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Pub Date 20 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 20 Oct 2022

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A razor-sharp, laugh-out-loud novel that re-imagines the cast of Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love.

Marooned in a sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk, teenage Linda Radlett feels herself destined for greater things. She longs for love, but how will she ever find it? She can't even get a signal on her mobile phone. Linda's strict, former rock star father terrifies any potential suitors away, while her bohemian mother, wafting around in silver jewellery, answers Linda's urgent questions about love with upsettingly vivid allusions to animal husbandry.

Eventually Linda does find her way out from the bosom of her deeply eccentric extended family, and she escapes to London. She knows she doesn't want to marry 'a man who looks like a pudding', as her good and dull sister Louisa has done, and marries the flashy, handsome son of a UKIP peer instead. 

But this is only the beginning of Linda's pursuit of love, a journey that will be wilder, more surprising and more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

A razor-sharp, laugh-out-loud novel that re-imagines the cast of Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love.

Marooned in a sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk, teenage Linda Radlett feels herself destined for...

Advance Praise

‘A savagely funny, bracingly sad, dazzlingly clever reimagining of The Pursuit of Love. I loved it’ Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss

‘A triumph! Brilliantly done, faithful but imaginative, tremendously romantic and very funny. Meeting the Radlett family again in the 21st century was an absolute a treat, rather like hearing a new arrangement of beloved old carol and hearing it anew, with trumpets’ Nina Stibbe, author of Reasons to be Cheerful

‘Sheer brilliance. Darling is hilarious and heartbreaking and vivid and clever and utterly compulsive - I absolutely loved it’ Francesca Segal, author of Mother Ship

 'Total escapist bliss. A joyous updating of the Mitford classic. I loved every page' Sabine Durrant, author of Finders, Keepers

Darling is a black forest gateau of a book: rich characters, sumptuous prose, delicious dialogue, and layered throughout with sharp wit and intelligence (which are even better than the cherry liqueur the gateau calls for). Somehow, India Knight’s writing manages to be hilarious, melancholy, insightful, and romantic all at the same time. Treat yourself to this novel’ Katherine Heiny, author of Early Morning Riser

‘I completely and utterly loved Darling from the first page to the last. It's howlingly funny in places, brutally sad (but true!) in others, so well observed and written with such cleverness, charm and love. She has an eye like a magpie for those strange English behaviours and is the only writer who could have written this wonderful, wonderful novel’ Sophia Money Coutts, author of Did you Miss Me?

‘A savagely funny, bracingly sad, dazzlingly clever reimagining of The Pursuit of Love. I loved it’ Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss

‘A triumph! Brilliantly done, faithful but imaginative...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781905490851
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

I read this book in one sitting, and it was an absolute joy. I love India Knight and I love the Mitfords so I knew I would enjoy Darling, but it surpassed all my expectations. Combining the two has created a delicious alchemy.

Darling is a very recognisable modern retelling of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, but it is also somehow entirely it’s own thing. The writing felt timeless, the characters are a dream - I laughed out loud so many times, particularly at Uncle Matthew. It is charming and funny but with a terrific spikiness, it has the sort of gossipy observation of a big Jilly Cooper novel (a huge compliment!) and I was devastated to finish and stop hanging out with a family I had fallen so hard for,

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Darling is one of those books that introduces you to a large crowd of extraordinary characters, let you fall in love with each and every one of them, and leaves you heartbroken when finished. I can’t see myself recover from the heartbreak any time soon.

India Knight did a marvelous job with the reimagining of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. The writing was smart and excellent, and the recreation of Radletts’ (honorary) family members was simply perfect. The way they interacted and moved around each other’s perks and preferences is heartening and downright hilarious. Especially Uncle Matthew, who wholeheartedly loved or loathed almost anyone and anything (and how everyone seemed to brace themselves for his eccentric outbursts) was highly entertaining.

I love how the story is told from Franny’s perspective, allowing her to share her sharp observations. The narrative is smart, wit, and a bit snarky, making this book laugh out loud funny even though the course of their lives was not all sunshine and rainbows.

Five full stars.

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I have read and loved India Knights books before so was really looking forward to this! I loved the idea of the re-telling of The Pursuit of Love and the resultant slightly mad, warm, funny and sad story. I read it in one sitting and didn't want it to end.

