Published a year after Nancy Mitford’s first novel Highland Fling, Christmas Pudding gives a flavour of life for the Bright Young Things of the twenties and thirties, and a taste of what was to come in her later novels.
Though foot-and-mouth disease has stopped hunting, Lady Bobbin, MFH and formidable chatelaine of Compton Bobbin, has assembled an oddly assorted Yuletide gathering. Her beautiful but silent daughter Philadelphia is torn between two suitors: Lord Lewis, eligible but dull, and Paul Fotheringay, penniless, charming and dismayed that his would-be-serious novel has been hailed as the funniest book of the year. At Eton, Philadelphia’s brother Bobby rejoices in presents from Cartier and writes notes to older boys. Posing as his tutor, Paul arrives to write the life of the eminent Victoria poetess, Lady Maria Bobbin. But in no time at all Philadelphia sweeps all thoughts of her distinguished forebear from his mind.