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Churchill’s Rebels: Jessica Mitford and Esmond Romilly

By Meredith Whitford

Jessica Mitford was “the one who got away” in her famous family.

While most the upper-crust Mitfords were drawn to fascism and admired Hitler Jessica made her home on the left of the political spectrum. So did her cousin Esmond Romilly, the nephew of Winston Churchill and a veteran of the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937, when she was 19 and he was 18, Jessica and Esmond met. With their shared ideals, they fell madly in love — and ran away together. Their families, and even the government, tried to stop them, but their love overcame all obstacles.

And yet tragedy was lurking around the corner – and with the outbreak of war Jessica would lose Esmond forever…

Churchill’s Rebels is the fascinating story of a women who grew up in a world of privilege – but who was not afraid to strike out on her own. She was a rebel – against her class and her family.

Meredith Whitford’s ground-breaking book uses previously unpublished documents and family sources to investigate a part of her life that has received little attention from the Mitford Industry. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the Mitford family — and the years leading up to and after the Second World War. It is a window on an remarkable era – and a remarkable women.

Meredith Whitford, a child of adoption herself, gives a heart-breaking insight into the psychological harm the issue of adoption can inflict. Meredith has published two successful historical novels, Treason, Missing Christina and Shakespeare’s Will. She is an editor and manuscript assessor, director of Between Us Manuscript Assessment Service. She lives in South Australia and has a BA in English, History, and Classics from the University of Adelaide, and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Flinders University.

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