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The Importance of Being Kennedy
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A brilliant novel by Laurie Graham set in wartime London, which follows Kick Kennedy, sister of future US President JFK, as she takes London society by storm. Nora Brennan is a country girl from Westmeath. When she lands herself a position as nursery maid to a family in Brookline, Massachusetts, she little thinks it will place her at the heart of American history. But it's the Kennedy family. In 1917 Joseph Kennedy is on his way to his first million and he has plans to found a dynasty and ensure that his baby son, Joe Junior, will be the first Catholic President of the United States. As nursemaid to all nine Kennedy children, Nora witnesses every moment, public and private. She sees the boys coached at their father's knee to believe everything they'll ever want in life can be bought. She sees the girls trained by their mother to be good Catholic wives. World War II changes everything. At the outbreak of war the Kennedys are living the high life in London, where Joseph Kennedy is the American ambassador. His reaction is to send the entire household back across the Atlantic to safety, but Nora, surprised by midlife love, chooses to stay in England and do her bit. Separated from her Kennedys by an ocean she nevertheless remains the warm, approachable sun around which the older children orbit: Joe, Jack, Rosemary, and in particular Kick, who throws the first spanner in the Kennedy works by marrying an English Protestant. Laurie Graham's poignant new novel views the Kennedys from below stairs, with the humour and candour that only an ex-nursemaid dare employ. Lead title / Laurie Graham gets behind the scenes of the infamous Kennedy family household to reveal some startling secrets and drama in this brilliant new novel. / Laurie Graham's most recent novel 'Gone with the Windsors' has sold over 29,000 copies in the UK since publication. / 'The Future Homemakers of America' has now sold over 100,000 copies in the UK alone. / Laurie Graham is a popular and well loved writer and many of her novels have been dramatised for Radio 4, she also makes fantastic reading group material.

About the Author

Laurie Graham is the author of ten novels. The Ten O'Clock Horses, was shortlisted for the Encore Award and dramatized for Radio 4, as was Perfect Meringues. Later titles are The Dress Circle, Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights, The Future Homemakers of America, The Unfortunates, Mr Starlight, and, most recently, Gone With the Windsors. Laurie is a former Daily Telegraph columnist and contributing editor to SHE magazine, and wrote the best-selling Parents' Survival Guide. In addition to her novels she writes original dramas and adaptations for BBC Radio. Born and raised in Leicester, Laurie now lives in Venice with her American husband. Related websites: www.lauriegraham.com

Reviews

Graham moves her focus from the U.K. royals she portrayed in Gone with the Windsors to America's royal family in this imaginative fictionalization of the Kennedy clan's evolution between the world wars. The story is told from the perspective of Nora Brennan, an Irish immigrant nanny who watched over the Kennedy kids beginning in 1917. Though Nora adores each child, she grows especially fond of Rosie Kennedy, whose learning disability makes her the runt of the overachieving litter. Throughout her years of service, Nora discovers that beneath Mrs. K's prim and proper exterior is a "heart as hard as the hob of hell," only outdone by Mr. K's unrelenting pressure on his sons to succeed at any cost. Meanwhile, Graham guides readers through the family scandals, political triumphs and petty squabbles that lead up to WWII, which will change the lives of the Kennedy family and their faithful nursemaid forever. Though it's billed as a "bittersweet comedy," the Kennedys are easier to pity than to laugh at, and their lives are marred by tragedies that Nora suggests Joe Kennedy brought on himself. The family gets a very sympathetic if sometimes soft-focused treatment that should find a readership among those who came of age in the era of Camelot. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'Her story has the feeling of being more alive and more revealing than any biography!with energetic pace, witty dialogue and vividly drawn characters' Guardian 'Deftly mingles comedy and sorrow, producing a serious pleasure of a novel that is both poignant and entertaining.' Penny Perrick, Sunday Times 'One of Graham's undoubted strengths is the way she seamlessly blends fact and fiction. Real people, including the cream of British aristocracy, are portrayed with as much colour and verve as the fictional characters. This is an entertaining addition to the Kennedy canon, one that goes behind the public smiles to conjure up the petty jealousies and divided loyalties that plague every family. It also gives a fictional voice to two forgotten women whose troubled lives are almost completely overshadows by the Kennedy legend.' The Herald 'This is a very entertaining, often funny book, thanks to Graham's perceptive eye and deadpan wit.' The Gloss Magazine 'Brilliant novel by Laurie Graham. Narrated by her Irish nursemaid, this is a beautifully observed novel with the humour and candour you'd expect from the author of "The Ten O'Clock Horses".' Bella '"The Importance of Being Kennedy" could just prove the perfect sun-lounger read.' Sunday Business Post 'A vivid, creative storyteller.' Judith Flanders, Times Literary Supplement

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