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Book club questions for Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict takes a closer look at the life of Clementine Churchill. There will be spoilers so be sure to check out my review first.
In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband.
Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.
Book Club Questions for Lady Clementine
- The book starts off right before the wedding of Clementine and Winston. Clementine thinks to herself that she “always feels different.” What do you think she meant by that?
- Did you know much about Clementine Churchill prior to reading the novel? What were some of the interesting aspects that you learned about her from the book?
- It’s very apparent during the courtship of Winston and Clementine was that he was quite enamored with her intelligence and political knowledge. Why do you think they became such a good fit? Do you think that there truly was love there or was it more of a political alliance?
- On page 46, a key scene happened—this is when a woman tries to shove Winston onto an ongoing train but that Clementine saves him at the last minute. So apparently this really did happen but let’s also discuss the symbolism of Clementine saving Winston then and in the future. Would Winston Churchill be who he was without Clementine at his side?
- Motherhood does not come easily for Clementine and she admits she feels she lacks the material instinct for it. On page 114, she thinks to herself “what sort of mother have I become? Is it the war and Winston that have made me so remote? Or is it an unfortunate consequence of my bringing? A failing in my nature?” Let’s discuss this—do you think any of this is true? Do sacrifices have to be made in order at home in order to be fully invested in politics?
- Her son Randolph tells his mother Clementine that “your whole existence focuses upon him and his requirements. He demands all of you, and there is no space left for your children to have needs.” A lot of blame for how the children turn out seems to be on Clementine but Winston was just as absent as a father. And it also seems like he couldn’t have carried on his duties without Clementine. What do you think about this blame on Clementine as opposed to Winston?
- There’s lots of political details and a behind-the-scenes look at the decision making—especially with regards to WWII. What did you think about all the historical focused sections? Did you learn anything new from it?
- The only time that it seems Clementine truly relaxes is when she goes on the cruise and spends time with art expert Terence Philip who she develops a crush for, however, it’s unrequited. What were your thoughts on this—was this the only time Clementine got to be herself? How did this experience change Clementine for good?
- What did you think about the scenes between Clementine and Eleanor Roosevelt? In what ways were their lives pretty parallel and similar?
- What was your overall impression of Clementine and her role in history?
What to Read Next
Historical fiction books like Lady Clementine always make for good book club discussion books! If you enjoyed book club questions for Lady Clementine, here are some other recommendations. (Click the titles or photos to purchase from Amazon).
The Huntress by Kate Quinn is another story full of rich historical details. You can find my book club questions for it here.
Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.
Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.
The Great Alone
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a gripping story about survival and human resilience. You can find my discussion questions here.
The story is about a family that moves to Alaska in 1974. The father, Ernt Allbright, is a former POW that comes home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. He makes the impulsive decision to move his family to Alaska where they will live off the grid in America’s last frontier. The mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for Ernt, even if it means following him into the unknown. Their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni is caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate and stormy relationship. But she hopes that the new land will lead to a better future for her family.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture.