Nancy Mitford, fills in many of the blanks that Bedford, basically a reticent person, left even when writing obliquely of herself and a wide circle that included Martha Gellhorn and Thomas Mann. Gracefully written, largely sympathetic and very gossipy, Sybille Bedford: A Life takes as its point of departure Bedford’s quip to an interviewer: 'I wish I’d written more books and spent less time being in love. It’s very difficult doing both at the same time.' ... More a reporter than an interpreter, Ms. Hastings avoids assigning motives, though she rightly acknowledges Bedford’s remarkable gift for friendship.
... what a life it was! And now here we have it, elegantly related by Selina Hastings ... Much of this [romantic] material is not especially interesting. What is interesting is that Bedford so often had the upper hand in her own relationships ... It is to be hoped that Sybille Bedford, a largely sympathetic and very readable biography, will bring new readers to Bedford’s oeuvre.
Perhaps this scrupulous biography’s greatest achievement is to remind us that Bedford had a second string to her writerly bow. From the 1950s she became a high-grade court reporter, writing several long-form essays about legal cases, including the Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial and the Profumo affair. Because writing journalism for a contracted fee didn’t count as 'art', Bedford finally found an ease and a fluency and a certain artisanal satisfaction in a job well done.