Is love our only pursuit, or is it an element that gives all other pursuits a meaning? The curious case of love has puzzled us for a long time. With every generation, it changes its meaning, but the feeling remains the same. Love is complex emotion, which we fail to decipher, but today, we want to discuss, a much simpler, pursuit of love.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz, an Urdu poet, wrote, “Fortunate indeed were those, Who regarded love as work, Or were in love with their work.” Our narrator, Fanny, wobbled between two notions. At the same time, the main protagonist accepted love as her only pursuit. Fanny’s cousin, Linda, lived a vibrant and eccentric life, searching for love until her end. While society had many labels for her adventures, author Nancy Mitford chose to call it a story.
3-part Television Mini-Series, The Pursuit of Love, is directed by Emily Mortimer. It is based on the British romance novel written by Nancy Mitford of the same name. The series has been produced by Amazon Studios and presented by the BBC network.
‘The Pursuit of Love’ Plot Summary
The warming set of affairs begin in the war-stricken British empire in 1941. Linda Radlett (Lily James), pregnant with her second child, experiences a shell. She loses her house at Chelsea but manages to survive with the eternal glitter she carries throughout. Her cousin, Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham), arrives for her aid and takes her back to their family royal manor, Alconleigh, high on a hill in Oxfordshire.
As they travel, Fanny narrates the story of her favorite human being, Linda.
The Radlett Family
Linda and other Radlett children had a bizarre upbringing as their father Mathew and mother Sadie weren’t fond of education. The children spent their days’ horse riding or hunting and hence had a slight urge in life. Mathew loathed foreigners; thus, the children never dared to leave Alconleigh, except Linda.
Linda, the second Radlett daughter, received little formal education. Growing up, all her ambitions, passions, and desires were directed toward romantic love and marriage. Her cousin, Fanny, visited Linda at Christmas time and holidays and soon became soul sisters and best friends. Fanny’s mother, called the “Bolter,” was disregarded by the Radlett family for her habit of serial monogamy. She left Fanny with her aunt, Emily, who looked after a parentless kid.
As Linda and Fanny grow up, Aunty Emily gets married to Captain David “Davey” Warbeck. Hence, Fanny had no friends or family to rely on except Linda. The bond flourished until Linda met Alconleigh’s nearest neighbor, Lord Merlin (Andrew Scott). The bright young man inspired Linda to break off her father’s shackles and pursue her eternal desire to love and be loved. From thereon, Fanny turned into a witness of Linda’s eccentric life and love affairs. The story majorly chronicles around Linda while briefly looking at Fanny’s confusion and Merlin’s charm.
Linda Radlett and her Pursuit of Love
Linda was an adventurer who was looking for a treasure called love. She always believed in love. Many compared Linda’s character with Bolter, but it was mere perception. She was passionately romantic, and casual affairs would be of absolutely no interest to her.
Her first temptation arrived when she met Tony Kroesig. He was the son of the Governor of the Bank of England. For Linda, a charming prince wouldn’t have had a more splendid face. Against all odds, Linda decided to marry Tony, and after their first child, their romance met a dead end.
Linda wanted to leave Tony because the essence of love vanished between them. Fanny suggested she start believing in something other than love, but what else is there? After their divorce, Linda was disowned by the Radlett family. In her subsequent pursuit, she met a communist, Christian Talbot, who helped war rebellions, and a Rich French Duke, Fabrice de Sauveterre.
Linda started a love affair with Fabrice, but they didn’t enter into an official relationship. When World War 2 started, Fabrice joined the resistance, and Linda came back to her small house in Chelsea. At that time, she was pregnant with her second child. The scene connected to the first scene of the series where Linda’s house was shelled, and Fanny took her back to Alconleigh.
Fanny Logan and Lord Merlin – The Hesitant Pursuers
Through Fanny, author Nancy Mitford explored the most intricate question, “Happily married or Unhappily married,” is it the only choice if you are a woman? Fanny struggled with an identity. She was a shy person but also had a lion inside her. She wasn’t like Linda, who was outrageous enough to grab the things that tempted her. Though it was only loved that tempted Linda, if Fanny had courage like Linda, she would put a dent in the universe. In one scene, she even imagined herself in Linda’s shoes, exploring new lands and going on new adventures. But in the end, Fanny’s identity was eclipsed by her husband and her kids.
Some might consider Lord Merlin’s socialite behavior and call him a person who verbalized his thoughts. At some level, it was true. He never gave words to his feelings. Merlin was in love with Linda. His overprotective demeanor and his vile witty commentary on Linda’s love affairs were subtle suggestions of his hidden feelings. But like Fanny, Merlin was reluctant. He never confessed to Linda, never.
‘The Pursuit of Love’ Ending Explained
At the peak of World War 2, Linda and Fanny gave birth to their respective babies. However, Linda didn’t survive. The doctors during Linda’s first delivery suggested not to have another child. According to Fanny, she died happily without suffering much. Like a classic, intensely romantic character, Linda lived by the moment and passed blissfully.
Fabrice was caught by the Gestapo and subsequently shot. Fanny adopted their son, and Merlin adopted Linda’s dog, Plon-Plon. Merlin and Fanny took care of the last living things Linda left behind. I guess it was their way of keeping Linda close.
In the last scene, Fanny wrote Linda’s account in her book; that would turn into Mitford’s novel. Aunty Emily gracefully described the destiny of upcoming generations as she quoted, “Let’s hope in the coming years, these boys’ granddaughters can be more than just a bolter or a sticker, or a Linda or a Fanny, and decide who they are irrespective of who they marry.” And why wouldn’t they? By the end, Father Mathew had melted a bit, and war broke his strict stature. These new kids were now under the care of a more suitable guardian like Fanny, who would allow these petals to blossom per their own accord.
The last intriguing question is, Was Linda in love with Fabrice, and was it an end to her pursuit? When Fabrice last met Linda, his gestures suggested that he was really in love with her, and Linda might have felt his unspoken feelings. Thus, she was so happy during her last moments. Fanny perceived the same from a blooming Linda. However, Fanny’s mother Bolter broke the seriousness of the notion as she hinted that one always thinks that their current pursuit is their last, every time until they are tempted by the next. The series ended in bliss.
The Pursuit of Love is a 2021 Romantic Miniseries written and directed by Emily Mortimer. It is based on the novel of the same name authored by Nancy Mitford.