September Book a Month: Clementine

As part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

You may think you know everything worth knowing about Winston Churchill. But we suspect you don’t know just how responsible his wife, Clementine Churchill, was for his success—or how fascinating she was in her own right! Our September 2017 Book a Month selection, Clementine by Sonia Purnell, is an absorbing biography of the ambitious, opinionated, always stylish Mrs. Churchill, a clear-eyed portrait of a complex woman too long ignored by history. 

1. Clementine Churchill is a historical figure who has been largely ignored. Do you think she proved to be an interesting biography subject? Considering her personality, her strengths and foibles, how might her life and legacy have been different if she had been born fifty years later?

2. Which period of her life did you find most interesting and why?

3. Winston seemed to be the center of Clementine’s world, sometimes at the expense of her own well-being. Do you think her enormous role in his life fulfilled her?

4. Did anything you learned about Clementine surprise you?

5. How would you describe Clementine’s relationship with her children? Do you think she was a good mother? How did her devotion to Winston affect her role as a parent?

6. Did you think Winston and Clementine’s marriage was as strong as their political partnership? Would he have been the statesman he was if his and Clementine’s relationship was different?

7. Author Sonia Purnell doesn’t spend much time chronicling Clementine’s fifteen years of widowhood. Why do you think that is? Would you like to learn more about her later life, or did you find her less interesting without Winston? Why or why not?

8. This biography provided glimpses into the lives of many of the Churchills’ friends and fellow world leaders. Which did you find most intriguing?

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