Books: The Free French

THE BLESSING (305 pp.]—Nancy Mitford—Random House ($3).

Nancy Mitford's favorite characters have the candor and abruptness of people well into their third or fourth glass of champagne. The hero of The Blessing, Airman Charles-Edouard de Valhubert, of the Free French, is clearly one of Novelist Mitford's favorites. He is, in fact, a woman's dream come true: handsome, rich, brave as a lion, bewitching as a magician. It is thus a serious tactical error when the unimaginative Hughie Palgrave invites Charles-Edouard to look up his fiancée, Grace, in London.

"So I looked up," Charles-Edouard cheerily...

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