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The Churchill Sisters

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Rachel Trethewey has chronicled the life of Winston Churchill through the eyes of his daughters and wife Clementine. This well researched book humanizes Churchill in a way that gave more clarity to his personality. 
His family was immensely important to him, and their support was critical throughout his career. Although surrounded by wealth, royalty and pomp, the family had its own tragedies. Each of the daughters were different, but all were unerring in their love and support of the most influential man of the time. Well written, well researched and immensely interesting.
My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced readers copy of this book. The views expressed are my own.
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When it comes to picking a book, I typically gravitate towards historical fiction around the WWII era. Choosing a nonfiction book covering some of the same time period was a different choice, but I am glad I chose this one. Throughout school we of course learn about the important figures of history, however we don’t spend any time on their families and the things that make them more than just a political figure. I felt that this book was very interesting and obviously well researched. I pretty much knew nothing about the Churchill family prior to reading and this book painted a robust picture of the family. I felt that I could relate to his daughters on various different levels. Sometimes nonfiction works can drag on, but I felt that the author did a great job of keeping the chapters succinct while remaining informative. If you are interested in learning more about the Churchill family, I recommend this book by Rachel Trethewey. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.
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What fascinating lives! Trethewey brought this family to life and I felt that I knew each of them well. She took a very balanced view, allowing their strengths and faults to shine through equally. The book was filled with previously unpublished letters written between the family and it was enlightening to read their own words. I enjoyed seeing history from their unique point of view—I was pleasantly surprised at how unputdownable it was. It did end rather abruptly. I was reading on kindle and was shocked when it ended and the rest of the book was footnotes and bibliography. Also, I was reading an advanced reader copy so I hope they added photos to the final printing—I found myself googling constantly to see what they looked like.
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Rachel Trethewey uses previously unpublished letters from the Churchill archives to tell the story of the Churchill sisters in the aptly named biography, The Churchill Sisters. The four girls – Diana, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary – each had a distinctive personality and each had a unique relationship with both their mother and their more famous father. Marigold died young and had little time to reach her own potential. The other three girls, performed supportive duties for their father which sometimes seemed easier than finding significant lives of their own. 

In keeping with the roles expected at the time, their brother Randolph had higher expectations as the only male. Yet, the sisters seemed to have greater potential. Diana probably could have been a political figure on her own but she wound up supporting not only her father but her husband in a traditional female role. Mary took on a typical role of putting her family first and becoming a public figure in her own right late in life. Sarah, not so bound by convention, became an actress and pursued her career in America. 

For the history buff who also likes human interest and the intertwining of public and family life of the famous, The Churchill Sisters delves into the personal family life of Winston and Clementine Churchill and their children. It focuses on the daughters but also includes a set of eccentric cousins and world events from places like Yalta and Potsdam. Their story includes wars, suicides, and warm family times. This is written to appeal to those who like a traditional well-researched biography.
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For those of us who have long admired Winston Churchill, it was enlightening to learn more about his family. Winston Churchill, while being a world leader, was a loving and involved father with all his children. His wife, Clementine was a product of her time, leaving the child rearing to the care of nannies and other family help. Winston was not afraid to include his children when he was meeting with government heads or visiting statesmen. As such, they grew up seeing the world through their own eyes. They each took that knowledge and used it in their own lives. The biography covered the years from roughly 1900 (Diana, the eldest, was born in 1909) up through the death of the youngest daughter in 2014. Trethewey's research task was immense, and she had access to many personal letters and memorabilia which previously had been unavailable. 

The only son, Randolph, proved never to measure up to his father, and the three surviving daughters (a fourth daughter died in early childhood), Diana, Mary and Sarah, were subject to having themselves compared at every turn to their illustrious father. This helped them in some ways while hindering them in other ways. 

