In Mrs. Mike, Benedict and Nancy Freedman created a story in which humor and heroism struggle against tragedy and terror. The good wins, but the price is heavy.
In 1907, 16-year-old Katherine Mary O’Fallon leaves Boston for Calgary, Canada promising her mother she would “dress warm and keep dry and not go out into the night where there were bears.”
She’s scarcely off the train before Michael Flannigan of the Canadian Mounted Police sweeps her off her feet and into the Northwest Territory where bears are just one of the dangers.
Kathy adapts too readily to wilderness life to be entirely believable, but she is such a sweetheart readers will chalk it up to love and determination. Mike is also larger than life, but he’s not a paragon. We can forgive some exaggeration since Kathy tells the story and she’s biased in Mike’s favor.
The Northwest attacks Kathy and Mike where they are most vulnerable — through their children — and makes them question their commitment to each other.
Mrs. Mike speaks eloquently of the need to maintain a sense of perspective: Parents whose children have burned to death don’t fret over burned toast.
And Mrs. Mike is a charming teacher.
Mrs. Mike by Benedict & Nancy Freedman
Coward-McCann, 1947; 312 p.
© 2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni