My Thoughts on ‘First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill’ by Sonia Purnell

“Behind every great man is a great woman.” – Well after reading this book, I’m sure many of you will agree that this phrase perfectly sums up the life of Clementine Churchill. It is so relevant in fact, that it is unbelievable that this woman has been allowed to fade into the background of British history! If I have taken anything away from this book, it is that the achievements of Clementine Churchill should be shouted from the rooftops, until she becomes just as celebrated as her highly-glorified husband.


Sorry about the poor-quality photo of Sonia Purnell’s ‘First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill’! I had to take it quickly before more of the gold print faded away…

Of course, I’m sure many of you will be familiar with Clementine’s husband, for the Churchill name was made infamous by Britain’s most celebrated Prime Minister: the great Winston Churchill. He was the sole figure who brought Britain through its ‘Darkest Hour’ during the horror of the Second World War (1939-1945). His determination to continue fighting and to never surrender, eventually beat all the odds and brought Britain to victory over Nazi Germany. During his lifetime and to this day, many people believe that if it wasn’t for Winston Churchill, Britain would not have won the war and the world would have become a very different place. Is it any wonder then, that Winston has become one of the most heroic figures of all time?


Winston Churchill with his much-adored wife Clementine Churchill. ‘First Lady’ reveals many personal insights into Clementine’s personality, including her contagious laugh and sophisticated glamour. 

First Lady’ by Sonia Purnell is absolutely groundbreaking, simply because it reveals to the world the true extent of Clementine’s influence and impact upon Winston’s renowned political career. In this powerful biography of Winston’s much-adored wife, Sonia sheds light on the woman who became the secret to Winston’s success. Upon reading this book, I’m sure many of you will share my belief that if it was not for Clementine Churchill (not Winston!), then the Second World War may have ended very differently?

Undoubtedly, readers will develop immense admiration and respect for this vague heroine in history, because she was such a remarkable individual in her own right. ‘First Lady’ unveils a glimpse into the private thoughts, trials and triumphs which ‘Clemmie’ endured throughout her life, not just during her terms as First Lady. Clementine may have been beautiful, smart, loved and influential; but she was also flawed, reserved and extremely self-conscious.What I loved about this book, was the extremely private glimpse which it provided into the Churchill’s marriage. Surviving letters between the couple and records from close friends and family, unearth a couple who were very much in love. Readers are introduced to a Winston who was extremely dependant upon his wife’s wisdom and favour, whilst Clementine is understood to be a woman who sought nothing but Winston’s happiness. (This was in fact, the perfect book to read during Valentine’s Day – they were such an adorable couple, even if they did spent a lot of time apart and occasionally pushed each others’ buttons)! After completing this book, I felt as if I knew Clementine personally as a result of Sonia’s extensive research into the Churchill’s intriguing private life.


Clementine with her American counterpart Eleanor Roosevelt. Just one instance of Clementine having much influence and involvement during WWII.

Within this incredible biography, Sonia Purnell has demonstrated to the world that one can only truly understand Winston Churchill after understanding his wife. Clementine may have never sought the limelight, nor sought recognition for her achievements, but thanks to Sonia we can now discover the momentous power which Clementine possessed behind-the-scenes. ‘First Lady’ shows the world that Clementine was not merely Winston’s glamorous wife; she was also his closest confidante, his most devoted supporter, his strongest ally and his most admired advisor. Sonia opens readers’ eyes to the shocking realisation, that if it hadn’t have been for Clementine’s involvement and wisdom, Winston Churchill may have transformed into a much-hated tyrant rather than a much-loved hero!

All in all, I had confidently declare that ‘First Lady: The Life and Wars by Clementine Churchill’ was one of the best biographies that I have ever read! It was revealing, engaging and hugely relatable. Without a doubt I will be spreading the word about Sonia Purnell’s book, mainly because I now share her desire for Clementine’s story to be widely known.


Author of ‘First Lady’: Sonia Purnell

There is no denying that Winston Churchill was one of the most marvellous leaders the world have ever seen. Yet ‘First Lady’ proves that if it wasn’t for the subtle guidance of Clementine Churchill, then the fate of this heroic figure may not have been as jubilant. ‘First Lady’ is therefore a major stepping stone, towards ensuring that the gratitude still felt towards Winston Churchill, will be just as intense as that felt towards his most valuable weapon and greatest success: his treasured wife ‘Clemmie’.





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