A worthwhile read for those interested in the Churchill family.
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My obsession with Winston Churchill continues! Just when I thought I had viewed his contributions to World War II at total length, this book comes along to explore even more. I’ve read about Mary’s presence at Chequers and her other war work but have yet to come across anything else that focuses on all of the contributions the Churchill women made to the war effort. 
I loved reading about the tenacity of these women and their drive to work hard without any handouts or special treatment because of who their father was. I especially liked that this book was written with Churchill’s career details running in the background, almost like it was adding another layer to a story that many people know well. The research and details that went into this book were phenomenal and I felt as though this made it an easy read that felt like historical fiction!
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Three sisters, so very different yet close, shared  all the joys and trials and tribulations of being the children of the most important man of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill.  His daughters adored and admired him and tried so hard to measure up.  But as his son, Randolph proved time and again, the shadow he cast was one that could not be escaped and comparisons were certainly not going to turn out in their favour.  All children of famous parents carry a burden and an expectation both for themselves and of themselves by others.

Churchill was a loving father.  While he was not often around, nor in the style of the day was Clemmie, when he was with them, he focused his attention on them and was approachable, fun and stimulating.  They travelled the globe with him, watching how the world saw him.  Is it any wonder they developed a hero worship.  Like their mother, much of their lives were devoted to him, even after marriages and even children.  And each, in their own way, would have been seen as remarkable women.  It was both a gift and a curse to stand in his reflected glory.

There was first born, Diana, shy and insecure, often at odds with her mother, she chose the most “normal” of lifestyles.  Being the wife of an ambitious politician precluded what we might deem as normal but she was as content as she would ever be as a wife and mother.  Sadly, in the end, it was not enough.

Then there was Sarah, perhaps Winston’s favourite “wild child”.  The entertainer who could charm and delight on stage and screen.  Never as confident as she seemed, she struggled to find happiness and peace in a number of ill-fated marriages and affairs.  Her red hair was a symbol of her fiery personality but like so many bright stars, when she dimmed it was tragic.  She too had a sad end.

Finally, there was Mary, the youngest, and the child who reaped the most attention from both parents and who grew up strong and secure.  She lived to a ripe old age, honoured for her own accomplishments, she helped maintain the memories of her family.  She, like her sisters, was an outstanding woman but unlike them, she was able to find a happy ever after.

This is a fascinating inside look at the tight knit family whose lives played out in the public eye.  It is written with great sensitivity and compassion.  It is a must for admirers of Churchill as it gives a different view of the man that reinforces his reputation as both a human being and a leader.  Five purrs and two paws up.
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Courtesy of Netgalley I received the ARC of The Churchill Sisters by Rachel Trethewey. This well researched book about the Churchills  was absorbing, compelling, and enlightening. While providing insight into the family dynamics, Dr. Trethewey wrote about young women imbued with a sense of responsibility to Britain and to each other.
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Very interesting and very readable story of Winston Churhill's daughters.  Although I've read a few histories of Britain in WWII and of Churchill himself, the daughters were just shadowy figures to me.  This made them each individuals with triumphs and tragedies.
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I’ve read a lot about Winston Churchill (The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson, Kindle Deal of the Day: Churchill: Walking With Destiny only $1.99, #NetGalley #KindleReview Churchill: An Illustrated Life by Brenda Ralph Lewis, as well as a few biographies about his wife Clementine, especially Mary’s biography of her mother (Amazon) as well as her own memoir, A Daughter’s Tale. Then there was the historical fiction novel Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict that included most of the facts gleaned from Mary’s biography. I’ve also seen many documentaries about Churchill and if they were produced long enough ago, their daughter Mary is interviewed. So I knew quite a bit about the Churchills, but am always curious to learn more. I was offered an ARC of The Churchill Sisters from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I read biographies of famous people, I also try to concentrate on what they were like with their family. Sometimes biographers barely mention that and only concentrate on the career successes and failures. However, with some of the Churchill biographies, I found details that said that they were both good parents in their own way. Clementine was remote in an Edwardian England upper crust society sort of way, but grew closer to her children as they got older. Winston was said to be a good father whenever he was present, which unfortunately wasn’t often in the early years. He’s the one who got down on the floor and played with his little “ducklings.”


