That Churchill Woman: A Novel by Stephanie BarronThat Churchill Woman: A Novel by Stephanie Barron

That Churchill Woman: A Novel

byStephanie Barron

Hardcover | January 29, 2019

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The Paris Wife meets PBS’s Victoria in this enthralling novel of the life and loves of one of history’s most remarkable women: Winston Churchill’s scandalous American mother, Jennie Jerome.

Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome took Victorian England by storm when she landed on its shores. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she gave birth to a man who defined the twentieth century: her son Winston. But Jennie—reared in the luxury of Gilded Age Newport and the Paris of the Second Empire—lived an outrageously modern life all her own, filled with controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph.

When the nineteen-year-old beauty agrees to marry the son of a duke she has known only three days, she’s instantly swept up in a whirlwind of British politics and the breathless social climbing of the Marlborough House Set, the reckless men who surround Bertie, Prince of Wales. Raised to think for herself and careless of English society rules, the new Lady Randolph Churchill quickly becomes a London sensation: adored by some, despised by others.

Artistically gifted and politically shrewd, she shapes her husband’s rise in Parliament and her young son’s difficult passage through boyhood. But as the family’s influence soars, scandals explode and tragedy befalls the Churchills. Jennie is inescapably drawn to the brilliant and seductive Count Charles Kinsky—diplomat, skilled horse-racer, deeply passionate lover. Their affair only intensifies as Randolph Churchill’s sanity frays, and Jennie—a woman whose every move on the public stage is judged—must walk a tightrope between duty and desire. Forced to decide where her heart truly belongs, Jennie risks everything—even her son—and disrupts lives, including her own, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Breathing new life into Jennie’s legacy and the glittering world over which she reigned, That Churchill Woman paints a portrait of the difficult—and sometimes impossible—balance among love, freedom, and obligation, while capturing the spirit of an unforgettable woman, one who altered the course of history.

Advance praise for That Churchill Woman

“The perfect confection of a novel . . . We’re introduced to Jennie in all of her passion and keen intelligence and beauty. While she is surrounded by a cast of late-Victorian celebrities, including Bertie, Prince of Wales, it’s always Jennie who shines and takes the center stage she was born to.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue
Stephanie Barron studied history at Princeton and Stanford, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow in the Humanities. She is the author of the historical suspense novels A Flaw in the Blood and The White Garden, as well as the critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Jane Austen Mystery series. A former intelligence...
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Title:That Churchill Woman: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.5 × 6.25 × 1.06 inPublished:January 29, 2019Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1524799564

ISBN - 13:9781524799564

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Reviews

Bookclub Guide

1. Jennie Jerome was one of the first American heiresses of the Gilded Age to cross the Atlantic in search of happiness. Do you think she found it?2. Part of Jennie’s public persona was her Americanness. In English society, built on notions of birth and class, how was she different? Did she consciously use that difference to define herself? Did it liberate or entrap her?3. The Dollar Princesses, as they were called, who traded American fortunes for European titles in the late nineteenth century, often married for social status more than love. Did the bargain guarantee unhappiness—or were there compensations?4. A major influence in Jennie’s life was her father, Leonard Jerome. Was his impact on Jennie positive or negative?5. Jennie’s parents separated when she was thirteen, and her mother moved the children permanently to Europe. Do you think that was a positive change in Jennie’s life, or an unfortunate one?6. Randolph Churchill proposed to Jennie after knowing her only three days. Would you marry a person you’d known that briefly?7. Jennie was a near-concert level pianist, a painter, a writer, and her husband’s chief political strategist, but her talents were limited by the roles accorded to women in the nineteenth century. Was she born too soon?8. Some of us carry friends from childhood all the way through adult life, as Jennie did with Alva Vanderbilt; Minnie Stevens Paget; and Consuelo Yznaga Montagu, Duchess of Manchester. Do you have friends you’ve known since you were young? How have they, and you, changed through the years? What has affected your relationships most over time? If you had lived in her time, would you have wanted Jennie as a friend?9. Was Randolph Churchill a victim of his marriage, or a villain? What feelings does he inspire?10. Jennie was unfaithful to Randolph, and he to her, but they were fundamentally loyal to each other through twenty years of marriage. What is more important in a relationship: fidelity, or loyalty? Is it possible to be faithful to oneself, and yet loyal to others?11. Charles Kinsky violated many of the rules of his royal upbringing and social position in his lengthy relationship with Jennie. Was his commitment to her difficult or easy? Is Charles an admirable figure, or a failed one?12. A common criticism of Jennie Churchill is that she was a bad or neglectful mother. After reading THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, what do you think? What did it mean to be a parent in the Gilded Age, particularly in England, among the upper classes?13. Who do you think had the greatest impact on Winston Churchill: his mother or his father?14. How do you think Winston’s childhood affected his later life?15. Winston nearly died at the age of twelve from pneumonia. Jennie lost her sister, Camille, to a virulent fever. Randolph Churchill went insane from a disease that is curable today. How would living with 19th-century medical standards alter your life?16. Did Jennie Churchill have opportunities she squandered, or possibilities she wasted? If you were Jennie, would you have lived your life differently?17. Have you ever been in a relationship affected by a hidden double life? How did that influence your behavior and commitment?18. Is it possible to appreciate or fairly judge those who lived by the social rules of the past?

Editorial Reviews

“The perfect confection of a novel . . . We’re introduced to Jennie in all of her passion and keen intelligence and beauty. While she is surrounded by a cast of late-Victorian celebrities, including Bertie, Prince of Wales, it’s always Jennie who shines and takes the center stage she was born to.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue   “Stephanie Barron cuts through the scandal and rumors surrounding Lady Randolph Churchill to bring us the woman herself in all her complexity: caught between worlds as an American in England, an intimate of princes, a favorite target of the scandal sheets, yet intensely private and fiercely loyal. Barron brings us along with Jennie to a world seething with secrets behind a façade of intricate etiquette and elaborate gowns. . . . An immense accomplishment from a seasoned author.”—Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of the Pink Carnation series   “What a subject for a novel! And what a read for anyone interested in the lives of women who have, until now, been largely unexplored. Barron’s immersive and richly detailed story gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of society women, as well as the early life of Winston Churchill himself.”—Jane Thynne, author of the Clara Vine series   “Finely researched, sumptuous . . . Presenting a fiercely intelligent, independent version of Jennie, this satisfying book actively pushes back against her historical reputation as a scandalous woman to great, consuming effect.”—Publishers Weekly   “Barron paints a picture of a beautiful woman with enough determination and animal magnetism to get what she wants. . . . The characters are captivating.”—Kirkus Reviews