S3 E10: The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters

Sarah shares her thoughts on “The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters” by Rachel Trethewey.

As complex in their own way as their Mitford cousins, Winston and Clementine Churchill’s daughters each had a unique relationship with their famous father. Rachel Trethewey’s biography, The Churchill Sisters, tells their story.

Drawing on previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives,  Rachel Trethewey brings Winston’s daughters out of the shadows and tells their remarkable stories for the first time.

“Theirs was a double-edged sword. Being Winston’s daughters opened up a world of privilege and opportunity, but it also raised expectations. Their positions as handmaids to the great man were the easy part of their role; establishing meaningful lives of their own away from their charismatic clan was harder. Sadly, Marigold died too young to achieve her potential, but Diana, Sarah and Mary coped in very different ways with the demands of living up to their famous name.”

Rachel Trethewey, “The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters

The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters The Book Dialogue

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

15 thoughts on “S3 E10: The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters

    1. I agree, Dave. Much has happened over the past decades to lead to a greater understanding of the role of women in careers that we once thought to be restricted to them. Sarah brought up the Mitford Sisters, cousins to the Churchill sisters, in our conversations. The Mitford sisters were front and centre, and considered scandalous in their time. Arguably, they would attract media attention even in our age. The questions that came to me in their conversation were 1) the influence of family and 2) was the sisters’ support of their father of greater value than if there would have been out in the public. I don’t have any answers to this, but it does get my mind thinking. Thank you for listening in and for your comments, Dave. They are very much appreciated.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. This is an absolutely interesting review of a “must read” book. We have studied about this family in grade school and have become more acquainted with them in high school and beyond, but I have never read anything that I have enjoyed as much as this article. This new look into the lives of the daughters, not usually mentioned in Churchill history, opens up a new understanding of the way the family related to each other. I enjoyed hearing that the daughters and father (and family) had a positive and happy family relationship. This is a book that must go on my “must read” book list. Thank you for sharing this review!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this conversation, Frances. I knew you would. Sarah has a talent for picking the most amazing books. Whenever I call her on the phone, the first words that come from her side of the phone, are “I’m reading a great book that I must tell you all about.” I foresee many conversations coming on The Book Dialogue. Thank you for you continued support and encouragement.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Sarah selects the best books, Liz. She reads five books to my 1 book, which opens new possibilities to add to my already TBR pile that is ready to topple. What I love about books is that we never run out of stories, thanks to writers like you. Sending hugs along with my thanks.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. This was an excellent teaser to discovering historical fiction about these women, because as you know, stories can sometimes reach even deeper than non-fiction in advocating the thoughts and ideas of women like this. Your wonderful conversation stimulates my curiosity. The concept of service in love for those we love has been on my mind lately. We may never appreciate the impact of our self-sacrifice, if they even felt that, on others; the Churchill sisters are an excellent example of this. Your discussion about authentic lives is a challenging one. Thank you both for sharing it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed our conversation, Mary Jo. I have been looking for historical fiction about these three women, but found mostly non-fiction. I believe that there will be more forthcoming works of fiction now that their story has been covered in a non-fiction venue. I found Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict. Marie Benedict is a lawyer who found her “calling” unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. I am also looking at the non-fiction book, “The Daughters of Yalta” by Catherine Grace Katz.

      Your thought on “the concept of service in love for those we love” is complex because there is an element of sacrifice. We all need for some form of validation or thanks for what has been done. What if that validation is not given? I have read that a healthy amount of external validation is needed for our mental well-being. And then, I go back to that marvelous thought by Vincent Van Gogh: “It is good to love many things, for therein lies strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done with love is well done.” I believe that in the end, love for another is the most profound validation that we can experience.

      Thank you for adding so much to this discussion!!! Sending hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. HI Sarah and Rebecca, this sounds like a most interesting book. I have always been interested in Winston Churchill who also spent time in South Africa. His aunt, Lady Sarah Wilson, was in the siege of Mafeking during the Second Anglo Boer War and features in my book A Ghost and His Gold. It is intriguing that Churchill would have been influenced by his daughters at that particular point in time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have not read this book, Robbie, but from what Sarah has told me, it brings out the family dynamics. I have read more about the Mitford Sisters and was intrigued that the Churchill Sisters were actively involved the events of this uncertain and complex time. I am currently reading “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, which also describes a father/daughter connection. This is the blurb: “The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Most people just want to get on with their lives. It’s hard enough to manage every day life on its own without adding extra worries. I sometimes wonder what I would do in this situation. Would I risk my sons lives to help others?

        Liked by 1 person

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