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That Churchill woman : a novel
2019
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Jennie Jerome (Female), American, Wealthy, Independent, Also known as Lady Randolph Churchill; mother of Winston Churchill
Genre
Fiction
Biographical
Historical
Romance
Topics
Churchill, Winston
Mothers and sons
Wealthy lifestyles
British society
Scandal
Setting
New York City, New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
England - Europe
Time Period
-- 19th-20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Most people know that Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American who married a British lord, but there's much more to Lady Randolph Churchill than her talent for painting and that she had a famous son. Historical mystery and suspense author Barron ("Jane Austen Mystery" series; A Flaw in the Blood), who also writes espionage fiction as Francine Mathews, vividly portrays Jennie against the backdrop of the Gilded Age-glamorous aspects and the strict societal mores that constrained the upper classes of the time, especially women. Scandal, notoriety, and passionate affairs may have been the hallmarks of Jennie's life, but this novel shows her as a modern woman before her time: politically in tune, faithful in her own way, and a loving if distant mother. VERDICT Fans of historical fiction based on famous women, such as Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, will enjoy getting the inside story on Lady Randolph Churchill, the smart, politically savvy, independent-minded American mother of the not-yet-famous Winston. Sure to be a book club favorite.-Laurie Cavanaugh, Thayer P.L., Braintree, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

This finely researched, sumptuous novel from Barron (The Jane Austen Mysteries) follows the journey of American heiress Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. Socialite Jennie marries Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill at age 20 and almost immediately becomes one of British society's most talked-about beauties. Despite their shared passion for politics and Jennie's staunch belief in Randolph's ability to shape Britain's future, it's clear that Randolph's sexual appetites don't include Jennie-or any other woman, she begins to fear. In a society where homosexuality and divorce are taboo, and affairs are commonplace, Jennie falls for Charles Kinsky, an Austrian count and diplomat. Far from a fling, Jennie and Charles's love spans decades and weathers multiple stops and starts. Yet despite its powerful romanticism and eroticism, their relationship is complex and realistic. Barron's commitment to detail and scope allows for illuminating flashbacks and references to actual family letters, which serve to flesh out Jennie's story with realism and empathy. Though set in a world of transatlantic Victorian splendor, the story is more concerned with the harrowing aspects of the era-war, social ostracism, classism, and the sad state of public health. Presenting a fiercely intelligent, independent version of Jennie, this satisfying book actively pushes back against her historical reputation as a scandalous woman to great, consuming effect. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome took Victorian England by storm when she landed on its shores. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she gave birth to a man who defined the twentieth century- her son Winston. But Jennie-reared in the luxury of Gilded Age Newport and the Paris of the Second Empire-lived an outrageously modern life all her own, filled with controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph. When the nineteen-year-old beauty agrees to marry the son of a duke she has known only three days, she's instantly swept up in a whirlwind of British politics and the breathless social climbing of the Marlborough House Set, the reckless men who surround Bertie, Prince of Wales. Raised to think for herself and careless of English society rules, the new Lady Randolph Churchill quickly becomes a London sensation- adored by some, despised by others. Artistically gifted and politically shrewd, she shapes her husband's rise in Parliament and her young son's difficult passage through boyhood. But as the family's influence soars, scandals explode and tragedy befalls the Churchills. Jennie is inescapably drawn to the brilliant and seductive Count Charles Kinsky-diplomat, skilled horse-racer, deeply passionate lover. Their impossible affair only intensifies as Randolph Churchill's sanity frays, and Jennie-a woman whose every move on the public stage is judged-must walk a tightrope between duty and desire. Forced to decide where her heart truly belongs, Jennie risks everything-even her son-and disrupts lives, including her own, on both sides of the Atlantic. Breathing new life into Jennie's legacy and the gilded world over which she reigned, That Churchill Woman paints a portrait of the difficult-and sometimes impossible-balance between love, freedom, and obligation, while capturing the spirit of an unforgettable woman, one who altered the course of history.
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