A couple of weeks ago I was in a bookstore killing time and it also happened to be my birthday. I was walking down the fiction aisle checking to see how much The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (Finca Vigía edition) cost when the name Benedict Freedman caught my eye in the F’s. He and his wife, Nancy, wrote a fictionalized account of the true story of Katherine Mary Flannigan. The book was entitled Mrs. Mike and was introduced to me by my mom when I was 11 or 12 years old. I can still visualize the beat up paperback that I read and reread many times.
Not too long ago, there was an article about the Freedmans in O, The Oprah Magazine that I skimmed and later read in detail. I was surprised that the Freedmans were still alive as Mrs. Mike was published in 1947! Apparently, they have written two more novels continuing the story of Kathy Flannigan’s adopted daughter and granddaughter (along with many other books). The first of these was the book I happened to spot at the bookstore and is entitled The Search for Joyful. Written 62 years after Mrs. Mike, I was thrilled to revisit the characters. The story of the Flannigan’s adopted Indian daughter and her experiences as a nurse during World War II in Montreal was the perfect book for me to find on my birthday.