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Nancy Mitford was, in the words of her sister Lady Diana Mosley, 'very, very complex'. Her highly autobiographical early work, the biographies and novels of her more mature French period, her journalism, and the vast body of letters to her family, friends such as Evelyn Waugh, and to the great love of her life, Gaston Palewski, all tell an intriguing story. Drawing from these, as well as conversations with Mitford's two surviving sisters, acquaintances and colleagues, prize-winning author Laura Thompson has fashioned a portrait of a contradictory and courageous woman. Approaching her subject with wit, perspicacity and huge affection, Thompson makes her serious points lightly, eschewing cliches about the eccentricities of the Mitford clan. Life in a Cold Climate is full of the sound of Mitfordian laughter; but tells also the often paradoxical and complex story beneath the smiling and ever elegant facade.