Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I love historical books that merge truth with fiction and particularly those with an element of politics. This is a great novel well researched and easy to read, flowing from one event to another one in a smooth process. So if you are into Alternative History, or Political novels or even just into a great story then you should read this book. ~ Jill Walker (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A thought-provoking story that had me hooked from the beginning, weaving the politics of a very specific period in history with the personal life a young, strong, charismatic, idealistic female politician. The story explored the nuances of democracy and socialism, as well as gender and family. While the beginning seems to be historically accurate, it does become historical fiction, and I just wished I knew more about where exactly it diverges and what actually happened. That being said I definitely enjoyed and would recommend The Intrigues of Jennie Lee. ~ Nicole Smieja (Bookseller) , NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. As someone born in the UK and a degree in History, I have prior knowledge of almost all of the existing characters. Could I suggest the possibility of the index of characters at the beginning of the book for those who do not understand British politics. This is a well written and well researched novel, capturing the period, the mores of the society at a time of great change in behaviours and class distinction. ~ Carol Keogh (Educator), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A fascinating historical novel set in Britain in the 1930's, Jennie Lee, the main character, is young and female in a man's world. She is strong and clever and is caught up in political intrigue that could change the course of history. We get a glimpse of behind the scenes political life at that time and are drawn into Jennie Lee's character who is driven to get what she wants - almost at any cost. If you like historical novels, you would enjoy this book. ~ Cynthia Trotter (Reviewer), NetGalley
5 Star rating: With “Jennie Lee” Alec Rosenberg has woven a real woman ahead of her time into a true tale of British politics in the inter-war years. We are transported into a turbulent period of British and global political change and given a front row seat to a rousing coup in the British parliamentary system. We are also presented with the compelling economic and philosophical debates of the times- times not irrelevant to today’s realities. ~ Lori Leachman, Amazon
5 Star rating: "Jennie Lee" is a gripping piece of historical fiction. As someone who grew up in post-war Britain, I enjoyed Alex Rosenberg's command of historical details. But the main virtue of the book is the imaginative plot Rosenberg has woven around the facts. He offers us a fully credible picture of what might have happened to an extraordinarily talented young woman (who is also extremely attractive) as she navigated her way through the tangled politics of the pre-war years. It's hard to put down. ~ Philip S Kitcher, Amazon
5 Star rating: This is a political thriller set in Britain in the interwar years. All the people are historical, and so are the tensions and rivalries within the Labour Party for which Jennie Lee was elected as a very young woman for a Scottish constituency. But the plot gradually deviates from reality until we are living in a full-blown alternative universe in which the charismatic fascist Oswald Mosley gets into power. How does Jenny Lee save the day? Who will she be in bed with next? This book is a lot of fun! ~ Ken Binmore, Amazon
4 Star rating: ..........Author Alex Rosenberg recreates the epoch well, showing the hope Labour Party supporters and MPs had regarding social improvements, and the devastating ripple effects of the of 1929 Wall Street Crash. The ‘intrigues’ aspect of the story revolve around Jennie Lee’s romantic liaisons and political conniving at Westminster. The major intrigue, however, is her connection to the infamous Sir Oswald Mosely, who became the leader of the British Union of Fascists........., if you are interested in this critical period in British social history this is a good story. Rosenberg's not-impossible twist - putting Oswald Mosely and his Fascist support centre stage - could have happened. From this point on 'The Intrigues of Jennie Lee' becomes an enjoyable, exciting thriller... ~ JG Harlond, Goodreads
5 Star rating: Jennie Lee was a member of the British parliament elected at the age of 24 as a Labour MP, five years too young even to vote for herself. The novel starts with the real person at its base, "The Intrigues of Jennie Lee" then takes the reader along with Jennie through personal and political crises turning real events and characters into murder mysteries that change the course of European history. I thoroughly enjoyed the often unexpected plot twists and the reimagining of some of the most well-known moments in British and World history. The novel makes the reader consider "what if" when faced with these possible alternatives. The characters are well developed and believable even when taken out of their familiar place in history. It's also fascinating how closely aligned many of them and the situations presented are to the modern political era. Certainly for the Labour Party in the UK and the Britsh Parliament generally there are parallels to the increase in female MP's and increasingly younger generations taking their seats. I'd definitely recommend "The Intrigues of Jennie Lee" as a breath of fresh air in the social and political historical fiction genre.
