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The Churchill Sisters

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Member Reviews

I do love a good mystery, but I also like to learn something new. A biography such as “The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters,” by Dr. Rachel Trethewey (St. Martin’s Press) offers such an opportunity.
Most readers will know of Winston Churchill, prime minister of England during World War II. His daughters, Diana, Sarah, Marigold (who died at a young age) and Mary, were all attractive and obviously well-connected. Their father had an overwhelming personality, and he was not the only family member who fit that description. Their mother, Clementine, was a very independent woman in her own right.
That’s a lot for the three young women to live up to. All very different personalities, one thing they were united in was the love of their father. In spite of being born into lives of privilege, all the girls worked hard and had their own struggles during the mid-1900s when women were trying to fit in after World War II.
The book offers a fascinating look at a particular time of Britain’s history and how life changed for these young women in particular. Trethewey used previously unpublished family letters to fill in the gaps in public knowledge about the Churchill sisters.
Great read for history lovers.
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An interesting look into Churchill's daughters. The 3 sisters, their relationship with each other and how each had an impact on Churchill. Worth the read. Thank you #netgalley.
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This book was about Churchill’s daughters. This premise sounds really good, but the author took many random tangents that districted the reader from the story. The story was also very repetitive and dry. Still, I recommend this for fans of Sonia Purcell, Helen Rappaport, and Flora Fraser.
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I found this book to be a little  boring even though the very different lives of Churchill's children was very interesting. This is a word dense book that I think I'll enjoy more in audiobook form.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Winston Churchhill, if you haven't heard of him, then you might be under the age of 30. If you have heard of him, then you know him as a larger-than-life man who helped rally all of England and the world into defending and winning World War 2. Have you ever wondered about his family? Did you know he had kids?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the child of a political giant?  The Churchill Sisters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey is that book. Winston Churchill's daughters (and wife if I was, to be honest) were born into privilege, however, they didn't live or act as if they were. They, just like their father worked hard, lived life large and each had their own trials dealing with being Winston's daughters, but also try to be more than a daughter in the mid-1900s when women more or less struggled to be their own person with their own strengths and own identities in a predominately male society. This book gives some sublime background into what it was like to live with one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century. Each daughter had their struggles of just being themselves then you throw in the stress and magnifying lens of being Churchhill's daughter and you step those struggles up to a whole other level. 

I loved reading about how each daughter loved their father, how they supported him, how they rallied for him when it was needed and how strong they could be in the direst circumstances. and still, have a father that gave them the ability to be themselves, to stand on their own, make their own future decisions, and live in a world that wasn't controlled by Churchill himself, or their spouses but to be independent women he raised with his wife Clementine. who was fiercely independent on her own too.

in other biographies I have read sometimes authors insert their own political views into their non-fiction through the tone of the book and Dr. Rachel Trethewey doesn't do that in The Churchhill Sisters. I was impressed by the detail that Trethewey gathered and gave to her readers. I especially liked the political/emotional connections that the girls had with the world around them and how hones through their letters they were about their feelings and trials via their mother and father in a high rolling world. 

If you love history, familial connections, and examples of the struggles and strengths of female historical figures this book is a great one to read.
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I thought this was a really well-researched book.  I did not like how in the initial part of the book the author told the reader what to think, versus allowing the history of the Churchill sisters and that time in history speak for itself.  The author stopped this the remainder of the book, and it turned out to be an eye-opening and enjoyable read.
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The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey gives a look into the life of WInston Churchill's family, some insight about his son but especially his daughters. I never considered whether or not Winston Churchill even had children, he is such a large figure in history whose role as British Prime Minister as well as his role in World War II loom larger than anything else. Reading about his family made him seem more human. I enjoyed reading about his daughters and seeing which paths they took.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.
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A thoroughly well researched look at the family of Winston Churchill, this book provided such an intimate look at the entire Churchill family but the main focus was the three daughters. I found each of their stories to be so unique and often quite sad. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys great historical books.
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I feel like I know everything about Winston Churchill. I also feel like I know everything about his mother, one of the many American heiresses that went to London to save the grand families with her money. But I know nothing about the sisters/daughters. This book dives into the lives of the three Churchill sisters, who lived fascinating lives. Incredibly researched and well written, this book is for anyone who is a lover of English history,
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I very much wanted to love this one but it was a jumble. The narrative thread jumps around — even certain sentences require two or three readings to understand. It was frustrating to read and disappointing since the author had clearly done amazing research.
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The Churchill Sisters By Dr Rachel Tretheway


320 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: December 7, 2021

Nonfiction, History, Political Figures

This is the story of Winston Churchill’s family but specifically his daughters. He and his wife Clementine had four daughters and a son. One of the daughters, Marigold, died when she was a toddler. The other three daughters Diana, Sarah, and Mary.

