Top positive review
Lady Clementine Has Her Say
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
I’ve been waiting for this book; it more than delivered. We think of Churchill as a singular man. Now, we know the truth: there is no Churchill without Clementine, just as there is no Roosevelt without Eleanor. Clementine was not elected to a post, but more than did her duty.
Chalk full of marriage, politics, and endurance, this book is for both women and men. And I’m glad Clementine has had her say. The conversations and tone of those conversations between the Churchills seems spot on. Also, I loved its deeper story of how Clementine had to learn to help her “nerves,” which were, in fact, caused by Churchill, despite their great love. He was just a big personality. Or perhaps marriage/ life is just hard, and we women all need to admit to our need for self-care (and give ourselves permission to actually take time off). Mommy guilt and a drive for more are also a deeply resonating part of the book. All this packed into a fast paced treatment of the events from a new, wonderfully vocal and modern female voice.
Clementine speaks of everything Churchill did as “we” did this and “we” did that, just as she claims responsibility for helping Churchill with all of his fine speeches. Other than seeing how she was portrayed in “The Darkest Hour,” I confess to not knowing much about Clementine; I kept wondering how the Brits are going to like this addition to the story of one of their greatest heroes. I, for one, loved getting to know her and hope the book is developed into a movie.
One writing difference which may cause listeners/ readers to hit the back button a few times: the book is written in present tense with backstory in past tense. May Hilary Mantel’s legacy continue (think Wolf Hall); it helps make HF seem as if is unfolding before our eyes, rather than being so yesterday.
This is Benedict’s finest book. Bravo.