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A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's Youngest Child
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A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's Youngest Child

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  289 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Now in her eighty-ninth year, Mary Soames is the only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Younger than her siblings by several years, she went to day school and enjoyed an idyllic childhood played out in her very own 'Garden of Eden' - Chartwell. Here she roamed house and grounds, tended diligently to her collection of pets, and had her first glimpses of t ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 15th 2011 by Transworld Publishers
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First off, let me state that this is an audiobook where I feel the narration is the icing on the cake. It is extremely good. The intonations, the happiness and the sadness expressed match the words to a tee. French pronunciation is perfect, as well as English and American dialects. I really, really enjoyed the narration. Superb! A delight to listen to. Mary’s memoir is chatty, confidential, so it is not hard to follow in this format.

This is a book about Mary Soames, the youngest child of Winston
Sep 13, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is the loveliest book! I will definitely buy it so I can keep my own copy forever. It was such a treat to read these reminiscences by Lady Soames, the daughter of the great Winston Churchill.

She begins with an account of her idyllic life at Chartwell in the beautiful countryside. Here she enjoyed life with a menagerie of animals, watching the antics of her siblings, and riding and even bricklaying with her father. She felt somewhat isolated from her siblings because she was the youngest and
Dec 20, 2012 Evelyn rated it really liked it
In an age when so many memoirs by children of famous--or even not famous--parents are actually just tell-all indictments about dysfunctional parenting and miserable childhoods and are riddled with tales of stories ofabuse and rife with accusation, this memoir is none of the above, which is thoroughly refreshing. Mary Soames, nee Churchill, makes it clear from the very start of the book that she loved and respected her parents, regardless of their faults. Whatever dysfunction and/or disappointmen ...more
Josephine Ferraro
Jun 22, 2014 Josephine Ferraro rated it really liked it
I recently read this book before going to London and visiting Churchill's WWII bunker at the Churchill War Museum and going to Chartwell, where he lived with his wife and children. Having read Mary Soames' book before going made these places come alive for me. She was an extraordinary woman who loved her father deeply and who was part of a fascinating time in history. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning about Churchill and the British experience of WWII. I would ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww2
Quite enjoyable peek into personal life of the Churchill family from the perspective of the youngest Churchill daughter, Mary. Covers the period of time from her birth until her marriage (two years after the end of WW2).

My only quibble is how she refers to her parents: she jumps around from "Mummie and Papa" to "Winston" and "Clementine" pretty much randomly. She also removes herself from some situations with her siblings (older brother Randolph, older sisters Diana and Sarah) by saying things l
Gabi Coatsworth
Jul 24, 2013 Gabi Coatsworth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, history
A fascinating slice of history from Mary Soames, Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter. It covers her childhood through the end of World War 2, and gives a different perspective on Churchill and the rest of the family. Her trips with Churchill to foreign countries during the war for conferences were fascinating. I hadn’t realized that he traveled so much. And her own experiences as a member of the ATS are also interesting. Based on her diaries and letters, I found this a very readable memoir, an ...more
Nov 09, 2012 Pearl rated it liked it
Probably I should have known from the sub-title that this book would be a memoir of the author herself, not of her father. But I didn't, and it took me a while to get over that disappointment when beginning to read the book. I have always been a big Winston Churchill fan, despite the fact that he was a conservative and I'm not and that he loved and tried to hang on to the British Empire and I'm not an admirer of imperialism. I didn't know enough about Mary Churchill to want to read a book about ...more
Mar 20, 2017 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Daughters Tale by Mary Soames, Winston Churchill's youngest daughter is a delightfully written memoir, written with a combination of personal reminiscences and never-before-published diary entries. She describes memories of a childhood spent roaming the grounds of Chartwell, the family’s country estate She later became one of her father’s most trusted companions, we are given rare glimpses inside the glittering social milieu through which the Churchills moved, as well as the world of British p ...more
Donie Nelson
May 16, 2017 Donie Nelson rated it it was ok
Great book if you are obsessed with the Churchills. I grabbed it at the library on impulse, but did not finish reading. Soames draws upon family letters as well as her own diaries to recreate her life from birth to her marriage. This covers WWII in England. Did not hold my interest--great if you have insomnia.
Sep 18, 2012 Kereesa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the historical aspects of Churchill's life
I have not read many memoirs. I have probably never really read many in my life, nor will I ever read many in my days to come. It's not a genre I know very well, or have much interest in most of the time. My boyfriend always says he bleeds milkshakes, and I think the same could be said for me and fantasy.

