Cover Image: The Churchill Sisters

The Churchill Sisters

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I was very eager to read about THE CHURCHILL SISTERS, but this book disappointed me. The subjects of this book offered glamour ,romance, wartime strife and  their famous family pedigree, but still failed to engage me. I have tried to sort through what made this biography less than compelling for me, and decided it came down to the writing. 

Through romance.
Through war.
Through family drama.. . . 
The telling of their stories emerged as more workman- like than compelling. I don't think it needed to feel so pedestrian. 

These were extraordinary times. And, this was an extraordinary family. The language never sizzled, nor did it soar. It just flatly presented the story. I wanted a little more style with this substance.
NetGalley provided me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a candid review.
Was this review helpful?
Winston Churchill was/is a figure known to many for his outsize life and accomplishments. I have previously read several books about him as well as both fiction and non-fiction titles about Clementine.

This book, however, explores a different aspect of the Churchill family, the lives of their daughters and the Chuchills as parents. I was aware that tragically one of the Churchills’ daughters died too young and that there was a brother. I had also read a bit about Mary. I did not know the other sisters though and now feel that I do.

This title tells an interesting story about these daughters, their lives, their times and those around them. By the way, those around them included their cousins, the Mitford girls. Each of the Churchill siblings is brought to life here and, as is generally true of siblings, each had a unique personality.

Those interested in social history, biography and/or the Churchills will welcome this title. I do recommend it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I loved THE CHURCHILL SISTERS. This luminous and meticulously researched biography reveals — through the life of the daughters — a greater understanding of the family as a whole. 

🇬🇧 I’ve read much about their iconic father,  Winston, and mother, Clementine, but this is the first bio that, for me, fleshes out each daughter: Diana, the unsure oldest; Sarah, beautiful and dramatic; sweet Marigold, who died of throat sepsis at age two; and finally Mary, the youngest and soundest. 

🇬🇧 We learn too about the close relationship each had with Winnie — a much better parent, it seems, than their emotionally distant mother. 

🇬🇧 Unfortunately, tragedy continued to dog the family. Diana committed suicide at 54. Both Sarah and brother Randolph drank heavily and died comparatively young. Only Mary, who called her childhood “idyllic,” lived a long happy life.

🇬🇧 The Churchill Sisters is a spectacular read for Churchillians, of course, and for anyone who loves biographies and women’s histories. Out today.

Thanks to author Dr. Rachel Trethewey, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the ARC; opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
The Churchill Sisters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey is a deeper look into the daughters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Bright, attractive and well-connected, the Churchill girls, Diana, Sarah, and Mary, were not just members of any family. They are the daughters of the greatest Englishman. From their larger than life father to their golden boy brother, Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were often overlooked but lived lives filled with passion, drama and tragedy. The eldest, Diana, was intense and shy. Sarah was glamorous and stubborn. She even nicknamed herself “The Mule.” The baby, Mary, was dependable and determined. As each sister is different, they still had a strong sense of responsibility toward their family and their country. They were eyewitnesses to some of the most important events in world history from Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. What stories could they tell? 
The Churchill Sisters is an intimate look into the lives of these three women. Dr. Trethewey draws from previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives as well as memories and impressions from their children. Before reading The Churchill Sisters, I knew very little about Winston Churchill’s daughters and even less about Winston as a father. Dr. Trethewey brought these women out of the shadows of historical obscurity and tells their amazing stories. From their early lives, to their relationships with their parents, to the major historical events of the early 20th century, The Churchill Sisters is a fascinating read. It was a joy to read as Dr Trethewey wrote the historical events and the sisters with ease that I eagerly turned each page to discover more. Heartfelt, honest and enjoyable, the sisters come alive on the page as we discover their joys and hardships. I highly recommend The Churchill Sisters. 

The Churchill Sisters is available in hardcover, eBook and audiobook.
Was this review helpful?
I was fascinated reading about the Churchill sisters.Reaading about their personal relationship with their dad Winston Churchill.Loved learning about their place in British society.I really enjoyed this book will be recommending it to my book club for discussion.#netgalley #st.Martins
Was this review helpful?
So, I am a historian who once took an immersive course on Winston Churchill and wrote a paper about how his wife and Chartwell sustained him. Yet, thirty years later, I remembered little, if anything, about his three surviving daughters.

This book changed that.  It tells the stories of Diana, Sarah, and Mary, who were all devoted to their parents. Churchill depended on them as much as they depended on him, but despite their parents’ love, the older two led troubled lives. Diana struggled with mental health issues and Sarah had problems with alcohol dependence (as did their brother, Randolph). Only the youngest child, Mary, flourished.

