That Churchill Woman

Ballantine. Jan. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9781524799564. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781524799571. F
OrangeReviewStarMost people know that Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American who married a British lord, but there's much more to Lady Randolph Churchill than her talent for painting and that she had a famous son. Historical mystery and suspense author Barron ("Jane Austen Mystery" series; A Flaw in the Blood), who also writes espionage fiction as Francine Mathews, vividly portrays Jennie against the backdrop of the Gilded Age—glamorous aspects and the strict societal mores that constrained the upper classes of the time, especially women. Scandal, notoriety, and passionate affairs may have been the hallmarks of Jennie's life, but this novel shows her as a modern woman before her time: politically in tune, faithful in her own way, and a loving if distant mother.
VERDICT Fans of historical fiction based on famous women, such as Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, will enjoy getting the inside story on Lady Randolph Churchill, the smart, politically savvy, independent-minded American mother of the not-yet-famous Winston. Sure to be a book club favorite.—Laurie Cavanaugh, Thayer P.L., Braintree, MA
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