‘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 her 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.
An isolated childhood in the hideous Cotswold house built by their father Lord Redesdale (‘Farve’), where life centred round the church and the Conservative party, turned ‘Decca’ as she was known into a lifelong socialist. At 18 she made her escape, eloping spectacularly with her charismatic left-wing cousin Esmond Romilly, moving to the East End of London and then running a bar in Miami. Hons and Rebels is a story of sheer bravado brilliantly told by one of the most eccentric members of an eccentric family.