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

  • By: Paula Byrne
  • Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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

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

By: Paula Byrne
Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
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Summary

The remarkable life of the vivacious, clever - and forgotten - Kennedy sister who charmed the English aristocracy and was almost erased from her family history.

When Kathleen Kennedy sailed to England after her father had been appointed ambassador to Great Britain in 1938, her wit, aloofness and sexual charisma at once became the source of endless fascination for the British public.

Kick became the star of the family, and the press loved her, London magazine Queen headlining her as 'America's Most Important Debutante'. Her meeting at a summer garden party with a shy, tall, handsome man called Billy who, it transpired, was the heir to the Duke of Devonshire and Chatsworth, the most eligible bachelor in England, became first an intrigue and soon a scandal for the Kennedys. She was Catholic and he an Anglican. But Kick had fallen in love with Billy - and with England.

In 1944 they were married. In September Billy was killed in combat with the British army. Widowed as Lady Hartington, Kathleen Kennedy remained in England after the loss of her husband until her own tragic death.

In Kick, Paul Byrne tells the story of a woman who was more than simply the second sister of Jack, Bobby and Ted: a feisty and unique product of two countries, she was the force of personality the Kennedys rarely mentioned, a life long hidden from the legendary family history.

©2016 Paula Byrne (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A perceptive and energetic guide.... Bold, fast-moving and accessible." ( Daily Telegraph)
"Engaging, compelling, a delightful and engrossing book." ( Sunday Times)
"Brilliantly illuminating...riveting." (Simon Callow, Guardian)
"The portrait of that emerges is sparklingly multi-faceted, catching the light in intriguing ways." ( Mail on Sunday)

What listeners say about Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK's Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • kk
  • 23-07-16

Irritating narration

This is an interesting and revealing story but it's repetitive and badly edited; you hear the same chunk repeated within the same chapter and the author also pads it out a lot. The narration is flat but the most irritating thing is the narrator's inconsistency with the same word and incorrect pronunciation of common phrases and names. One that sticks out is née (born) which she pronounces like knee, but there are many other errors that an editor should have corrected. Was the editor asleep?

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Would you listen to Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK's Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth again? Why?

Yes. It's made me curious about the Kennedy family and Chatsworth so would return to it after reading more about them.

What did you like best about this story?

The perfect mix of information and nostalgia. A sensitive account.

What about Antonia Beamish’s performance did you like?

Brilliant. Right pace, tone and got the various accents spot on in my opinion.

Any additional comments?

My favourite biography to date. Will be reading/listening to more from Paula Byrne.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sensitive portrait

The author has drawn a sensitive portrait of the subject. The biography is well written. Sadly it is ruined by the narrator whose voice characterisations and continuous mis-pronunciations of commonplace words, first names, stately home names, aristocratic family names and the name of type of sailing ship, all grate. Why narrators don't research their subject before recording, I don't know. Sadly, not a thing I can listen to a second time.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book, but narrator mispronounces names!

Unfortunately can't give five stars due to the narrator mispronouncing many names... Cliveden house, is pronounced Clivden not Clive-den!