~ Tracy, Goodreads
The 'Intrigues of Jennie Lee' is alternative history novel about a well-known, pioneering British Labour Party MP during the 1920s and early thirties. Jennie Lee, a dynamic, well-educated young Scot, was elected to Parliament before she was of voting age (at that time) and went on to become a significant public figure championing the democratisation of the Arts and improved access to education for the working class. I knew all this before I started this novel so I was looking forward to reading a behind the scenes account of her life by an academic historian.
Author Alex Rosenberg recreates the epoch well, showing the hope Labour Party supporters and MPs had regarding social improvements, and the devastating ripple effects of the of 1929 Wall Street Crash. The ‘intrigues’ aspect of the story revolve around Jennie Lee’s romantic liaisons and political conniving at Westminster. The major intrigue, however, is her connection to the infamous Sir Oswald Mosely, who became the leader of the British Union of Fascists.
The book rests on documented history, but Mr Rosenberg takes the story into the fictional dimension from the opening chapter, where readers witness a dubious and for me highly unlikely scene between Ramsay MacDonald, urbane Leader of the Labour Party, and Jennie’s mother, a miner’s wife, which results in Jennie’s conception. In a subsequent early chapter he presents a friendship between the future Queen of England, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and our rising eponymous socialist heroine - who is from a mining community. Knowing too much, perhaps, about the period, I found it impossible to suspend disbelief, although I’m willing to accept that strange coincidences and surprising friendships do occur in real life.
Having said that, if you are interested in this critical period in British social history this is a good story. Rosenberg's not-impossible twist - putting Oswald Mosely and his Fascist support centre stage - could have happened. From this point on 'The Intrigues of Jennie Lee' becomes an enjoyable, exciting thriller. ~ Jane Harlond Arredondo (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. ...............I love historical books that merge truth with fiction. Certainly, those books that make you ask yourself “what if?” this or that happened differently, what would have been the immediate effects and what would it mean on a longer plane? The former can be scientifically calculated, but for the latter, you must not only start out with a whole new premise but also count various unknown variables into the equation.
I must admit that I’ve done quite a lot of looking up while reading this book. Although the main characters were familiar, I’m not all that well versed in British interbellum period politics. Actually, it was a delight to get to know those colourful people that populate the historical reality and see what the author has done with those facts in an alternate universe. It’s not as if you won’t enjoy the book if you don’t know those things, but for me, it brought an extra enjoyment that I did a bit of reading about the period and the people.
The differences between life in the early Soviet Union, America and Britain are clearly described and the inequality that exists in each model gives food for thought. If not for the war, how would each society have evolved? The desperation in Russia, the racial segregation and blatant racism in the USA as the stark difference between the aristocracy and the working/unemployed masses in Britain all contained a basic injustice that could have been the feeding ground for a revolution.
This is an amazing historical political thriller of high quality that is written in an entertaining style. Politics are constantly mentioned but not in a boring or pedantic way. After all, it’s important to know who those people are and what they stand for. Jenny Lee is a charming and engaging character and was so in real life. This book possesses every quality to be made into a period movie or TV-series. If they do, I’ll certainly watch.. ~ Mick Dubois (Media), NetGalley
..........While definitely a work of fiction, “The Intrigues of Jennie Lee” captures the politics of the day and offers a glimpse of a woman’s efforts to navigate the political waters at a time in history when a woman elected to public office was more of a rarity than it is today. ~ Dee Arr (Reviewer) , NetGalley
A historical tale that reimagines European politics between the world wars from the perspective of a new, young member of Parliament.
