The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters - book cover
Leaders & Notable People
  • Publisher : St. Martin's Press
  • Published : 07 Dec 2021
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 1250272394
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250272393
  • Language : English

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

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.

Bright, attractive and well-connected, in any other family the Churchill girls – Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary – would have shone. But they were not in another family, they were Churchills, and neither they nor anyone else could ever forget it. From their father – ‘the greatest Englishman' – to their brother, golden boy Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were surrounded by a clan of larger-than-life characters which often saw them overlooked. While Marigold died too young to achieve her potential, the other daughters lived lives full of passion, drama and tragedy.

Diana, intense and diffident; Sarah, glamorous and stubborn; Mary, dependable yet determined – each so different but each imbued with a sense of responsibility toward each other and their country. Far from being cosseted debutantes, these women were eyewitnesses at some of the most important events in world history, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. Yet this is not a story set on the battlefields or in Parliament; it is an intimate saga that sheds light on the complex dynamics of family set against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.

Drawing on previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives, The Churchill Sisters brings Winston's daughters out of the shadows and tells their remarkable stories for the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

Editorial Reviews

"[Trethewey] sets a brisk pace and succeeds in depicting a trio of intriguing women at a perilous moment in world affairs." –Publishers Weekly

"This remarkable, sometimes tragic story of the daughters who supported their brilliant historical giant of a father will appeal to a broad range of engrossing and intelligent group biography." --Kirkus Reviews

"Enthralling." --The Bookseller (UK), Editor's Choice

"[The sisters'] lives were just as full of drama, passion and tragedy as the Mitfords…this intimate saga sheds much light on the complex dynamics of a family where forgiveness and acceptance were often required." –The Bookshelf (UK)

"Trethewey has been able to shed invaluable new light on the tangled and occasionally fraught relationships that Churchill's three adult daughters...each had with Winston, their mother Clementine, their brother Randolph, and each other...she has rightly produced a fine, uplifting work." --Andrew Roberts, bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

"A thoughtful portrait of the lives of three women on the forefront of history, but most importantly, a poignant story of sisterhood." –Catherine Grace Katz, bestselling author of The Daughters of Yalta

"A delightful and fascinating study of an unexplored area of Churchill family life." –Celia Sandys, author of Chasing Churchill and granddaughter of Winston Churchill

"An absorbing insight into the lives of their extraordinary daughters. With careful research and a sympathetic understanding of her subject matter, an enthralling study of this unconventional trio fills a void that had existed for too long." –Shelagh Montague Browne, personal secretary to Clementine Churchill

"Churchill's daughters were at the heart of his inner circle...this book puts them center stage and reveals both the scale of their contribution and the resulting personal cost." –Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Center at Cambridge University

"A fresh and fascinating insight both into Churchill as a father and his remarkable children." –Andrew Lownie, bestselling author of The Mountbattens

"This fascinating book brings the lives of [Churchill's] daughters out of the shadows for the first time...the extraordinary talents and resilience of these remarkable women that shine through. A revelation." –Andrew Wilson, award-winning author of Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted

"Comprehensively researched and lovingly detailed." –Anne deCourcy, author of The Husband Hunters

Readers Top Reviews

Jennifer LaraAnnaMr.
The Churchill Sisters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey is a deeper look into the daughters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Bright, attractive and well-connected, the Churchill girls, Diana, Sarah, and Mary, were not just members of any family. They are the daughters of the greatest Englishman. From their larger than life father to their golden boy brother, Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were often overlooked but lived lives filled with passion, drama and tragedy. The eldest, Diana, was intense and shy. Sarah was glamorous and stubborn. She even nicknamed herself “The Mule.” The baby, Mary, was dependable and determined. As each sister is different, they still had a strong sense of responsibility toward their family and their country. They were eyewitnesses to some of the most important events in world history from Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. What stories could they tell? The Churchill Sisters is an intimate look into the lives of these three women. Dr. Trethewey draws from previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives as well as memories and impressions from their children. Before reading The Churchill Sisters, I knew very little about Winston Churchill’s daughters and even less about Winston as a father. Dr. Trethewey brought these women out of the shadows of historical obscurity and tells their amazing stories. From their early lives, to their relationships with their parents, to the major historical events of the early 20th century, The Churchill Sisters is a fascinating read. It was a joy to read as Dr Trethewey wrote the historical events and the sisters with ease that I eagerly turned each page to discover more. Heartfelt, honest and enjoyable, the sisters come alive on the page as we discover their joys and hardships. I highly recommend The Churchill Sisters. The Churchill Sisters is available in hardcover, eBook and audiobook.
Virginia New Yorker
T Not only was this an enjoyable read, I learned so much about the political and personal challenges faced by Winston, his wife Clementine, and their daughters, especially in the WWII era. . Son Randolph was mentioned but played a minor role in the book. The three surviving sisters, DianaSarah and Mary ( Marigold having passed tragically as a toddler), had very different interests, personalities and strengths. All appeared extremely loyal and loving to both parents despite their personal life challenges. Of the children, Mary appeared the most even-keeled and stable. I had known nothing at all about Winston’s children so I found the book very informative. A fascinating part of the book for me was the degree to which all the daughters traveled with Winston on critical war-era international trips to provide personal and emotional support. For example, Mary joined Winston on a trip to Hyde Park to meet the Roosevelts, and Sarah accompanied Winston to the November 1943 Tehran Conference which was the first meeting of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. Winston’s political challenges domestically and internationally were well-portrayed. The author also recounted numerous amusing incidents, such as when the young sisters began giggling at the dining table when Winston’s marmalade cat, seated on his own chair and cushion, was eating pheasant and cream, appearing to bow in reciprocation to his master across the table. The author also recounts that the grown Mary enjoyed her own cigar while Winston smoked his, and they competed for the longest cigar ash. Dr. Trethewey did not shy away from the depressive episodes experienced by Sarah and Diana, nor son Randolph and daughter Sarah’s alcohol addiction. She described the insulin shock treatments used at the time in psychiatric facilities such as one Sara experienced. This was an excellent and informative read about the era itself and the Churchill family, and I highly recommend it. My thanks to #netgalley and the publisher for an advance reader’s copy. #St. Martin’s press
I received this book ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to advance read and review this novel. I have to be honest and state that ordinarily I would not have selected this book out of the myriad of books to choose from as my taste does not usually run to non-fiction. However, on a whim, I applied for this work and boy - am I happy I did! From the first chapter, I knew I had chosen a winner. The author has really done her homework here and researched not only the lives of the sisters but has also done an outstanding job of conveying the family dynamic and the roles that each family member plays within the family. My view of Winston Churchill was that he was a great man, a man for the ages, but the tenderness and love that he bestowed to his family was truly heartwarming. Not without their flaws, after all, theirs was an Edwardian era family first and foremost, the author conveys the foibles and traits that led the sisters to have such interesting lives. To me, the mark of a good book, is when I find myself thinking about the characters well after I have completed a novel and this is one of the finer examples of that practice. Well written, the author brought forward varied emotions as I progressed through the book, from pride when reading about the sister's war efforts during Britain's darkest days to sadness reading about their personal tragedy's, this book completely absorbed me. I definitely recommend this book. Bravo!
I learned a great deal about he workings of the Churchill family, the relations between parents and children and the relationships among all the siblings.. And of the interesting times they lived in. A great addition to the Churchill scholarship.
KarenSue Zoeller
This is a well written accurate portrayal of the Churchill women. It also provides a great historical context for their parents and the events surrounding them.