Each daughter provided a different role within the family. Unfortunately, they lived in the public which made life difficult. Mental illness and addiction were issues that were not dealt with as we deal with them now. The doctors used electric shock treatment which we now known does more damage than good. The author was meticulous in her research and included many documents and private letters from family members. If you like historical nonfiction, you will enjoy reading this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me early access to this work. I apologize for the late review as it took me some time to get through it (though not for lack of interest!). I always like the opportunity to explore historical works and learn more about the individuals. I found this book incredibly interesting and would definitely recommend it to others who want to learn more about the Churchill Sisters.
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I didn't really know much about Winston Churchill other than the fact that he was the Prime Minister of the UK, and I certainly didn't know anything about his family.

This book is about the daughters of Winston Churchill, how different they all were from one another, their almost nonexistent relationship with their mother, and their devotion to their father.

If you really enjoy facts on historical figures, then this book is for you! This book is so jam packed with facts that it kind of takes the enjoyment out of it. I did like getting to know and learn about these women, but it felt like a book that you were made to read in school -- lots of info and filler.

Unfortunately, I am not a history buff so this book just wasn't for me, but I am certain that anyone who is a fan of Churchill and/or loves history would really love this one!
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I've always admired Winston Churchill, and his key role in saving the Western World. Without his irrational (according to many politicians of  his time ) resistance and refusal of agreeing to negotiations with Third Reich the history would have look completely different.
I was aware of the important role of his family during the darkest time for United Kingdom during the WWII but I realized, when reading "The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters" , how little I knew about lives of daughters of Winston Churchill.
This thoroughly researched and well written book offers  many details and give more light to relationship between all family members.
It is must read for everybody interested in the subject.
Thank you to the publisher and the NetGalley for the copy of the book.
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I enjoyed reading The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters
by Rachel Trethewey. I am giving it four stars.
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Full admission of guilt- I knew really nothing about Winston, Clementine, or the rest of the Churchill family save for what was shown on The Crown. I tend not to wade into politics, and obviously that is what he is known for. However, this biography of his daughters is one of the most interesting books published in 2021.

Much like the Mitford sisters, each of Winston and Clementine’s children were radically different. Their daughters in particular took very different routes in life, and had very different relationships with their parents. I found their life trajectories the most interesting aspect of the book, though! Many people will be interested in their service during the Second World War, but I found their lives after far more interesting. Specifically, Sarah’s career as an actress was fascinating, and I think if you enjoy the Golden Age of Cinema, you will love reading about her.

Note: this is more of an academic biography- there are footnotes to your heart’s content. However, it still reads like fiction, and you don’t need any sort of background to enjoy it.
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While much of Winston Churchill's life and impact on world history is common knowledge, this book focuses on his daughters. I'm so glad that the publisher brought this one to my attention! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary. While I've read a bit about Mary in other books focusing on Winston Churchill during WWII, I admit that I didn't even know before starting this one that he had four daughters and a son. This covers the full lives of all four daughters - and while the WWII years do have their own section, before and after the war have a similar amount of time and detail spent on them. 

This is the kind of nonfiction book that I just love! My husband got whole sections read aloud to him if he happened to be in the room with me while I read - and got chased down for some parts if he wasn't by me. I enjoyed sharing what I learned and really enjoyed reading this! I appreciate the amount of research that went into this one and really like Trethewey's writing style. This is the kind of nonfiction that reads like fiction - it's a compelling read that I had a hard time putting down. I really didn't know much going in, so this entire book absolutely fascinated me! I enjoyed this quite a bit and look forward to recommending it to friends and family!
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Rachel Trethewey’s work is a well-rounded examination of the lives, loves, and tragedies of Winston Churchill’s daughters: Diana, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary. We know so much about their father, but how much is actually discussed about his daughters? Unsurprisingly, not much. They’re left off to the side despite becoming key players in the course of 20th century history. 

I genuinely enjoyed reading this text. It took me back to my academic roots and love of history. The reality of studying women’s’ history is that it’s too often viewed through the lens of the more powerful men around them. Trethewey turned this idea on its head to study Churchill via his daughters’ exceedingly turbulent lives. And my goodness were each of them interesting in their own right, especially the story of tragic Marigold. 