But the book doesn’t seek to sensationalize these issues; rather, it’s an extremely sensitive portrayal of the problems endured by the Churchills, at a time when support for mental health was not as good as it is today (not that it *is* good today).

Do not be intimidated by the fact this book is non-fiction. It is a quick and easy read, difficult to put down once you get into it. If anything, it made me want to learn more about the Churchill family. #TheChurchillSisters #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
An interesting and fascinating story about the children of Winston Churchill and how the family was as a unit.
Was this review helpful?
Very well arranged and researched resource.
As someone who has written countless research papers throughout high school, college, and even during my career, I love a good secondary resource. This book is great for any fan of Winston Churchill and his family or anyone who loves reading about the real lives of some of those larger-than-life individuals in history.

Fascinating read illustrating parenthood, family bonds, politics, and drama.
This is one of those books that draws back the curtain to show the messy behind-the-scenes. While not always hidden or completely secret, the Churchill family spent so much of their lives in the public eye trying to “keep calm and carry on.” Utilizing diaries and other records, the author does a wonderful job shining a light on things not fully known or understood about these individuals and events – all in a respectful manner. 
I recommend this book for anyone interested in the Churchill family or seeing behind-the-scenes of historical figures.
Stars 4
Would I Recommend? Yes
Was this review helpful?
This book was amazing and everything of the sort. I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. 
Most people know at least a bit about the political career of Winston Churchill, even if they don’t know absolutely .*everything.* I also knew a bit about his family history and that of his wife going into this book. But I liked learning a big more about the Churchills as a family during unprecedented times, and what became of the daughters specifically. I loved reading about their relationships with their father during the war, as well as the domestic lives of all the family in the years after. It makes for an informative and well researched read, and one I’d recommend to all history buffs.
Was this review helpful?
A well-written and thoroughly account of Churchill's life and how it relates to his daughters. The title makes it seems like it just focuses on the daughters, but it is more on the home-unit and, for that, the book is actually better.
Was this review helpful?
The Churchill Sisters
by Dr. Rachel Tretheway
Publish Date: December 7, 2021 
St. Martin's Press 

As complex in their own way as their Mitford cousins, Winston and Clementine Churchill’s daughters each had a unique relationship with their famous father. Rachel Trethewey's biography, The Churchill Sisters, tells their story.
I recommend this for readers who enjoy a good historical book. This was a well-researched biography-type book.  Dr. Rachel Trethewey kept me engaged all the way to the end with her engrossing narrative about the unknown lives of the Churchill sisters and their father, Winston Churchill.
I found myself laughing through some of it as well.  Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the ARC. 
5 star
Was this review helpful?
I love History and memoirs and biographies and family drama. GIVE IT ALL TO ME to Read and I WIll. 
I was over the moon to get to read an early release of THe Churchill Sisters. In America, we have our dynasties. The Kennedys, The Rockafeller's. and the Kardashians. JUST KIDDING.  But in England, there was the Churchill Family. The sisters were all magnificent on their own. and until I read this I only came across them in passing when reading about their much more famous father and even brother. As in history, we are well aware that the lives of men come before that of women. We need more biographies like this that shine a light on additional powerhouses of history....the women, the daughters, sisters, and leaders.
Was this review helpful?
The Churchill Sisters is the first book I've read devoted solely to the daughters of Winston Churchill, where they are the focus instead of mentioned on the sides, as in Lynne Olson's fabulous books Citizens of London and Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile. Diana, Sarah, and Mary Churchill each lived in a world where women were, at least initially, considered second to men- and as a man of his era Winston thought this way too.  It was exposure to strong women like his wife Clementine and his daughters that made Winston change his mind. But also in the Churchill house, Winston came first always. Everyone believed his career and his work came first. This, combined with being the children of a great man and being children in a time when their class rarely were raised by their parents, and the childhood the younger generation of Churchills had was quite different from one we would recognize today. Their mother, Clementine, was like many others of her generation and class and was distant from her children, especially when they were young, which all of them came to regret later in life.  

I was a little disappointed with the first half of the book, as it didn't tell me anything particularly new. Anyone who has read The Splendid and the Vile or Citizens of London will know most of the early stories of the girls, particularly the war years as they came into their own helping in the war effort. Author Tretheway lingers a bit on each daughter's psychological need to live up to their parent's expectations but beyond that I didn't learn anything new. The second half, post World War II, however, I found more interesting because that was uncharted territory for me. The tragic stories of Diana and Sarah- each trying to find fulfillment in their own ways and never quite reaching their goals or happiness- were heartbreaking. Sarah and Mary taking turns being the one the others leaned on as the others fell apart, the mental illnesses and emotional collapses each sister experienced but tried to keep from their parents . . . the Churchills seems to be a family ahead of their time in accepting the idea of mental illness and treating it as an illness, one to be handled by doctors and not ignored with a 'stiff upper lip', which I was impressed by. 

