Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict is a novel told in the first person by Clementine Churchill, the wife of Winston Churchill. It seems very bold for the author to speak for Lady Clementine. However, the writing is so believable at times it read more like an autobiography instead of a novel. It is apparent that indepth research went into the writing of this very interesting story of a complex woman.
Clementine Churchill, through her close relationship with her husband, was one of the most influential behind the scenes people during World War I and World War II. It was rare for Winston to give a speech without her editing and approval. She tried to ensure his speeches spoke to all British citizens, not just those with an education. She was a fierce proponent of Women’s Suffrage and also was not afraid to make her own mark on the world without Winston’s invitation.
Lady Clementine’s biggest failure seemed to be parenting. She was raised by a bohemian mother, and she also was not a nurturing parent. She thought nothing of leaving her children in the care of nannies for long periods, including one trip for four months which left right before Christmas. Her toddler daughter Marigold became terminally ill while in the care of a nanny. The novel contains disparaging statements about the three oldest children, especially her son Randolph. The youngest child, Mary, was clearly her favorite, but her parenting was done by a cousin who was the full-time nanny. Both Clementine and Winston suffered from depression, and Clementine would justify her time away from the famly due to this depression.
One new thing I learned is that the ending sound of her name rhymes with Josephine (Clem-in-teen) not the American version (Clem-in-tyne).
Thank you to NetGalley and to Sourcebooks Landmark for my Advance Reader Copy. The book will be published on January 7, 2020. 4 Stars. Book Club Recommended.
And now for my Recipe for Readers recommendation: Clementine Bundt Cake.