cover image Lady Clementine

Lady Clementine

Marie Benedict. Sourcebooks Landmark, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6690-5

Benedict (The Other Einstein) delivers a winning fictionalized biography of Clementine Churchill, the wife of Winston Churchill. The personality of Clementine reverberates in this intimate, first-person account of the loving 57-year marriage of the two political dynamos. Winston—or as Clementine called him, “Pug”—is known by history for the turbulence of his career in the British government until its zenith as prime minister during WWII. Winston’s bombastic personality made it difficult for him to listen to advisers, but Clementine had his ear and counseled him on everything from speech writing to military decisions and national policies, and helped make advancements in the women’s suffrage movement. The profound pressure on a politically active mother of four in the early 20th century sometimes takes its toll on Clementine, but she perseveres. The story moves swiftly as the couple sways in and out of favor, receiving death threats when the 1915 Battle of Dardanelles, when Winston was First Lord of the Admiralty, costs tens of thousands of lives, and then hearing roars of approval for triumphant orations during WWII. Accurate era descriptions add to the realism of the story, and Benedict reveals the connection between Clementine’s grounded energy and her thoughtful influence throughout times of war and peace. It’s an intriguing novel, and the focus on the heroic counsel of a woman that has national and international impacts will resonate in the present day. [em](Jan.) [/em]