Monday, October 8, 2018

Publishers Weekly is a Fan!

That Churchill Woman

Stephanie Barron. Ballantine, $28 (374p) ISBN 978-1-5247-9956-4
This finely researched, sumptuous novel from Barron (The Jane Austen Mysteries) follows the journey of American heiress Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill. Socialite Jennie marries Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill at age 20 and almost immediately becomes one of British society’s most talked-about beauties. Despite their shared passion for politics and Jennie’s staunch belief in Randolph’s ability to shape Britain’s future, it’s clear that Randolph’s sexual appetites don’t include Jennie—or any other woman, she begins to fear. In a society where homosexuality and divorce are taboo, and affairs are commonplace, Jennie falls for Charles Kinsky, an Austrian count and diplomat. Far from a fling, Jennie and Charles’s love spans decades and weathers multiple stops and starts. Yet despite its powerful romanticism and eroticism, their 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. Though set in a world of transatlantic Victorian splendor, the story is more concerned with the harrowing aspects of the era—war, social ostracism, classism, and the sad state of public health. 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. (Jan.)


  1. Replies
    1. Hey, thank you, Laurel Ann! Appreciate you stopping by. Hope you'll weigh in on the 100 Days of Jennie posts. I love to hear your opinions...