The Churchill Sisters (Amazon) explores the lives of the four daughters of Winston and Clementine: Diana, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary. As I mentioned, I read Mary’s very enlightening memoir a few years ago, and she painted a picture of a good upbringing. As the youngest child, separated in age by quite a few years, her upbringing was much different than the upbringing of her sisters and brother. They did not have the same loving and stable household.

The older children went through a series of mediocre nannies. Clementine often couldn’t handle the stress of raising young children, even with help, and would go abroad on vacation for weeks or months. Winston, too, when he wasn’t working, would take vacations away from the kids. It was during one these breaks from the children that Winston and Clementine, vacationing together, found out their daughter, Marigold, who was about two and a half years old, was seriously ill. They hurried home, but they had been alerted too late by an inexperienced nanny who let Marigold get very sick before summoning them. Marigold died. Winston and Clementine were bereft, and Clementine swore that things would be different for the baby she carried at the time, Mary. Mary had a loving nanny named Moppet that stayed with the family until Mary was grown up, providing love and a sense of security the older children did not enjoy.

One thing the book does well is show how hard the daughter’s helped out during World War II. They actually did war work and did it rather well. The young women were all stationed close to home, and were often guests of their parents. One funny story is how Sarah was working with classified information, and Winston made a statement regarding the war effort, and Sarah politely corrected him based upon the information she knew. Then Winston ended up telling Eleanor Roosevelt, who told a reporter, and Sarah was supposed to be reprimanded, until her bosses found out it was her father was the one who leaked the information.

The older girls had issues and mental health issues, and turned to drink just as their brother, Randolph did. Sarah had a career as an actress as a dancer, her highlight was appearing in the MGM Musical Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire (Amazon Prime Video). She married several times but never had children. Diana was married late by the day’s standards and had three children. Her husband held some political offices as appointed by Winston, and did well, and Diana has an astute political mind, but did not want to run for office herself. Besides, for the time, it would have been very uncommon.

Both Diana and Sarah (and Randolph, too, for that matter) died young. Diana took her own life, without warning when she seemed to have her life together at last, and Sarah died from complications of alcoholism. Only Mary, the youngest, most secure, most grounded, lived a full and mostly happy life with her husband Christopher Soames and their five children.

This was a very accurate and enlightening biography of Winston’s and Clementine’s daughters, and I’m glad I read it. It was well-written and I highly recommend it.
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This is a well researched, thorough study of the lives of the Churchill family, focusing primarily on the daughters of Winston and Clementine.  I appreciated the organization of the book into 3 sections: The Early Years, The War Years, and The Post-war Years.

Having never read much about the Churchills, I was pleased to find that this book follows each daughter’s entire life, not supposing an extensive prior knowledge on the part of the reader.  I also appreciated the look into the more extended family, specifically the Mitfords.

Thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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In this Impeccably researched and well written biography, readers learn about Winston and Clementine Churchill's daughters and their relationships with each other.  Their son, Randolph, is also mentioned, but the book focuses on the daughters.  Diana, Sarah and Mary were very much individuals who happened to be part of an extraordinary family.  They were kind, intelligent, cultured and devoted to their parents.  They often accompanied their father when their mother was not able to. Providing comfort and companionship to Churchill, their father adored them, They had a front row seat to a crucial time in history in which their father played an important role, often with one of them close by. The family dynamic, while supportive and loving, sometimes faced difficult and awkward challenges. 

In this fascinating book, the author brings the family to life.  This book is well worth reading!  Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters

Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary could never forget they were Churchills. They were surrounded by a clan of larger than life characters: their father Winston “the greatest Englishman”, their mother Clementine,” the socialite, their brother Randolph “, the Golden Boy and their eccentric cousins, the Mitford Girls where ever present one way or the other in their lives. This is their story from the time they were born till the day the lights went out.

