The remarkable life of the vivacious, clever – and forgotten –
Kennedy sister, who charmed the English aristocracy and was almost
erased from her family history.
Kick was Joe Kennedy’s favourite child and Jack’s favourite
sister. Spirited, vivacious and quick-witted, her charm was legendary
and with her jokes, effervescence and ease of manner she became a star
amongst friends, family and the press.
When Kick sailed to
Britain in 1938 after her father had been appointed US Ambassador in
London she was presented at court as a debutante, attended all the best
parties and was a house-guest at the finest country estates. She was
described as ‘the best thing America ever sent us’.
Kick was not
conventionally beautiful, but men swarmed around her. As she mingled
with aristocrats, politicians, writers and artists, everyone was drawn
to her refreshing lack of stuffiness. To her the Duke of Marlborough was
‘DukieWookie’ and she taught her aristocratic friends to say in an
American drawl, ‘Oh, Kid what’s the sto-o-ory’. Even the anti-American
Evelyn Waugh was bewitched.
As the clouds of war gathered, Kick
met a shy, tall, handsome man called Billy and against the wishes of her
powerful family, she married him. He was William Cavendish, heir to the
Duke of Devonshire and the Chatsworth estate, the most eligible
bachelor in England. But their days of married bliss proved short. War
brought tragedy and loss.
In this book, which is as lively and
vivacious as its subject, best-selling author Paula Byrne uses recently
released documents to tell for the first time this cinematic story of
the meeting of American and British aristocracy – the Kennedys, the
Devonshires, their friends such as the Churchills, Astors and Mitfords,
the social whirl of pre-War life, Kick’s work for the Red Cross and as a
journalist – and the religious tension that arose from her marriage to
She kicked against family, faith and country. She was a
rebel to the end – which came all too soon, when she was just 28. This
wonderful book restores her story at last with all its energy, wit and
Boktitel: Kick. The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK’s Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth Författare: Paula Byrne Bokförlag: William Collins
Paula Byrne was born in Birkenhead and has a PhD from the University of
Liverpool, where she is a Research Fellow in English Literature.