The dramatic story of Winston Churchill's controversial and charasmatic mother.
After a three-day romance Brooklyn-born Jennie Jerome married into the British aristocracy, becoming Lady Randolph Churchill. At a time when women were afforded few freedoms, she was a behind-the-scenes political dynamo. However, it was Jennie's love life that marked her out, earning her the epithet more panther than woman. In other ways, Jennie was deeply loyal to her husband. When he was dying of syphilis she took him on a round-the-world trip to conceal his violence and mania.
Her great project became her son, Winston, with whom she was entwined in an intense mutual dependency. Jennie died suddenly in 1921 and although Winston was not to become the nation's leader for another two decades, he had acquired from his mother an unshakeable faith in his destiny.
With unprecedented access to private family correspondence, newly discovered archival material and interviews with Jennie's two surviving granddaughters, Anne Sebba draws a vivid and frank portrait of her subject. She repositions Jennie as a woman who refused to be cowed by her eras customary repression of women. Jennie Churchill was creative and passionate, determined to live life to the full.
Richly detailed, elegantly written ... Sebba reveals a passionate outspoken woman - Independent
This gripping new biography is sharp and intelligent ... An immensely enjoyable book. Her prose is as smooth and elegant as expensive cashmere, it reads like a novel - Literary Review
Meticulously researched ... often moving ... Sebba demonstrates, it was as a mother that Jennie grew to excel, an excellence for which she will be remembered - Evening Standard
Sebba's prose is clear, her judgments sensible ... But the real strength of the book is its examination of Jennie's role in shaping the character and career of Winston - Sunday Telegraph
Retrieving Jennie Churchill in sparkling three dimensions ... Sebba's biography does much to put flesh on the bones of a subject who has been reduced to a cipher for American brashness - Daily Telegraph
A wonderful book brimming with the history and atmosphere of Edwardian England - Margaret Fisk, New Books
A well-judged, endearing biography - Evening Standard
Unsurprisingly, this isn't the first biography of Winston's American mother, but it certainly does her justice, emphasising her insatiable sexuality and greed for life - Sunday Telegraph