That's not to say I don't understand or get the point of a good bio/autobio/etc... I do, I just have a lack of interest most of the time, and honestly prefer something with a little more magic
This was a very sweet book, and worthwhile reading. It chronicles the life of Mary Churchill Soames, the youngest of Winston and Clementine Churchill's 5 children. Mary Soames died in 2014 at the age of 91. She was 17 years old when WWII broke out in 1939 and an eyewitness to many of the epic events of WWII.

I read an interview that Mary Soames gave in 2012,

Her interview made me more interested in her as a person and also her relationship with her ver
Alan Shaw
Aug 12, 2014 Alan Shaw rated it it was amazing
This is a memoir / part-autobiography of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s youngest child Mary from her birth in 1922 to her marriage in 1947. The memoir focuses almost entirely on her father’s political career, with particular emphasis on his crucial and pivotal role as Prime Minister in WW2. This is viewed from first a domestic and later participatory perspective, after Mary joins the army and is occasionally summoned to travel with her father as an aide.

It is full of insights into the workin
Nov 02, 2012 Peter rated it liked it
If you are a student of British history or World War II, then Mary Soames memoir of her life through her mid-twenties is a worthwhile read. Soames is the youngest daughter of Winston and Clementine Churchill. She was the only one of their children still living "at home" when her father was named prime minister in 1940, charged with keeping Great Britain from falling under Hitler's sythe.

Despite being the child of artistocrats and despite the privileges that might have been bestowed on her as th
Martin Mostek
May 22, 2015 Martin Mostek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written authobiographic account of childhood and youth of Mary, youngest daughter of Winston and Clemmentine Churchill. From reading a lot about Chartwell, animals and other joys of childhood books steadily progresses (through years of Churchills "wildnerness")to outbreak of war, and all that war changed in life of family and personal story of Mary Churchill. After "doing her bit" in various ways she once hears about personell shortage in anti-aircraft batteries. So she and her close friend ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a birthday gift. It combines many of my favorite reading genres: history, biography, WWII, British life. The book combines current commentary from the author as well as many extracts from her personal diaries and letters. It begins even before her birth and introduces us to her family long before WWII. And we watch as she grows up into a teenager who enlists as an antiaircraft gunner in WWII while her father, Britain's Prime minister, runs the war. It ends with her marriage shortly ...more
Jul 29, 2013 Marjorie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!! A lovely insight into a famous family and a lifestyle we will never see again. Winston Churchill was a much adored and very affectionate "Papa" to his family. Despite the fact that the family was well off and influential, all the children did war work or enlisted. Mary was able to travel some with her father during the war as his ADC and she trained as a gunner. Absolutely no complaints about her parents being awful or dysfunctional as with some family biographies these days. ...more
Diana Duncan
Aug 26, 2012 Diana Duncan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, read-2013
I really enjoyed this book. It was quite interesting to read a more intimate view of Winston Churchill's war years through the perspective of a family member. I also had not known anything about the women who served in the army as battery team members and her tales of life in the army were also quite interesting. It was refreshing to read a memoir by someone who recognized that her parents were not perfect but had a great deal of respect for them and took responsibility for her own mistakes. The ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Moira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Soames is the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill, who came of age just as WWII was beginning and this book is her memoirs of those early years. It is a different take than we are used to seeing of Winston, and she is an excellent story teller. She had what was honestly just a fascinating life to hear about though. She is able to see the major political players of the time as people around her dinner table and thus brings a whole new dimension to those figures as well. I'm loving the insight ...more
I was first drawn to "A Daughter's Tale" in "BookPage." I was, also, amazed to find out Churchill's daughter, Mary Soames, was still alive. Unfortunately, I just learned (from BookTV) that she passed away recently. As the book review, by Roger Bishop, states: "This absorbing memoir gives us glimpses of Mary’s opinions about such public figures as Franklin Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle. But she also tells us a lot about people who were important to her but are lost to history." Enjoy reading mo ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Norm rated it really liked it
charming, and interesting for the Churchill aficianado. perhaps a bit boring for everyone else, but given the interest in the British upper-class (for instance, Downton Abbey) it gives insight into what it was like to grow up privileged but with a sense of duty to King and country.