Each daughter tried to live up to the father their worshipped as a hero and wanted to have look proudly on them, each wanted to make their mother's life a bit easier in caring for that father. Yet they also wanted to be their own person, and went in separate ways to discover who they were and what they might do with their lives. Although constrained at times by the society they grew up in and by the shadow of their father, they each faced life's challenges head on- whether that became constructive or destructive. 

While the writing wasn't always top level and was occasionally repetitive, I would certainly recommend The Churchill Sisters to anyone interested in women's lives over the course of the twentieth century, history buffs, and, of course, Churchill fans. A good new addition to the library, using archives newly opened to researchers.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
There’s that saying “Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman.”  Or in this case, daughters.   Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, and his wife, Clementine, had 5 children: Diana, Randolph, Sarah, Marigold (died at the age of 2) and Mary.  The surviving daughters were known to be Churchill’s backbone during his term and England’s key historical events.

Through personal correspondences and interviews from close acquaintances, the book recounts the lives of Winston Churchill daughters, specifically their relationship with their parents, with each other, the highs and lows of being a Churchill. 

My Thoughts:
This is a wonderful read.  I enjoyed the correspondences between the sisters.  It showed their true admiration for each other without a jealousy or competition.   They were beautiful, smart, and well-connected.  They supported each other both happy and dark times in their lives.  It was sad that the older sisters felt like a disappointment after failed marriages or career choices and that they didn’t live up to their parents expectations.  The oldest, Diana, didn’t have a close relationship with her mother.  Sarah was a successful actress until alcohol took over.  The youngest, Mary, faired better than all her siblings including her brother.   She tributes her success to the wide age gap between her siblings and being brought up as an only child.

I didn’t know much about Winston Churchill aside from his position during World War II.  The book does showed him in a different light.  He was very involved in his children’s lives and as devoted to them as they were with him.  He was a better parent than his wife was.  Whenever Clementine was indisposed, one of the daughters took her place as Churchill’s travel companion.  And she plays favorites but she had come to terms as to where she failed as a mother and tried to make amends at the end.

Thank you @netgalley and @stmartinspress for an advanced copy of the book and the opportunity to review it.
Was this review helpful?
Churchill's daughters - Mary, Sarah, and Diana- have been well served in this interesting biography of women who have been overshadowed by their famous family members.  Left largely to themselves and their father by their mother Clementine, they grew to adulthood in an environment like no other.  All three served important roles during WWII, with Sarah even accompanying her father to Tehran and Yalta.  No less vital was Diana's service in a munitions factory, something which might have once seemed unimaginable..  Then there's Mary, who worked first for the Red Cross and then in anti-aircraft batteries; she also travelled with her father to Potsdam, Sarah and Diana both struggled with mental health issues while Mary's life was less difficult.  She's possibly the best well known of the three, thanks to her marriage to Christopher Soames but more importantly due to her writing, which brought her into her own.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
Was this review helpful?
I love history and thought this might be an interesting book to read. Unfortunately (at least for me), this particular story did not fit with what I normally enjoy.

Author Rachel Trethewey achieved what a good historian should do, crafting her story with a huge amount of facts to back up her book. Those who desire to read more can find a large bibliography, and each chapter has many instances in the Notes section to support each revelation. On the other hand, there are countless notations of tiny habits and idiosyncrasies supported by a single footnote that one is sometimes left to question if these were isolated incidents rather than character flaws. In the entire scheme of things, at times they seem trivial without a future incident tied to them.

For those who are looking for more of a tell-all type feel to their reading, this is the perfect book for you. Ms. Trethewey’s work at diving deep into the tragedies and scandals of the three sisters earns the book a five-star rating. Readers who yearn for more historical events tied directly to their individual actions might only offer three-and-a-half. Taking the book as a whole and attempting to stand in both corners,  I can recommend four stars.

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance electronic copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
“The Churchill Sisters” holds a wealth of insight  into the lives of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s daughters, with a strong correlation to varying resources from the individuals themselves.

While I enjoyed this book, often I felt the author was merely restating information, rather than descriptively placing the reader into the time period. As such, it felt monotone while lacking energy.

A sincere thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me an advance copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read this story and leave my review voluntarily
Was this review helpful?