Get it at Amazonfrom our B+ review: Lisa: Jennie’s complicated love for her two sons is interesting. She tries sacrificing her love of Kinsky to save their lives, but cannot make smaller sacrifices for them. The author chooses to blame this on her husband’s ambition and the poor communication methods of the time, but history doesn’t back that up. Winston Churchill wrote in his memoirs that, to paraphrase, he worshipped his mother, but from a distance. Do you think the book reflected this well? Shannon: I think the book reflects Jennie's complex relationship with her sons quite well. She claims to love them quite a bit, but she only acts on that love when it's convenient for her to do so. I never got the impression that the mothering instinct was particularly strong in Jennie, and I don't think that had much at all to do with Randy's ambitions. I do think wealthy women of Jennie's generation were not encouraged to be particularly demonstrative with their children, but Jennie seemed to take that to extremes. Lisa: Did you like the way the author addressed the era’s social atmosphere? I loved it. Shannon: That was one of my favorite parts of the story. Jennie's interactions with her peers allowed me to cheer her on in a way I couldn't always do in other areas of her life. Ms. Barron captured the immense social pressures of the time perfectly, while still managing to keep me engaged, something that doesn't always happen in books like this. Lisa: Ultimately I was disappointed that the book chose only to focus on Jennie’s first marriage, and her actions up to Randolph’s death. In cramming what happened to her into the framing device it doesn’t tackle how she grew after Randy died, including her efforts to help the British side during World War I. That the epilogue chooses to tell us what happened to Charles instead of Jennie I found to be rather annoying. Shannon: I hate when authors do this. Jennie continued to be a person after Randy's death, but Ms. Barron doesn't allow us to see that part of her life. The message seemed to be that Jennie's contributions to the world stopped when her husband died, and I take exception to that. I would have loved to know what happened to Jennie in the years following Randy's demise. As for the epilogue's focus on Charles, that was utterly maddening. Charles was not the focus of the novel, even though his relationship with Jennie did factor into the story quite a bit. Ms. Barron's choice to fill us in on the later portion of his life and not Jennie’s made no sense at all. Lisa: I’m giving this a good solid A-; well-researched, well-written, emotionally involving and does a good job making a complex and unsympathetic woman seem more sympathetic, but the leaping non-linear structure and framing device didn’t always do it for me. Shannon: It gets a B from me. Ms. Barron does a lot of things right, but the story isn't without its flaws. The nonlinear narrative style was super distracting, and I have a hard time seeing past the way the book ended. Even so, it's a book I’d recommend to those readers who want to know more about Jennie Jerome Churchill.
Grade: B+Check Review