Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review: Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict


Title: Lady Clementine
Author: Marie Benedict
Published: January 2020, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
New from Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room! An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill.

In 1909, Clementine Churchill steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill saves her husband.

Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the brilliant and ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.



My thoughts:  One of my favorite aspects of reading historical fiction is learning about such strong, remarkable women and when I saw that this book was being given out at BookExpo last Spring, I knew I had to pick up a copy. I don't know much about the Churchill family other than what I've seen from watching The Crown and that mostly focused on Winston and not Clementine, so I was quite eager to learn about the woman behind the man...and what a woman she is!

I loved the way this book is told - Marie Benedict gives us an inside look into the life of Clementine just as she is to become Mrs. Churchill and takes us through the ups and downs of their marriage. She was a formidable partner to Winston, greatly contributing to his political success, however, on the homefront, she was not so successful. Motherhood did not come easy to her and these parts were quite hard to read as she was quite distant to her children, relinquishing the role of caring for them over to a nanny whenever possible. 

I loved that we got to see that Clementine Churchill was not a perfect woman, but rather an imperfect woman. She still managed to support Churchill, and had her own causes, but she had her issues, too. This is all laid out in the book, but never once does the book become too bogged down in any one area. It's well-researched and thought-provoking.

All in all, this was an engaging read and definitely piqued my interest to learn more about the couple. I do have another book that I will be reading soon, Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. I feel that now having read this book from Marie Benedict, I have a good overview of the Churchill family and know the major players, so I am going into that book with a good foundation, if that makes sense. This is why I love reading historical fiction - it makes me want to read more about a topic and now I'm on a quest to learn all there is to learn about the Churchills!

This was the first book I've read by Marie Benedict, but it definitely won't be the last. I liked her writing style and I loved that she wrote about a strong, inspiring woman. I have another of her books on my shelf, The Only Woman in the Room, that I am hoping to read soon and will be getting her other books as well. She is definitely going on my must-read list.

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