While being a traditional historical text, “The Churchill Sisters” is far from perfect. It’s very much a broad overview into the women’s lives, occasionally feeling entirely too rushed. Certain events are brushed over in favor of discussing a different talking point. My biggest pacing qualm though, rests with the uneven coverage each of the girls receives. While Diana plays a key part at the beginning, her story falls to the wayside towards the middle.  For much of the war years, it felt like only Sarah and Mary’s experiences mattered.  And as the book approaches the end of her life, it feels almost to come out of no where without previous discussions of her ongoing personal issues. 

I do wish there was a bit more of a critical analysis of the women themselves and their parents. Some passages felt too sympathetic or apologetic, especially regarding Winston and Clementine’s parenting styles. While we live in a much different time, some of their decisions left long lasting negative effects on their children and deserve more than an acknowledgment of being problematic. 

I do highly recommend this for those readers who enjoy wartime womens’ history and Winston Churchill. Examining his experiences via his family does give us new insight to the man himself and just how important they were to modern British history.
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Winston Churchill, one of the most exceptional men of the 20th century, a giant during World War II, and a person that I have admired and enjoyed studying over the years.  While I knew that Winston had daughters I never delve much deeper than surface information, which is why I was excited to read The Churchill Sisters.

Dr. Rachel Trethewey did an astounding job on this deep dive into the four Churchill daughters.  An incredibly thorough and well researched book, The Churchill Sisters is chock full of quotes and first hand knowledge that goes with the flow of the narrative and reads more like a historical fiction with its fluidity.

The Bibliography is astounding, with page after page of sources and notes, not to mention interviews with actual living relatives that gives this text that much more credibility.  There is also an index in the back to help reference a particular person or subject quickly, which I greatly appreciated, especially when I went back to go over a certain subject to ponder and couldn’t remember exactly where I read it.

The Churchill Sisters takes you to the beginning of Winston and Clementine’s relationship, with details of their upbringings, then the details of each daughter's births and their upbringings.  The rest of the book goes through each of their unique stories mingled and mixed throughout the decades with such great detail there were moments I found myself lost in this past world.

One thing I never realized in my studies of Winston Churchill was just how codependent his wife and daughters were to him.  It was never a secret where their loyalty lied, but I never knew it was to such an extent.  I have always been fascinated with the magnificent Winston Churchill but never realized his family was just as fascinating as the man himself.

The author states in the introduction that this  is a true love story, showing the undying love and  loyalty manifested between Churchill and his daughters, and I quite agree, though this love story is a unique one.  I have a close relationship with my own father but reading the almost obsessive devotion these three had with their dad was admirable at times, and  cringy and uncomfortable at other times.   I admire a family that is close, but there is a fine line between close-knit and codependent, and this line was quite blurry between Churchill and his girls. 

Finally, I must mention a few subjects that could be triggering for some.  First there is depression and mental health discussed at length throughout the story, due to almost everyone dealing with what Winston called “the Black Dog.”  It is a subject that is heartbreaking yet relatable, as many are affected by mental health issues in one way or another.  I myself have diseases in my own family  but, though I am well versed in this subject,  it didn’t change the fact that these parts were, at times, difficult for me to read.  If you are sensitive to this subject be forewarned.

There are also escapisms and addictions, like alcoholism, as each member of the Churchill family dealt  with tough situations, such as deaths and broken relationships, which one daughter in particular was almost continuously haunted by.  There is also suicides and deaths that also could be triggering for some, but these are just the facts, and the details about each death are brief and respectful.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed The Churchill Sisters, and cannot recommend highly enough.  It helped me understand Winston Churchill on a deeper level, and made my appreciation grow.  I now truly believe that he was an incredible man thanks to the women that stood behind him and supported him his entire life.
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Books about women during World War II are some of my favorite books to read. This was such a fascinating and empowering time, especially for women in Britain who went to work on ack-ack guns and in covert operations. Who knew that Winston Churchill’s own daughters were some of these brave women? In Trethewey’s book, I loved learning more about his extraordinary daughters who were their father’s confidantes, advisors, and pride and joy. 

From their idyllic days at their country home of Chartwell to their travels with the Prime Minister to storied political conferences throughout the war, these three women were fierce, determined, and loyal - to their father and their country.

Trethewey does a great job at describing the women and their personalities. I felt heartbroken when their lives didn’t turn out the way they had hoped. Even though they were famous, they weren’t protected from tragedy.

This book is one of my top nonfiction reads in 2021!
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