Introducing the newest addition to the Slightly Foxed bookshelves: SF Edition No. 52, Jessica Mitford’s Hons and Rebels.
‘It was becoming rather apparent by this year of 1935 that not all of us were turning out quite according to plan,’ writes Jessica Mitford in this brilliantly funny and perceptive account of growing up as the fifth of the six notoriously headstrong Mitford sisters. And it was perhaps Jessica – always known as Decca – the lifelong hard-line socialist, who turned out least ‘according to plan’ of them all.
For the young Mitfords growing up at Swinbrook, the hideous, cold Cotswold house built by Lord Redesdale (‘Farve’), life was isolated and stiflingly uneventful. The plan for the girls was simple: a basic home education, followed by ‘coming out’ and a happy, well-heeled, well-connected marriage.
But Decca had other ideas. By 1935, with her three older sisters already out in the world, she was seething with hatred and discontent, and when she met her charismatic cousin Esmond Romilly, home from fighting against Franco in the Spanish Civil War, it was love at first sight. They eloped, and this was the beginning of a story which took them from a precarious existence in the East End of London to running a bar in Miami.
Hons and Rebels is a memoir that shocks and amuses by its sheer bravado. Please read on for Selina Hasting’s preface to this remarkable portrait of an eccentric family by one of its most eccentric members. We do hope you enjoy it.
With best wishes, as ever, from the SF office staff
Jennie, Anna, Hattie, Jess & Helen