The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict was on my list of highly anticipated books for 2023. And it did not disappoint.

Benedict certainly has a talent for uncovering compelling stories about powerful and influential women that have been overlooked or forgotten throughout history. And you’ll find what she’s best at in The Mitford Affair. If you’ve read one or more of her previous books, you’ll likely enjoy this one too. Because what better way is there to unpack the complex emotions and thoughts surrounding WWII than via family drama and intrigue told from a female perspective?

Straightaway, you’ll get attached to the three Mitford sisters and their stories as they begin to unfold. Midway through the book, however, you might find yourself questioning each of the sisters, their motives, as well as their actions (many of which are quite baffling)–which I would say is crucial to processing the importance of the novel and is a testament to the brilliant and realistic character development preset in it as well. You shouldn’t necessarily like all the characters in this novel, but you will walk away understanding them better, even if you don’t want to in the end. And each sister will ultimately have you scratching your head and will break your heart in one way or another.

At times, however, I thought there were bits of the narrative that were repetitive across the three sisters’ stories, and that there was often more telling than showing when it came to how each character was feeling and what was important to them and motivating them. And this is why I didn’t rate this novel five stars.

I urge all readers to read this novel to the very end, where it picks up pace and intensity and becomes even more engaging. And ultimately leaves us with musings and questions that are pertinent to our current times, as well. Seriously, read this book in its entirety.

One notable quote from the novel that has stuck with me since I finished it is:

How personal is the political in the end, I think. It turns each one of us into authors of our own histories; we become patriots and heroes and, where necessary, spies and traitors. Which of these, I wonder, am I?”

P.325 The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

For more information about this novel, see the summary of The Mitford Affair on Goodreads.

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