This is a fascinating story of a lady who was born in Virginia and who became the first woman MP in England. Her parents were very affected by the American Civil War and she was born into poverty, although from a well established family. Eventually, her father had a change in fortune, but sadly for Nancy their improved status and wealth did not change his ideas on female education. He did not approve of bookworms or too much education for women, which she always resented. Limited in what she could achieve as a young woman, Nancy embarked on a disastrous first marriage. However, she later made a much more successful marriage with the supportive and wealthy Waldorf Astor, who accepted her son and with whom she made a new life in England.
Indeed, it was a life at the very centre of the current events of the day - with Waldorf embarked on a political career and Nancy as a prominent hostess. This book looks at the ups and downs of Nancy's career in politics - her success as the only woman MP, her visit to Russia and meeting with Stalin, the furore caused by the 'Cliveden Set' and, of course, her personal life. Nancy Astor was a woman who knew her own mind, and who spoke it forcefully. Sometimes she upset othes with her strong views, but she was always loyal to her beliefs and, despite being criticised for advocating appeasement before the Second World War, she worked tirelessly for the people of her constituency during the war years. This is a very interesting biography, with Nancy Astor involved in politics during a time of great upheaval socially and politically, which I greatly enjoyed.