The Mitfords: <BR>Letters Between Six Sisters

For much of the 20th century the six beautiful and variously gifted daughters of David Mitford, Lord Redesdale, appear again and again on the stage of world events. Two made their names with their pens: the eldest, Nancy, became the prolific and famed novelist and biographer; her younger sister Jessica, an ardent Communist, emigrated to the U.S. and rose to prominence as a journalist with her indelible The American Way of Death. The youngest, Deborah, married into the peerage, but for two of the sisters, ties to fascism would define their lives: Diana left her first husband for the charismatic British fascist Oswald Mosley and took her teenage sister, Unity, with her on a 1933 trip to Germany. Already a passionate follower of Mosley, Unity embarked on a personal quest to become acquainted with Hitler (she did). When war came, the devastated girl attempted suicide; meanwhile, Diana and her husband were imprisoned and effectively exiled from English society for the rest of their lives. This rich collection of the the sisters' correspondence (nicely choreographed by Diana's daughter-in-law Charlotte Mosley) brings to light their peculiar, passionate, often contradictory relationships -- frequently divided by their politics, the six nevertheless pined for letters from one another, and their betrayals and rivalries are chronicled here in their odd, cryptic private nursery language. Letters between Diana and Unity during the 1930s carry a particularly compelling, nightmarish edge. But the impact is in the whole, sprawling over decades, houses, politics, children, literary awards, and rude houseguests: a beguiling tangle of lives and personas, shot through with the brillance that made the Mitfords what they were. -

July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).