Drawing on family letters and the copious archived deposits in the Churchill Archives Centre, the author brings to live the remarkable although tragic story of three women: Diana, Sarah and Mary (Marigold died at age 2) each had different characters but all three were imbued with a sense of responsibility toward their father, each other and their country. In alternate chapters we breeze through their intimate saga and their complex family dynamics. It is inevitable that facets of Churchill’s achievements are explored along with his devotion to his daughters and theirs toward him.

Although thousands of books have been written about Winston Churchill but this is the first account focussing on his daughters. The book brings colour into the Churchill saga and gives cinematic glimpses into the privileged. It is well-said, well-researched and interesting.

A lot is said in this book I could go on and on but I will stop here not wanting to remove the enjoyment by giving too much.
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THE CHURCHILL SISTERS: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIVES OF WINSTON AND CLEMENTINES DAUGHTERS.

BY: RACHEL TRETHEWEY

This was a fascinating and meticulously researched biography of the Churchill family that went in to detail the chronology of each of the Churchill family members including extended family and spouses. I say this because it begins with both of Winston and Clementine's mother's and father's. I am amazed with how much fine detail and the organizational skills Author, Rachael Trethewey, must have painstakingly took at amassing such a comprehensive accomplishment of compiling so many facts in this tomb. It gives the births of the five children and manages to move forward in a linear fashion that includes their upbringing through their adult years. This encompasses the political years of Winston and the many different estates they moved from during his rise to be Prime Minister. It begins with a brief description of Winston's and Clementine's unhappy childhoods. It is divided into three parts; Part One is "The Early Years", Part Two is: "The War Years" and Part three is "The Post-War Years." This book claims to be the first book written about his four daughter's: Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary focusing on Winston as not just a great war hero but who he was as a father. Much has been written how integral a part Clementine's role in helping Winston becoming the great man he was. The argument being that Churchill could not have achieved all that he did without Clementine by his side. This biography illuminates that he also depended on his three daughters having one by his side when Clementine was off on one of her vacations or holidays. His three daughters were raised with an intense amount of duty from their earliest ages. This book has gathered information from hundreds of previous unpublished family letters that show how he was always a loving father whom his relationships with his daughters was intimate and informal. Whenever one of his daughter's faced a turbulent time they could always count on him for advice and he would make them feel better. I was surprised at how much time Clementine spent away from her daughters during their early formative years. It wasn't uncommon during the era for mother's to leave a lot of the childcare up to nannies, but clearly Winston was the more affectionate parent early on. It is thought that Clementine suffered from watching her closest family member--her sister Kitty die and perhaps that explains her needing to constantly need to go off on trips for as much as she did while they were young. When Clementine was older and her daughters grown women, she wished that she had not spent as much time away during her children's early years. She then said she was very much a woman of the Edwardian era. Winston and Clementine had one son who was born after Diana and who Winston had political aspirations for. His name was Randolph and early on he was the golden child due to his gender being a male. His erratic behavior undermined family peace and Winston and Clementine's daughters were limited by their gender like so many women who lived during their generation. It wasn't until Diana, Sarah and Mary proved themselves with their dedication during World War II did Winston change his viewpoint that his daughters should aspire to get married and have children. This book covers a multifaceted aspect of too many details to cover in a review. There is a vast amount of details that this Author covers and I highly recommend it to all lovers of history and I can guarantee you will be inspired by the lives of Diana, Sarah and Mary. They led interesting lives and had a deep and profound love of each other and their family. There is much inspiration to be gained and I learned so much. I am grateful to have read it and the trials and tribulations that this family endured throughout I am left with the knowledge that the Churchill sister's had a deep and abiding love and the bond of sisterhood that carried them throughout it all. I loved it! There were divorces, mental illness, which I never knew existed and made for a rather sad read. But ultimately their was a great and enduring love of family. This is a very riveting read and this Author has done a terrific job of staying true to the facts as much is footnoted.

