The Blessing is one of Nancy Mitford’s most personal books, a wickedly funny story that asks whether love can survive the clash of cultures.
When Grace Allingham, a naïve young Englishwoman, goes to live in France with her dashingly aristocratic husband Charles-Edouard, she finds herself overwhelmed by the bewilderingly foreign cuisine and the shockingly decadent manners and mores of the French. But it is the discovery of her husband’s French notion of marriage—which includes a permanent mistress and a string of casual affairs—that sends Grace packing back to London with their “blessing,” young Sigismond, in tow. While others urge the couple to reconcile, little Sigi—convinced that it will improve his chances of being spoiled—applies all his juvenile cunning to keeping his parents apart. Drawing on her own years in Paris and her long affair with a Frenchman, Mitford elevates cultural and romantic misunderstandings to the heights of comedy.