Lunch with Unity Mitford

It’s hard to describe, when you’re researching a setting, just how exciting it can be to see the places you’re writing about. My second Clara Vine novel includes some scenes in 1937 Munich, so I’ve just spent a few days in that beautiful city. Sitting in the Osteria Italiano (formerly Osteria Bavaria) at the table where Unity Mitford used to station herself to catch Hitler on his way to lunch, was spine tingling. Understandably Munich was Hitler’s favourite city – he far preferred it to Berlin – and unlike Berlin the buildings destroyed in the war were rebuilt as they were, making it easy to imagine how it must have been when two of the Mitford sisters got caught up in the society of the Third Reich. The offices of the NSDAP can still be seen in Schellingstrasse and if you look closely at the ceiling of the Hofbrauhaus where Hitler made several key speeches, you can see the swastikas painted over. Interestingly, for those curious about fashion, many Munich citizens still like to wear traditional Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl on Sundays. The expression of national identity through dress, the subject of Black Roses, is alive and well in Munich!