Fortune’s DaughtersElisabeth Kehoe
23 September 2004
Published by Atlantic Books
The story of the three Jerome sisters is one of love, glamour and money in equal measure. Their father, Leonard, was a profligate New York stockbroker whose beautiful wife, Clara Hall, was as extravagant as her husband. Their three daughters – Jennie, Clara and Leonie – were provided with every advantage, and lived a charmed existence. A fortuitous encounter in London with the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII, launched the girls into English society. Acclaimed wherever they went, they became known, simply, as ‘the Good, the Witty and the Beautiful.’
Jennie Jerome (‘the beautiful’) married Randolph Churchill, younger son of the Duke of Marlborough and was Winston’s mother. Clara Jerome (‘the good’) was romanced by the dashing Moreton Frewin, who had already squandered what capital he had on gambling, sports and women, while Leonie Jerome (‘the witty’) married into the Leslies, a distinguished Irish family, who were disappointed by their son’s choice of bride. Elisabeth Kehoe’s wonderful book covers more than one hundred years of family history and spans nineteenth-century New York, the fall of the second republic in France and Britain during both world wars. She draws on original research to follow the progress of the Jerome sisters, who remained close to each other throughout their lives. Their stories describe the poignant and ultimately, unsuccessful quest for true love and happiness.