In Pursuit of Love
Updated: Jul 11
I was living in Cambridge, MA in the early 80s and Harvard Square at that time had book stores in abundance. It was in one of these emporiums that I found The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. It has remained one of my all time favorite books.*
Now the BBC has come out with a series based upon the book starring Lily James which will premiere on August 1 in the U.S. Coincidentally, I am just reading Laura Thompson's biography of Nancy Mitford, titled Life in a Cold Climate. It is beautifully written. This is what she has to say at page 237 about the success of the book The Pursuit of Love.
"But it is, for many people, infinitely readable, and this is because of its less evident qualities: its subterranean poetry, in fact. There is the slow, elegiac sadness that keeps watchful pace with the book's springing vitality. There is its rigorous treatment of the apparently simple theme of love: Is it the most important thing in life? Does its pursuit preclude day to day happiness? Is it an eternal value, or a series of exquisite illusions?"
And who better to address these themes than Nancy Mitford, who has Neptune in Cancer on the Ascendant, opposite Venus in Capricorn in the 7th house. As anyone with Venus Neptune aspects knows, these are questions with elusive answers. Nancy has a great chart for a writer. Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in the 6th house, with Mercury (the writer) trine to Jupiter in Aries, and trine to Moon in Leo in the third house (of communications). Neptune on the Ascendant in Cancer gives a great imagination, and her best known novel is largely about her family, about whom she writes with great hilarity.
The other main theme is romantic love. Nancy Mitford met the love of her life, Gaston Palewski in September of 1942 at the Allies Club of Park Lane. He was a colonel in the Free French forces, and the principal political adviser to de Gaulle during WWII. When they met she had Uranus station at 4 Gemini trine her Mars in Libra (of course her mate must be cultivated) and he had Uranus station sextile his Moon in the 5th at 4 Aries.
On Sept. 23, 1942, Nancy's chart shows progressed moon exactly conjunct her Venus in the 7th house, and Solar Arc Venus exactly sextile Jupiter. These are aspects that result in a coup de foudre as the French might say.
With her Venus oppose Neptune it is interesting to note that the man she fell for was a Pisces. He also had Venus and Mercury in Pisces. Gaston was apparently very charming and witty. Pisces can be very seductive, and he also had Scorpio rising, with Mars in Leo on a Leo Midheaven. Faithfulness was not his forte, but in the moment that did not matter.
Nancy and Gaston shared a great love of conversation and stories. Her Mercury was in Sagittarius and his Mercury was in Pisces, but both are ruled by Jupiter, even thought the signs are in square. They were apparently both great raconteurs.
Although life did not give her all that she would have wanted from Gaston, she used the love affair to create a divine novel. In this sense it is interesting that his Sun, Moon, Venus, and Mercury all fell in her 10th house of career.
Read the book before you watch the show.
* For more of my favorites books see https://pegodonnell.blogspot.com/.