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I absolutely LOVED this book! Am still thinking about the characters days later - it's mainly Linda's story but Davey, Matthew and Merlin were so well drawn. And the dialogue is sparky and just crackles. I know it's a reimagining of The Pursuit of Love (which I've read but can't remember!) but India Knight really takes it and creates a whole new world. Funny, quirky and heartbreaking x

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I was curious to see how this "updated" version would work and very much enjoyed it. I thought the POV worked very well and while the cast of characters are familiar, they still seem fresh. It is full of fun and madness and is wonderfully quirky. A quick read, ideal for holidays.

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India Knight takes on the mighty task of re-imagining Nancy Mitford's classic comedy of manners, The Pursuit of Love.

There is a lot of pressure, taking on a novel that is beloved of so many people, me included, and I approached this with some trepidation, but I have to say that this is an absolute triumph.

Linda Radlett is a hopeless romantic. Brought up in the Norfolk countryside by her parents, Matthew, an ageing and deeply eccentric rockstar and Sadie, a generous earth mother who home schools the children, she is agog to get at the modern world. Once she meets Lord Merlin, an avant garde fashion designer who owns the stately home next door, she begins to model for him and is sucked into the world she thinks she wants, only to find it is not quite what she imagined.

This has all the best elements of the original, cleverly and beautifully. brought up to date by Knight. It is an absolute and utter joy.

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Thank you to India Knight, NetGalley and the publishers for the e-arc of this marvelous book!

This characters in this book are absolutely fascinating! Tied to this one magical family of the Radlett's and their surrounding neighbours, colleagues and friends it tells the story of the daughter: Linda's romances. Often ill fated it spins a tale of love, loss and the way romance changes us.

Hilarious, heartbreaking and heartfelt these characters feel so important to me I care about them deeply and that ending really did break my heart.

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Classic Dry Wit..
A rather magnificent re-telling of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. Readers may well approach with some considerable trepidation, but worry not as this is simply wonderful. With a perfectly crafted cast of characters, snappy dialogue and a swiftly moving narrative, this hits the mark. Edgy, satirical, sharp, amusing and beautifully observed with a classic dry wit.

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It’s been likened to ‘The Pursuit of Love’ but I haven’t read it so can’t comment, but I loved this book from start to finish.

Our narrator is Fran (the Darling of the title) who is looking back at the time she lived with her Radlett cousins at Alconleigh in the ‘absolute arse end’ of Norfolk. We meet Uncle Matthew (former rock star, anti-mobile phones, and many other things) and Auntie Sadie (matriarch, stately and serene), oldest cousin Linda (militant vegetarian, hopeless romantic), Louisa (17) Jassy (12) and Robin (3). There’s a lot of home educating, the great outdoors, dungarees, improbable suitors and their strange parents, heartbreak and sadness (the ending – sob).

Great cast of characters – from Uncle Matthew who has some of the best lines, to Creepy Jared who minds the horses! Especially loved the two pages of things Uncle Matthew hates, which includes hats, Dijon mustard, pot pourri, poncy sunglasses and racists. Oh and books. He has only read ‘A Street Cat named Bob’ which moved him so profoundly that he vowed never to read anything else ever again, since nothing else could ever be as good.

There are so many great lines in this book – and not just from Matthew. Highly recommended – and not just because it’s set in Norfolk!

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Everything you could ever want in a novel.

I’m a fast reader, but I read this book slowly. I read every single line carefully, and I feel like the characters lived with me, on the train, at the gym, in my room, as much as I did with them, at Alconleigh. Knight’s writing is concise and witty and devastating, and she has the magic of conjuring a whole, believable individual (a whole host of them, really!) in just a handful of words. This has to be one of my favourite books that I have ever read in my entire life (something I do not say lightly), and I’m going to have to buy a print copy even though the ending has left me absolutely heartbroken and a little tearful, and I’m not sure how I’ll get through it again…

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin/Fig Tree for this privilege.

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An utterly charming reimagining of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. The characters are what make Mitford’s original, and Knight has captured them perfectly here in this contemporary update.

Knight has chosen to make her adaptation as faithful as possible, with strong echoes of the original throughout, so much so that I sometimes felt I was reading particularly excellent fanfiction. Her love for the source text is infectious, and while it’s hard for me to separate the two, I can imagine it carries even if you have never encountered the Radletts before.

Darling is a joy and a triumph, and instant favourite.

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