Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

OIP  Lady Clementine is the story of Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine and how her relationship with Churchill went beyond your average love story, but included a secret partnership between them which helped to dictate history.

Lady Clementine’s roll in Churchill’s life went far beyond just having his children and planning meals for statesmen.  She was Churchill’s confidante, public relations person, speech writer and perhaps most important of all advocate for the men and women (especially the women) of England.

Barely tolerated by Churchill’s cabinet, Clementine attended all meetings and sat with Churchill during most working dinners digesting all that was being said.  She and Churchill would then as equals go back and make many state decisions.  Sometimes even persuading him in another direction when she felt he was off track. She was a strong voice for a man who needed advice.

But even in her capacity as a powerful voice, Clementine was also a woman with anxieties and doubts about maternal instincts.  Unsure how to raise children and always traveling, she never felt a bonding with her children.  And as a mother who lost a child at the age of two while she was away, never fully recovered from these beliefs. She also had jealousies and was insecure being a woman in a man’s world.

During World War II Clementine was the most powerful voice for the people of England.  She was the designer of better bomb shelters for the families who had lost their houses during the raids.  She demanded upgraded resources in them so the families would not feel as if they were living in poverty.  She understood that most of these families had someone fighting in this war.

She was a strong force against most of the Cabinet to get women working in the factories while the men at war.  She demanded that her family stay in London during the war instead of moving to the countryside.

Against all orders, Clementine would take her turn at night looking for fires from the bombs being dropped as a fire watcher.  Although Churchill insisted she have security, when they were in London she participated.  She truly was his secret weapon.

One of the most poignant accounts begins when Clementine Churchill meets Eleanor Roosevelt. When President Roosevelt was unable to travel for meetings with Churchill he instead sent his wife.  At first leery of each other, they soon realized they were very similar in nature with strong backbones to their respective powerful husbands.  They develop a respect for each other no one other than they could fully understand.

Once again Marie Benedict finds another powerful, embolden woman to write about in her effective storytelling way.  A woman who was certainly way ahead of her time.

Thank you #NetGalley #SourcebooksLandmark #MarieBenedict #LadyClementine for the advanced copy.

 

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