A racy lady who had many lovers, including the Crown prince Edward, a Russian count and many other famous and brilliant men! The former Jennie Jerome, daughter of an American tycoon, she became the Lady Randolph Churchill and mother of Winston Churchill. She was highly intelligent and greatly furthered her husband’s political career…and later that of her famous son.
Jennie was the hands-on parent of the two and kept up a lively and brilliant correspondence with Winston while he was at school and later in the military, encouraging him to look at issues closely and give his opinion. Being close to many rich and powerful men, she was often called upon to ask favors for her son!
She also edited and published a scholarly periodical, wrote several plays and outfitted a hospital ship to tend to wounded soldiers in the Boer war, she herself travelling to South Africa and caring for the injured men. Although she was always in debt, she managed to entertain on an elaborate scale. Her friends included George Bernard Shaw, Herbert Asquith,William Waldorf Astor and Arthur Balfour Theodore Roosevelt was her cousin. The conversation at her table was intellectual and political.
Jennie looked much younger than her years and, after the death of her husband Randolph Churchill, she married twice,both times to men the age of her own son!
While visiting friends, she took a fall, breaking her ankle. Days later, gangrene set in and she was dead at the age of 67. Prime Minister Asquith eulogized her by saying ” She lived every inch of her life up to the edge.”
This book was written over 50 years ago, and although I enjoyed it, Iwould highly recommend Mary S. Lovell’s The Churchills in Love and War as a fascinating read!