Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy was the incandescent life-force of the fabled Kennedy family, her father’s acknowledged “favorite of all the children” and her brother Jack’s “psychological twin.” She was the Kennedy of Kennedys, sure of her privilege, magnetically charming and somehow not quite like anyone else on whatever stage she happened to grace.
The daughter of the American ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Kick swept into Britain’s aristocracy like a fresh wind on a sweltering summer day. In a decaying world where everything was based on stultifying sameness and similarity, she was gloriously, exhilaratingly different. Kick was the girl whom all the boys fell in love with, the girl who remained painfully out of reach for most of them.
To Kick, everything about this life was fun and amusing—until suddenly it was not. For this is also a story of how a girl like Kick, a girl who had everything, a girl who seemed made for happiness, confronted crushing sadness. Willing to pay the price for choosing the love she wanted, she would have to face the consequences of forsaking much that was dear to her.
Bestselling and award-winning biographer Barbara Leaming draws on her unique access to firsthand accounts, extensive conversations with many of the key players, and previously-unseen sources to transport us to another world, one of immense wealth, arcane rituals and rules, glamour and tragedy, that has now disappeared forever. It was a world of dukes and duchesses, of grand houses, of country house weekends, and of wild rich boys. But it was also a world of blood and war, and of immeasurable loss.
It was a time of complete upheaval, as reflected in the life of this most unlikely and unforgettable central character. Kick Kennedy reveals her story, that of a young girl learning about love, sex, and death—and doing it all at warp speed as the world races toward war and then reels in the war’s chaotic aftermath. This is the coming-of-age story of the female star of the Kennedy family, and ultimately a tragic, romantic story that will break your heart.
Kennedy biographer Leaming (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis) is unlikely to persuade readers who aren't already Kennedy completists that their time is well spent in reading about the last decade of the short life of Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (1920 1948). Kennedy's childhood is largely skipped over, with Leaming presenting the 18-year-old daughter of the new U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain in 1938 as she's introduced to the British aristocracy. The British aristocratic lifestyle waned during the interwar period and the "Little American Girl" became for them a symbol of their "vanished world." The book traces Kennedy's relationship with various scions of the nobility in detail, building up to her growing attachment to William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington. Their romance distresses her Catholic parents, who can't countenance their daughter marrying a Protestant. Kennedy marries anyway, in 1944, but Hartington is killed in battle within a few months. Kennedy's herself is killed in a plane crash in 1948 along with her married lover, Peter Fitzwilliam. Despite Leaming's extensive interviews with the surviving members of Kennedy's "aristocratic cousinhood," she fails to make the case that such attention to Kennedy's life is warranted; many will reach the last page wondering what was so special about Kennedy, apart from her last name.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I was so disappointed in this book. The author made Kick seem like a shallow, money and status driven women. The story was flat in its delivery and made no one like able. The price was too high for such a trash book.