible.
Any additional comments?
Reading, or listening to, Don't Tell Alfred made me think about how people must feel when, having seen The Rolling Stones in their prime, they buy tickets to seem them in 2015. They remember how Mick Jagger used to make them feel and get a warm feeling from that, rather than enjoying the performance. This is for loyal readers, if you hear this first, before the other novels, you will be left scratching your head over why people say Nancy is such a brilliant novelist.