After a three-day romance Brooklyn-born Jennie Jerome married into the British aristocracy, becoming Lady Randolph Churchill. At a time when women were afforded few freedoms, she was a behind-the-scenes political dynamo. However it was Jennies love life that marked her out, earning her the epithet more panther than woman. In other ways, Jennie was deeply loyal to her husband. When he was dying of syphilis she took him on a round-the-world trip to conceal his violence and mania.
Her great project became her son, Winston, with whom she was entwined in an intense mutual dependency. Jennie died suddenly in 1921 and although Winston was not to become the nation's leader for another two decades, he had acquired from his mother an unshakeable faith in his destiny.
With unprecedented access to private family correspondence, newly discovered archival material and interviews with Jennie's two surviving granddaughters, Anne Sebba draws a vivid and frank portrait of her subject. She repositions Jennie as a woman who refused to be cowed by her eras customary repression of women. Jennie Churchill was creative and passionate, determined to live life to the full.
Anne Sebba is a biographer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She has written five books including the best-selling Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image and Laura Ashley: A Life by Design. She lives in London.