Sarah Jennings--who married the Churchill who became the Duke of Marlborough who built Blenheim against her wishes--lived from 1660 to 1774. Unspoiled by formal education and unblemished by any Freudian insights, she indefatigably committed to letters, daybooks and self-Justifying memoirs a thoroughly fascinating record of an energetic, contentious girl-into-woman-into-beldame. Green lets her speak for herself, providing a skeleton commentary for the long and marvelously mis-spelled passages from the Duchess. Sarah started at Court at fourteen and her long, terribly intense relationship with Queen Anne was not terminated until their middle age. It ended in an explosion of petty Jealousies and recriminations that left the dismally dull Queen to increasingly second-rate courtiers, while Sarah, who had apparently never returned the complex and undoubtedly wearisome devotion of her sovereign, resorted to spite, unbecoming rumor and ill-humor. This characterized her latter days and forecast her relations within the large family of grandchildren she raised. It's the book to go after Kronenberger's Marlborough's Duchess (1958). The Duke is just an off-stage presence here and, after you get used to the archaic usage and highly original spelling, the doughty old girl gets a grip on you.