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The American Adventuress by C. W. Gortner: A Book Review

The American Adventuress
Author: C. W. Gortner 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: 2022
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: The story of Jennie Jerome Churchill, mother of Winston, a New York born heiress who always lived life on her own terms.

     Daughter of New York financier Leonard Jerome, Jennie was born into wealth—and scandal. Upon her parents’ separation, her mother took Jennie and her sisters to Paris, where Mrs. Jerome was determined to marry her daughters into the most elite families. The glamorous city became their tumultuous finishing school until it fell to revolt. 

     Fleeing to Queen Victoria’s England, Jennie soon caught the eye of aristocrat Randolph Spencer-Churchill, son of the Duke of Marlborough, one of Britain’s loftiest peers. It was love at first sight, their unconventional marriage driven by mutual ambition and the birth of two sons. Undeterred by premature widowhood or society’s rigid expectations, Jennie brashly carried on a lifelong intimate friendship with Edward, Prince of Wales—a notorious bon vivant—and had two later marriages to younger men. When her son Winston launched his brilliant political career, Jennie guided him to success, his most vocal and valuable supporter.

     By turns scandalous, tragic, and exciting, Jennie Jerome lived an unconventional life full of defiance—one that enshrined her as an American adventuress.

     My Review: The American Adventuress tells the remarkable story of Jennie Jerome Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill. Jennie Jerome is the daughter of a self-made American millionaire. One day, she is pursued by a British nobleman. Jennie falls in love and is determined to marry him against her parents’ wishes. Once she is married, she learns that marriage is complicated and full of hardships. Jennie also tries to help her husband, and later her son, through their political careers.

     Jennie Jerome Churchill is not a likable character. She is very vain and selfish. She has little compassion for others. She was not a good mother to her sons, Winston and Jack Churchill, and often neglected them. Even when her sons are grown, she expects them to let her indulge in her personal pursuits and her marriages to young men who are deemed suitable for her. Even though I did not like her, I still found her to be a fascinating character. I like her independent spirit and her love for writing. Jennie Jerome Churchill definitely lived her life according to her own terms.

     Overall, this novel paints a complex portrait of a larger than life woman. There is not much depth to any of the secondary characters. Therefore, I didn’t feel any emotions towards them. I did not feel Jennie’s great love for her first husband. I also did not understand Winston Churchill. This is probably because the story is told from Jennie’s self-centered perspective. The one thing I did like was Jennie’s strong bond with her father. The pacing was uneven. There were times when I thought the story was rushed. It also had unnecessary and tedious scenes. Still, there were many glamorous parties, scandals and drama that made it a light and entertaining read! The American Adventuress reads like a soap opera that captivated me from the first page! I also love the author’s attention to historical detail! The American Adventuress is an honorary tribute to Winston Churchill’s mother. I recommend this novel for fans of That Churchill Woman, Lady Clementine, and American Duchess!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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