she served several years in an anti-aircraft battalion, first doing the math and directing the guns based on the perceived direction of the incoming enemy, and later as commander of the women in the 'mixed' battalion c
Paula Agata
Mar 24, 2015 Paula Agata rated it really liked it
Great insight into "the corridors of power" as they say. Really interesting tale of the English Upper classes. Much of the focus is on her life during WWII and it begins to get a little tired in the end. That section just went on a little too long, I think. The memoir ends right after the war with only a little bit written about how she met her husband which seems like kind of an abrupt ending to me after the long description of her wartime life.
Overall a great read and might give you insight i
Oct 14, 2012 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2015
An interesting, engaging account of Mary Churchill Soames' life from birth through her marriage shortly after World War II. Soames gives her eyewitness account of the lives of her parents, British prime minister Winston Churchill and Clementine Churchill, throughout the war. Her wartime experiences ranged from operating a gun battery in London to accompanying her father on wartime trips to Canada, the United States, France, and Belgium.
In this memoir, Mary Soames (Churchill's youngest daughter) recounts her experiences growing up and serving in WWII. She was obviously close to her famous father, and the book includes many touching stories. The book felt a little choppy to me, and in some cases, got a little too bogged down in details. However, this book has made me think more about reading some good biographies of both of Mary's parents. This must have been a fascinating family.
Nov 10, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed learning more about the life of this prominent family in Britain during WWII. I admired that the entire family did their part during the war and made sacrifices along with all the other citizens, although they were admittedly sheltered a bit with WC being PM. Mary kept a close relationship with both parents, even though they were absent for much of her childhood. Interesting and a nice read.
Jun 16, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
I greatly enjoyed this autobiography written by Winston Churchill's youngest child, Mary. In it, she writes about her early life growing up in the waning days of the British aristocracy. The most interesting passages in the book take place during the Second World War when Mary occasionally tagged along on her father's trips around the world. If you're like me, and fascinated by the life of Winston Churchill, you'll enjoy this unique perspective on the man and his family.
Barbara VA
Aug 17, 2012 Barbara VA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book! The names and stories will keep you going from page 1 right through to the end, but do not try to finish in 1 sitting, it will be quite the dis-service, I need out historical library as well as the internet to keep me going with MORE from every chapter, on every figure. It is not that the book is confusing, it is not, I just wanted "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would quote every night.
May 08, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming memoir of the Churchill family from the perspective of the youngest daughter, Mary. I found the events reported during the WWII times especially insightful. At times, the contrasts between Mary's life of privilege and the suffering and hardship of the masses was a bit difficult to read. Overall, readable personal story by someone sitting a the right hand of a world power's leader.
Apr 01, 2016 Madelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me some great insights into the lives of the Churchill's. Mary Soames is the youngest and only surviving child of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Mary wrote the book. She had a wonderful relationship with her parents. She really loved spending time with her father. It was interesting to learn about what their family did during the war.
Aug 09, 2012 Kaija rated it really liked it
The beginning is hard to follow, as it is difficult to recall one's childhood with ease.
Once she gets to her teenage years it is much easier to follow, and a good insight into her life, and her fathers. Somewhat disappointing it does not go on past her marriage to discuss her father's death, the birth of her children, etc.
False Millennium
Given the historical family she was born into, it read rather boring. Also, to be a teen/young adult during WWII, you would think she could have given more insight into things, having lived the war as the Prime Minister's daughter. The section on the Mitfords read "lifted" and canned. Pamela Digby Churchhill cut her swath through life...and left a lot of damage. Poor children.
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Mary Soames, Baroness Soames, LG, DBE, FRSL was the youngest of the five children of Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine. She was the wife of Christopher Soames.

Mary Spencer-Churchill was raised at Chartwell and educated at the Manor House at Limpsfield. She worked for the Red Cross and the Women's Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1941 wit
More about Mary Soames...

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