When I heard that Mary Soames had written a memoir about her early life, I couldn’t wait to read it. A Daughter’s Tale, The Memoir of Winston Churchill’s Youngest Child is a fascinating book which invites the reader inside the personal life of one of the most influential men in history. I’ve long admired and been fascinated by Winston Churchill, and Mary’s memoir is a veritable Who’s Who of the WWII era.
Mary’s personal diary and saved correspondence during the war years provided intimate details of life behind the walls of 10 Downing Street where monumental decisions were made which changed the course of history. The family’s dinner companions included the most influential people of the times. I can’t imagine sitting beside FDR breaking bread as Mary did. As an aid to her father, she traveled worn torn Europe, witnessing many historic events during and after the war.
I greatly admire the fact that Mary, who was accustomed to designer dresses from Paris, nannies, servants, and Victorian jewels, served her country during the war as a gunner in the women’s auxiliary. Considering who her father was, it says a great deal about the family’s commitment to their country and the lives of service they led. Much of the memoir illustrates how deeply Winston Churchill felt for the many people adversely affected by the war.
Mary spoke fluent French and I enjoyed dusting off my trusty French dictionary to translate the many French quips in the book. Mary’s vivid descriptions of the English countryside, Churchill residences, and army encampments were beautifully written.
I come away from this book with a sense of awe and gratitude not only to the Churchill family, but to all those who made countless heroic contributions to the world in a time of great need. At the worst of times, God gave us the best of men and women to see us through very dark days.