Benedict (The Other Einstein) delivers a winning fictionalized biography of Clementine Churchill, the wife of Winston Churchill. The personality of Clementine reverberates in this intimate, first-person account of the loving 57-year marriage of the two political dynamos. Winston—or as Clementine called him, “Pug”—is known by history for the turbulence of his career in the British government until its zenith as prime minister during WWII. Winston’s bombastic personality made it difficult for him to listen to advisers, but Clementine had his ear and counseled him on everything from speech writing to military decisions and national policies, and helped make advancements in the women’s suffrage movement. The profound pressure on a politically active mother of four in the early 20th century sometimes takes its toll on Clementine, but she perseveres. The story moves swiftly as the couple sways in and out of favor, receiving death threats when the 1915 Battle of Dardanelles, when Winston was First Lord of the Admiralty, costs tens of thousands of lives, and then hearing roars of approval for triumphant orations during WWII. Accurate era descriptions add to the realism of the story, and Benedict reveals the connection between Clementine’s grounded energy and her thoughtful influence throughout times of war and peace. It’s an intriguing novel, and the focus on the heroic counsel of a woman that has national and international impacts will resonate in the present day. (Jan.)
"In her latest novel, Lady Clementine, Marie Benedict has gifted us all with another thoughtful and illuminating behind-the-scenes look at one of history's most unusual and extraordinary women. Benedict stuns readers with a glorious assortment of Clementine Churchill's most personal secrets: her scandalous childhood, her unexpected role as a social outsider, her maternal insecurities, and the daily struggles she faces to smooth her husband's political blunders and to keep up with his relentless demands for guidance and attention. With a historian's eye and a writer's heart, Benedict provides an unforgettable glimpse into the private world of a brilliant woman whose impact and influence on world events deserves to be acknowledged." - Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters
"The atmospheric prose of Marie Benedict draws me in every single time. Lady Clementine's powerful and spirited story is both compelling and immersive. Benedict fully inhabits the measured and intelligent voice of Clementine Churchill. Entranced throughout, I discovered the secrets behind a familiar story I thought I knew. Deftly moving from the early nineteen hundreds through World War II, Benedict skillfully paints a vivid picture of the times and life of Clementine, the remarkable woman who was the steady force beside Winston Churchill." - Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis
"Benedict is a true master at weaving the threads of the past into a compelling story for today. Here is the fictionalized account of the person who was the unequivocal wind beneath Winston Churchill's wings a woman whose impact on the world-shaper that was WW2 has been begging to be told. A remarkable story of remarkable woman." - Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War
"Winning...the personality of Clementine reverberates in this intimate, first-person account. An intriguing novel, and the focus on the heroic counsel of a woman that has national and international impacts will resonate." - Publishers Weekly
"A rousing tale of ambition and love." - Kirkus Reviews
"Well-researched, illuminating account of a complex, intelligent woman." - Booklist
"Benedict affords us a spirited fictional account of Clementine Churchill, something the New York Times best-selling author of The Other Einstein and The Only Woman in the Room should do well. Here, Clementine is tough, ambitious, and every bit as influential as her husband." - Library Journal
"This outstanding story deserves wide readership. Fans of historical fiction, especially set around World War II; readers who appreciate strong, intelligent female leads; or those who just want to read a compelling page-turner will enjoy this gem of a novel." - Library Journal, starred review
" A true tale of Clementine's ferocity and ambition through political unrest and two world wars, the novel spotlights one of the most influential behind-the-scenes women of her time." - Parade
"A fascinating fictionalized account of the consummate political wife." - People Magazine
"Benedict gives us a novel based on the life of the woman who historians say quietly advised Winston Churchill throughout his career." - Glamour
Behind every successful man, they say, stands a strong woman. Lady Clementine Churchill was an example of such, as this self-narrated fictional recounting makes clear. Benedict (The Only Woman in the Room) takes readers through the First World War and the period between wars and concludes Clementine's story on V-E Day, marking the end of World War II on the European front. Clementine Hozier survives a peripatetic childhood with a mother who cares more for her many illicit affairs than for her children, but Clementine, reserved and intelligent, comes through with a strong will and keen political mind. She was in many ways the perfect partner for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who sometimes needed a guiding voice to keep him on topic, as well as someone to cater to his whims. While Clementine did that, she also kept herself in the thick of political life with her husband and later became an important figure in her own right. VERDICT This outstanding story deserves wide readership. Fans of historical fiction, especially set around World War II; readers who appreciate strong, intelligent female leads; or those who just want to read a compelling page-turner will enjoy this gem of a novel. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]—Pamela O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY
Determined to support her husband in his political work through two world wars, Clementine Churchill becomes a powerful role model for women.
Benedict (The Only Woman in the Room, 2019, etc.) continues her series of historical novels based on the lives of influential women too often overlooked. The children of neglectful mothers, both Clemmie and Winston Churchill are immediately drawn to each other. Once married, they seek security in their marriage, not only producing five children, but also charting together Winston's phenomenal career. Cat and Pug, as Clemmie and Winston affectionately called one another, navigate nearly every political crisis together. On the homefront, Clemmie must face down dangers of a more domestic sort, too, including managing houses on shoestring budgets and defending her husband from angry suffragists wielding whips and jealous women vying for his affections. Keeping Clemmie by his side helps the notoriously brusque Winston navigate stormy domestic and international waters, from the disasters of the WWI campaign in the Dardanelles to the heights of his service as prime minister defeating Hitler. Throughout it all, as half of a power couple, Clemmie faces criticism from her own friends and sister for the unwomanly nature of her work. Indeed, she questions her own fitness as a mother, as she finds more passion in her work than in raising her children. Benedict capitalizes on the Churchills' long, storied lives to generate a fast-paced narrative: Gallipoli leads to Winston's stint on the front lines of WWI swiftly followed by 2-year-old Marigold's death, Winston's campaign against the Nazis, and finally his triumphant return to the House of Commons. The thrilling ride is marred only by repetitive scenes of an impassioned Winston lashing out at Clemmie, whose stern looks immediately remind her Pug to take better care of his Cat.
A rousing tale of ambition and love.