...Jennie Lee is only 24 years old when she’s elected to Parliament in 1929 as a member of the Labour Party, but her age belies her impressive political intellect. She’s fierce in her convictions and unafraid to speak her mind, particularly regarding her socialist political leanings. Yet, with fascism on the rise, Jennie is discomfited by how socialist ideals are being warped to aid tyrannical political parties. When her friend, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, the Duchess of York, clandestinely reveals documents that tie the British government to Benito Mussolini and men who financially back Adolf Hitler, Jennie realizes that this knowledge gives her the power to change the course of history. Rosenberg, the author of Autumn in Oxford (2016), expertly weaves Jennie’s tenacity in the political sphere with her romantic life over the course of the novel. Her outspokenness and attractiveness lead to many dalliances with colleagues, and the romantic subplots are a welcome addition to the story, alleviating any potential stuffiness from the government-heavy plotline. Jennie’s relationship with Member of Parliament Frank Wise, especially, contributes to the development of her character and highlights more than just her political fervor. Additionally, Rosenberg’s prose is expressively descriptive and direct, making the story accessible to readers who may not very familiar with the inner workings of Parliament. Many of Rosenberg’s characters are based on real people, which will be a bonus for fans of political history. The story does run a bit long and has moments in which the action seems slower. On the whole, however, Rosenberg provides a history of the interwar years that’s gripping enough that readers will forgive these trespasses.
An often captivating tale of one politician’s experience during the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe.
~ KIrkus Reviews, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alex-rosenberg/the-intrigues-of-jenny-lee/
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. For an historical political novel this is a remarkable story and I found myself reluctant to put it down. It is full of historical and political information, but also romance and intrigue. I highly recommend this book for the authors distinct ability to create an interesting novel out of what can be a dull subject. Who would suspect such infidelity in members of parliament in such times! ~ Margaret Wilkins (Reviewer), NetGalley
An intriguing picture of British political procedures and the people who drove them in the early 1900's. True to life figures have been set in a fictional story that still manages to be a very good story of the time. Jennie Lee became a member of Parliament before she could legally vote. Insuring her voice was heard as a representative of all women, she lived a fascinating life. Many readers will recognize characters in this book as this era in Britain has been well documented. I found the book well written and could easily read another by this author. ~ Denice Langley (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A clever and fascinating blend of fiction with historical fact, giving interesting insights into an era of challenge and change, with a cast of characters from political life and some daring suggestions and plot twists. Well worth a read, an intriguing story woven around people, places and events in a dramatic time in history. ~ Christine Miller (Media), NetGalley
The Intrigues of Jennie Lee by Alex Rosenberg is an intriguing alternative historical fiction, set in the turbulent period between the two World Wars. It follows the story of Jennie Lee, a young Scottish woman elected to Parliament as a Labour MP in 1929. It is a difficult time, the Great Depression is being felt around the globe and Fascism is rearing it's head on continental Europe. The author has re- imagined history to create a Britain where Oswald Mosely becomes Prime Minister and is involved in an intrigue which includes not just Jennie but also prominent figures like Elizabeth Bowes Lyons , Duchess of York and future Queen Mother, and former Prime Minister Lloyd George. As well as a political thriller, the author has created a compelling character in his version of Jennie , she is principled, determined and unwilling to accept the limitations society placed on her sex. I was completely hooked by her story with its many twists and turns . Overall a clever and excellently crafted work of fiction that puts a new spin on the political thriller. ~ Annette Jordan (Reviewer), NetGalley
The Intrigues of Jennie Lee written by Alex Rosenberg is a historical fiction novel revolving around the real political personalities and events in Britain, circa 1930.
The story mainly focuses on the young, dynamic, and bold Jennie Lee, who was elected a member of parliament at just 24 years of age and played very vital roles in the political scene of the country, both as an MP and her own person. The story unveils political events that occurred in history but through the lenses of fiction. It elaborates on the repercussions of politicians’ decisions and happenings in the personal lives of those that affected and shaped real events in history. The narrative also reveals hidden agendas, players and puppeteers, betrayals, and murders, which makes it quite an interesting read, even for those who may not be keen on politics.
For a historical fiction loaded heavily with party politics and otherwise, it’s gripping from the get-go and shows much promise from the very start. The writing is very descriptive and reminiscent of 1930s Britain, which really helps churn the wheels of imagination. The narrative flows smoothly from one event to another, gradually walking through all the distinct and well-known political happenings of the time while tying them seamlessly with the fictional personal lives of all the personalities involved. It also highlights the conduct and exploits of the political class of the time and what it was like for Jennie Lee to find her place amongst the predominantly male members of the parliament.
The character of Jennifer Lee is written in a very compelling way. Her bold, brave, and straightforward personality really set her up to take the center stage of the story. The traits of her personality—some modern and bold even for today’s Britain—makes her very likable and a very intriguing character. She is the kind of character you want to relate to and vouch for: for her intellect, self-awareness, bold mannerisms, bravery, and the urge to right the wrongs. Jennie’s strong front against hidden agendas and master manipulators and the subsequent role she played in the political scene of Britain back then is a treat to read while also calling attention to why things turned out the way they did.