Publication Date: December 7, 2021

Thank you to Net Galley, Dr. Rachael Trethewey and St. Martin's Press for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#TheChurchillSisters #DrRachaelTrethewey #StMartin'sPress #NetGalley
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This is a fantastic biography, but the title is a bit deceiving as the book is really the story of Winston Churchill's family as a whole, with some emphasis on the impact his daughters had on his career and the larger war effort and society before / after the war. I have previously read both fiction and non-fiction books about Winston and his wife, Clementine, and find this family to be an interesting study of the time. Many readers today find Clementine to be a poor mother, but I feel Clementine was a woman ahead of her time, trapped in a society that did not allow women to have much of a life outside of motherhood - so of course she doesn't live up to those standards. Had she lived today, I'm not sure anyone would be so critical of her need for time away from the demands of her role as Winston's wife and Winston's children's mother. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this particular book painted Clementine's unique personality and contributions in a very favorable light. I hope readers will do additional research into Clementine's life and her contributions to women's issue (often in opposition to Winston) after reading this. Overall though, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in British history, an introductory dive into the Churchill family, or an in-depth read about the Churchill children. I enjoyed the author's writing style and it was obvious the subject was meticulously researched by the author. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The Churchill daughters are intelligent, well-educated, and connected, experienced in the ways of the political milieu of Westminster. Today we'd expect that all would enter politics as ready participants, For the Churchill daughters, the expectations were to be the helpmeet and the complementary partner of a successful politician.  This is one of the themes of The Churchill Sisters,  Dr. Rachel Tretheway's biography of the sisters, bringing them out of the shadows of their father Winston Churchill. 

Each of the adult daughters struck out on their own path. whether it was Sarah's career as an actor and dancer or Mary's first joining the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service and post-war "good works" in public organizations. They each led human and not fairy-tale lives--on the surface, Diana appeared to have gladly accepted the role of helper, but her struggles with mental health implied otherwise.

Tretheway has created a compelling book regarding the lives of the Churchill sisters. It is eminently readable while providing a look beyond the surface of a family of political and historical renown. Students of British and 20th-century history will find The Churchill Sisters completes both. 

Highly recommended: Five Stars
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An inspiring and fascinating look at Winston and Clementine’s daughters and the fame they achieved. Although family ties opened doors, the sisters’ bold choices and perseverance made them unique in their own right.
Thanks to #NetGalley and #TheChurchillSisters for an advanced digital copy.
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Not just for history buffs.  I found this novel engaging.  It offers an intimate look at the personal life of one of the greatest men in history, Winston Churchill and his family while focusing on the daughters.  

Thank you #NetGalley, #SaintMartin’sPress, #Dr,RuthTrethewey and #TheChurchillSisters for the advance readers copy for my honest review.
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The Churchill Sisters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey tells of the extraordinary lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters. A story rich in detail and untold insights into the lives of these extraordinary women.
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Winston and Clementine Churchill had 4 daughters and 1 son.  They are by order of birth:

Diana - a beautiful baby and much loved
Randolph - handsome, outgoing, and spoiled by his father
Sarah - lots of red hair
Marigold - a happy child who died at age 2
Mary - as the youngest, mostly ignored by the older siblings

The book follows their birth and growing period along with descriptions of their personalities.  The girls were all very devoted to their father, loved him dearly, and were great helps to him politically throughout his life.

Clementine was not the motherly type by Winston loved playing with them and reading them stories.  We learn about Winston and Clementine and their relationships with their children.

I have read other books about both Winston and Clementine and loved them.  Winston Churchill has long been a hero of mine.  His shrewd intelligence, dedicated political power, and artistic talent will long be remembered.  I was puzzled that Winston and Clementine seemed to prefer separate vacations.  It seems that many of the family members suffered from some sort of mental health issues which makes me wonder if it was hereditary.  All in all, I enjoyed every bit of this book that appeared to be honest about the lives of all of the Churchill family and I highly recommend it.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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