The Importance of Being Kennedy

Laurie Graham

A brilliant new novel by Laurie Graham set in wartime London, which follows Kick Kennedy, sister of future US President JFK, as she takes London society by storm.

Nora Brennan is a country girl from Westmeath. When she lands herself a position as nursery maid to a family in Brookline, Massachusetts, she little thinks it will place her at the heart of American history. But it’s the Kennedy family. In 1917 Joseph Kennedy is on his way to his first million and he has plans to found a dynasty and ensure that his baby son, Joe Junior, will be the first Catholic President of the United States.

As nursemaid to all nine Kennedy children, Nora witnesses every moment, public and private. She sees the boys coached at their father’s knee to believe everything they’ll ever want in life can be bought. She sees the girls trained by their mother to be good Catholic wives. World War II changes everything.

At the outbreak of war the Kennedys are living the high life in London, where Joseph Kennedy is the American ambassador. His reaction is to send the entire household back across the Atlantic to safety, but Nora, surprised by midlife love, chooses to stay in England and do her bit. Separated from her Kennedys by an ocean she nevertheless remains the warm, approachable sun around which the older children orbit: Joe, Jack, Rosemary, and in particular Kick, who throws the first spanner in the Kennedy works by marrying an English Protestant.

Laurie Graham’s poignant new novel views the Kennedys from below stairs, with the humour and candour that only an ex-nursemaid dare employ.

Reviews of The Importance of Being Kennedy

    • ‘Deftly mingles comedy and sorrow, producing a serious pleasure of a novel that is both poignant and entertaining.’ Penny Perrick, Sunday Times
    • ‘This is a very entertaining, often funny book, thanks to Graham’s perceptive eye and deadpan wit.’ The Gloss Magazine
    • ‘Brilliant novel by Laurie Graham. Narrated by her Irish nursemaid, this is a beautifully observed novel with the humour and candour you’d expect from the author of “The Ten O’Clock Horses”.’ Bella
    • ‘One of Graham’s undoubted strengths is the way she seamlessly blends fact and fiction. Real people, including the cream of British aristocracy, are portrayed with as much colour and verve as the fictional characters. This is an entertaining addition to the Kennedy canon, one that goes behind the public smiles to conjure up the petty jealousies and divided loyalties that plague every family. It also gives a fictional voice to two forgotten women whose troubled lives are almost completely overshadows by the Kennedy legend.’ The Herald
    • ‘”The Importance of Being Kennedy” could just prove the perfect sun-lounger read.’ Sunday Business Post