Focusing mainly on the dealings with the political parties of the time with each other—the fight to rise to power, making and breaking of alliances, royal interference, fascism, and treachery—this is undoubtedly a very compelling read, especially to readers with a taste for politics and its duplicitous games. The book also does not shy away from describing the indulgence of most politicians in dalliances and illegitimate relations and their mostly in-vain attempts to prevent the rumors. The personal events of the characters involved definitely add a flavor to the story and are perfectly timed reprieves for the sometimes dry and dense politics of the time, especially for the reader who may not be aware of that particular part of the history.
Despite the pace of the narrative being affected by the heavy politics at times, this was an extremely enjoyable and especially informative read. In addition, the book appeared to be professionally edited. I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This novel is best suited for a mature audience and fans of the genre, more so for those interested in the history and political climate of 1930s Britain. ~ On Line Book Club, https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142049
The Intrigues of Jennie Lee: A Novel
by Alex Rosenberg
Top Hat Books
book review by Joe Kilgore
"She needed to lament, to weep, to howl. It felt to her that, somehow, she had killed her lover, her partner, the person she cared for most in the world."
Exceptional storytelling is ever-present in this continuously involving tale of historical fiction. Filled with famous characters such as Lady Astor, Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, Walter Reuther, and more, the novel sweeps readers into a world of hidden agendas, secret betrayals, public posturing, and private assignations that made up British politics in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
This is first and foremost the story of Jennie Lee, a young woman in Parliament dedicated to helping poverty-stricken and long-suffering constituents. To do so, she has to match wits with powerful politicians and master manipulators more concerned with staying in charge than changing things for the better. Lee is a heroine who feels like today’s woman in yesterday’s times. She defies convention in both her public and private life, refusing to let society or suitors dictate how she conducts herself. When revelations and loyalties challenge her strength and resolve, she repudiates the idea of doing what’s convenient for doing what’s right. But she is mightily tested when she’s pulled into schemes that threaten to overwhelm her.
Rosenberg is an excellent writer who captures the tenor of the times. He fills his tale with particularly interesting political duels that equal the internal battles going on within his protagonist. His prose is potent, and his dialogue never feels too contemporary for the period. Some may take exception to the actual changing of certain events. But just as film director Quentin Tarantino sometimes sacrifices historical accuracy for dramatic impact, Rosenberg employs vividly exciting action when opting for fiction over fact. That’s one of the things that makes novels such as this one a treat to read.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review ~ US Review of Books, https://www.theusreview.com
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars..........Alex Rosenberg has written a great political novel better, in my opinion, than Michael Dobbs’ House of Cards...........This is an excellent book well researched and easy to read, flowing smoothly from one event to another. ~ Mark Taylor (Reviewer), NetGalley
The Intrigues of Jennie Lee, is a morally complex story set in the Britain of the late 1920s and 30s. With intricately drawn characters and masterful plotting, political conspiracy and conflict, it keeps the reader captivated throughout. That the story still gets so much of the history right makes it all the more gripping. What really won me over was the portrait of Jennie Lee - articulate, fiery, a woman worth celebrating.
Jennie struggles with politics, romantic life, and her heritage, as the plot’s momentum increases relentlessly. Beautifully rendered, its many layers expertly woven together, this is a thrilling read that makes one ponder our own political climate. Alex Rosenberg has delivered an important piece of history in a page-turning novel. ~ Sylvia True, author of The Wednesday Group
The Intrigues of Jennie Lee is marvellous in so many ways… An excellent take on the twisted, dangerous politics of 1930s Britain and a rattling good read. ~ C.J. Sansom, author of Dominion and the Shardlake mysteries
In this well researched and well imagined story that makes the 1930s in the U.K., the Soviet Union and the U.S. come alive, Alex Rosenberg has crafted a riveting, fast paced page turner that, among others, fans of the political thrillers of Jefferey Archer, Kristin Hannah, Frederick Forsyth and James Patterson will love. ~ Norman G. Gautreau, prize-winning author of Sea Room and The Light from the Dark Side of the Moon