Hugo Vickers

The Ambassador’s Daughter

Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK’s Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth

By Paula Byrne

William Collins 342pp £20 order from our bookshop

It is almost impossible to fathom the minds of publishers. Why another book on Kick Kennedy? In 1984 Alastair Forbes, he of the long sentences, reviewed a biography of her by Lynne McTaggart and suggested that Kick merited no more than perhaps a long article. Since then, she has featured prominently in Laurence Leamer’s The Kennedy Women and Amanda Smith’s Hostage to Fortune. Paula Byrne’s book arrived for review under strict embargo, but simultaneously Barbara Leaming has published her own life of Kick Kennedy (based on extensive interviews, possibly undertaken when researching other Kennedy books). Clearly in this dismal time for Establishment biographies, linking the Kennedy name to the dukes of Devonshire and the wider Cavendish family appeals to publishers seeking to capitalise on the Downton Abbey effect. Throw in some scandal and tragedy, and off you go.

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