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That Churchill Woman: A Novel Paperback – 21 January 2020
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Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome takes Victorian England by storm when she lands on its shores. 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. 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 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, Winston-and disrupts lives, including her own, on both sides of the Atlantic. Stephanie Barron breathes new life into Jennie's legacy of controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph-and the glittering world over which she reigned.
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"Stephanie Barron cuts through the scandal and rumors surrounding Lady Randolph Churchill to bring us the woman herself in all her complexity: caught between worlds as an American in England, an intimate of princes, a favorite target of the scandal sheets, yet intensely private and fiercely loyal. Barron brings us along with Jennie to a world seething with secrets behind a façade of intricate etiquette and elaborate gowns. . . . An immense accomplishment from a seasoned author."--Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of the Pink Carnation series
"What a subject for a novel! And what a read for anyone interested in the lives of women who have, until now, been largely unexplored. Jennie Jerome, the feisty mother of Winston Churchill, had a luxurious existence that stretched from the upper echelons of American society to Paris and London. Yet this gilded life had more than its share of heartbreak and tragedy. Adored by some and loathed by others, Jennie chafed at the rigid conventions of the Victorian age. Stephanie Barron's immersive and richly detailed story gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of society women, as well as the early life of Churchill himself."--Jane Thynne, author of the Clara Vine series
"Barron . . . turns her able hand to biographical fiction in this absorbing volume that captures the life and charm of one of the American heiresses who crossed the Atlantic to catch a titled English husband in the late nineteenth century. . . . Recommended for fans of Victorian England, Gilded Age New York, historical fiction populated with real people, and high society."--Booklist
"Barron paints a picture of a beautiful woman with enough determination and animal magnetism to get what she wants. . . . The characters are captivating."--Kirkus Reviews "Finely researched, sumptuous . . . [Jennie and Charles's] 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. . . . 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."--Publishers Weekly
- Publisher : BALLANTINE (21 January 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1524799580
- ISBN-13 : 978-1524799588
- Dimensions : 13.21 x 2.24 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 871,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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As it is, although Barron's writing is as clear as ever, I didn't relate to any of the characters, most especially "that Churchill woman" herself. After That Churchill Woman, American Duchess and A Well-Behaved Woman, it's as if authors have discovered a formula: write about a privileged American woman who marries into wealth or aristocracy, throw in some (lurid) details about parties, clothes, marriage/s, and transgressions, then call it a novel.
I'm ready for this trend—and time-traveling, and bouncing back and forth between historic periods, and dystopia—to end, and for authors I enjoy to revert to their imagination and talent to create stories again.
This novel was based on some spectacular facts, but I never let facts get in the way of a good legend. Jennie Jerome Churchill Cornwallis-West was a legend.
I found this book entertaining as only Stephanie Barron can do. She captures "Voice" -- whether it is writing in Jane Austen's voice in her Jane Austen Mysteries, or here. She tells a fabulous story.
Now to buy one of her books I've not read: Jack 1939.