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Lady Clementine

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Lady Clementine

March 2020

LADY CLEMENTINE by Marie Benedict takes readers into the life of Winston Churchill’s wife. As the book opens, Churchill is still climbing and positioning himself in government. While he is perceived as a leader, it is still early in his career. A decision during World War I places his path forward in jeopardy, but Clementine is by his side helping him navigate his way back into power.

At a time when few women are involved with government, she is right there with him in both formal meetings and informal discussions. Her avant-garde ways ensure that many on Churchill’s staff have to adjust themselves to her. They are not used to a spouse asserting herself. She has to win over Jock Colville, Churchill’s trusted private secretary, and others.

The book brings readers from one World War to another. The history of what was happening on the homefront is strong as Clementine works to ensure that those not on the battlefields are tended to.

She does realize that her life mirrors many other women who jump in with two feet and then later find that they are marginalized. During World War II, she meets Eleanor Roosevelt; it’s interesting to compare and contrast how they are part of their husbands’ lives.

Again and again she laments the lack of time that she spends with her children. Randolph, her oldest son, says, “Your whole existence focuses upon him and his requirements. He demands all of you, and there is no space left for your children to have needs.”

There also are nods to mental illness --- the depression that would overcome Churchill and Clementine’s anxiety. She has a breakdown at one point and goes away. Later she goes to the East Indies on a four-month trip that she is conflicted about taking, but she needs downtime from her husband.

The book ends with this poignant line: “When the successors to our time appraise Winston, and this awful war, as they surely must, I know that they will see Winston’s hand on the pen that scribes history. But, I wonder, will they see that my hand has also been on the pen all along?” Marie does a skillful job of portraying this.

LADY CLEMENTINE could provide a lively discussion for book clubs. Oh, and one last thing: Her name is pronounced Clementeen, not Clementyne.

Lady Clementine
by Marie Benedict

  • Publication Date: January 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
  • ISBN-10: 1492666904
  • ISBN-13: 9781492666905