The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-73

by John Saumarez, Editor Smith
ISBN: 0711224528

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A Review of: The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952-1973
by Greg Gatenby

Finally, bibliophiles should note the publication of The Bookshop At 10 Curzon Street: Letters Between Nancy Mitford And Heywood Hill 1952-1973. Those simply looking for a reprise of 84 Charing Cross Road will be disappointed because the newer title lacks the innocence of the earlier-still, it has other charms. Mitford was a popular novelist in her day, but few knew that as a young woman she had worked as a general dogsbody in one of the more famous London bookshops of the twentieth century. Following WWII she moved to France, and it is her correspondence from the Continent with her ex-boss on Curzon Street which forms the basis of the book. She regaled him with news of what the bigwigs of literary France were thinking and celebrating and trashing. He kept her abreast of London literary gossip, genuine book news, the foibles of famous people who came to the shop, and the UK reactions to her own novels. The editor has done a good job of annotating otherwise obscure references and persons. While hardly desert-island fare, the book is fun to read for its insights into what was important to two erudite Britons at mid-century, and even old, good gossip (like good ol' gossip) remains strangely compelling.

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