This is Nancy Mitford cranked up to eleven. It's a little grating when everything is that
much more ridiculous, that
much more staged, and every character's eccentricity is cranked to eleven. However, it works in everyone's favor when Mitford is exquisitely on point with some of her ruminations about France, about parenthood, about changing times, about Paris itself. There are these tiny moments of loveliness slid in amongst the ridiculousness that will have you idly researching plane tickets to France before you quite know what's happened.
And, okay, real talk - I find Northey ever so much more intolerable than Linda, her mother-in-spirit, because unlike Linda, Northey ostensibly has a job. And she is awful
at it. I can, in fact, find delight in reading about someone who exists solely in a realm of frivolity and social acquaintance and social machinations, but apparently my too, too bourgeois soul rebels when that person is also supposed to be doing a job and instead foists off all responsibility on anyone who finds her charming enough. This is Northey's book as much as it is Fanny's, and it turns out that I prefer things when Fanny is a bit apart from the action and the subject of her musings doesn't even make a pretense to working for anything other than her own amusement.