Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nancy Freedman, Co-Author of Mrs. Mike, Dies at 90

Nancy Freedman, who cowrote one of my favorite novels, MRS. MIKE, has passed away. MRS. MIKE was cowritten with Nancy's husband, Benedict.

The Freedmans married in 1941, at a time when Mrs. Freedman was given just three months to live due to a bout with rheumatic fever. Mrs. Freedman fooled the doctors and lived to age 90.

MRS. MIKE was published in 1947 and remains in print today. I discovered it in my junior high school's library and have vivid memories of reading it for the first time -- after starting it at school I came home, sat down in a rocker, and didn't move again until I'd finished it hours later.

Today my own copy of MRS. MIKE sits on a shelf which holds many of my favorite books, including Loula Grace Erdman's THE EDGE OF TIME, Gladys Hasty Carroll's AS THE EARTH TURNS, Dodie Smith's I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, Margaret Sutton's JEMIMA: DAUGHTER OF DANIEL BOONE, plus my Elswyth Thane and Louisa May Alcott collections. (I have an entire separate shelf for all my Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane books...)

A fine -- if highly abridged -- film version of MRS. MIKE was released in 1949 starring Dick Powell and Evelyn Keyes.

Decades later the Freedmans wrote two sequels, THE SEARCH FOR JOYFUL (2002) and KATHY LITTLE BIRD (2004). Reviews for THE SEARCH FOR JOYFUL were weak and I have never read the sequels, preferring to keep my strong positive memories of MRS. MIKE untouched by the later books.

Jennifer Greene, an author I enjoy, wrote a good review of MRS. MIKE a few years ago, saying that the book is "in my sacred keeper pile," one of three books she keeps on her desk for inspiration. It's a marvelous book which I highly recommend.

I'm so grateful that Mrs. Freedman, like her heroine Katherine Mary Flannigan, was stronger than she looked and that she lived to give the world such a marvelous book, as well as enjoy a very long, productive marriage which included children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

3 Comments:

Blogger CLM said...

I don't remember ever reading it - must add it to my list!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I hope you'll like it, Constance! As I wrote here, it's a very special book to me.

Best wishes,
Laura

10:27 PM  
Blogger Mindy said...

Thank you. My friends and I have recently been talking about one of our all time favorite books as children, Mrs. Mike. It's in my pile of books by my bed to reread. Thank you for the update on what happened to Nancy Freedman. I hope she had a joyful life!

9:55 PM  

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