Miranda Seymour

Out of the Caskets

In Tearing Haste: The Letters of Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor


John Murray 416pp £25 order from our bookshop

Take one beautiful young duchess, the youngest and cheeriest of the Mitford sisters. Give her Lismore, a romantic Irish castle plumbed by a modern-minded aunt-in-law (Adele Astaire). Throw in Chatsworth, sometimes described by its chatelaine to her friends and guests as ‘the dump’. Add – don’t even think about sex, for there isn’t a whisper of hanky-panky in a correspondence chastely edited by Charlotte Mosley – one of the most ebullient, erudite and handsome men of his generation. Remind yourself (you won’t need to, since the Duchess and PLF kick off this exchange of letters with tributes to each other’s achievements) that this is the man who, while posted to Crete during the Second World War, captured a German general and held him prisoner for eighteen days, thus winning the undying devotion of all Anglophile Hellenes for ever more. (This really doesn’t seem to be much of an exaggeration.)

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,