• A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's youngest child

    SWMBO got this book on our shared Kindle account because she met Lady Soames in Normandy at the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. I decided to read it because I like biographies and it looked interesting. It is.

    The book takes us from her birth in 1922 (there is even some family background that pre-dates her birth) up to her marriage in 1947. The Churchills were privileged and well connected and from a very young age Mary moved in the rarefied circle of national and world leaders.

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    The first part of the book deals with her childhood, education and up bringing. It's a world of nannies, servants, ponies, horses and a menagerie of other animals, huge country houses, houses in the town and of course Mummie and Papa. They were not immune to the great depression, Churchill lost a lot of money when Wall Street crashed but this meant temporarily closing Chartwell and laying off some of the seasonal staff rather than anything we would recognise as hardship.

    The second part of the book deals with the war years. Mary was still in education when the war started and Papa joined the war cabinet but the war touched her immediately as Chartwell took in evacuees. Later after Papa became PM she lived at Chequers and did voluntary work in a local hospital. She also acted as hostess for Papa.

    Eventually she joined the ATS and was posted to one of the mixed AA batteries. She worked her way through the ranks and was eventually commissioned. All the way through this she led a double or triple life with her family and with the fast set in town. She acted as Papa's ADC on a number of important trips and indeed she was privy to details the very top of top secrets before the events. Towards the end of the war she volunteered for overseas service and eventually was part of the occupation force in Germany.

    One note of curiosity. She mentions in passing that she got a number of solicitous communications from Monty concerned that she and her girls were being well looked after. I was surprised that a man of Monty's aesthetic tastes would have been bothered about such things. I know he was concerned about the welfare of his troops but I thought that was in a rather more abstract way than this suggests.

    This is a book about a different time and a different age - it won't suit anyone who wants action packed shoot 'em ups but if you're interested in a different slant on events I heartily recommend it.

    Review by BuggerAll.