Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Book: Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
Genre: Historical fiction/romance
Rating: ★★★★☆
For: book club
From: the library

We've been trying to read this book for book club forever, or nearly. Once I had it reserved, but there was a glitch and somehow we didn't end up with it. So finally, this past month, it worked out and we got our hands on the book club set and read this popular, well-loved book.

I hadn't even heard of it until we were choosing it for book club. But once I began reading it and talked around, I DID find out that it's quite popular and well-loved. So where was I when everyone else was reading it at school or in their teens?

While I liked this book a lot, I think I would have liked it even more as a teenager. Not sure why exactly. I just think I would have been very much caught up in the adventure and romance, whereas now, perhaps I've read too much at this point and the book felt lacking in parts. I just needed MORE!

So we have this very young girl who leaves her family to go stay with her uncle in Canada. Shortly after arriving, she meets this hunk of a guy, 11 years older than her (she's 16, he's 27) and bam they up and get married! The romance here was quaint and funny and sweet, but oh so very fast!

He's a Canadian Mountie (policeman) and the year is 1907. So he takes her off with him to wherever he's been assigned, which is very very north, and very very cold, and very very remote. And there's lots of Indians! So let the adventures begin!

I can't even imagine... first... being 16 and living this story. And second being the mom of a 16 year old and having no idea what's happening with your kid. But... it was a different day and time, I suppose. Which only means that they didn't have much choice.

Anyway, stuff happens. Some good, some bad. Some really very bad. Your heart breaks for this girl. At one point, it even appears that she gives up. But no worries, because we all know that this book wouldn't be well-loved and popular if THAT was how it ended!

Bottom line: Sweet story, with a touch of romance and a lot of western frontier adventure.

Some thoughts discussed at book club:
  • What a rough life! Wow! We could never do it.
  • Is this a romance or a survival story? Marketed as romance, but there was very little of that... and more of the adventure and survival bits.
  • Lots of funny moments too though.
  • We could never live with out the medical care that they had to do without. It's hard to imagine a world and life without that luxury we often take for granted.
  • Much discussion about vaccinations and are they good or bad? What diseases (such as diptheria which plays a big role in this book) have we truly wiped out? And which ones are actually making a come back? Whopping cough seems to be at least.
  • Is this book YA? Seems to be actually, but marketed as adult I think. Interesting. Though it was published in 1947 and then there was no such thing really as a YA/ Teen market. 
  • Reminded us of These Is My Words and there was something else, but now I forgot! 
Other Reviews:

If you like a sweet romance and a historical book that will make you laugh and cry, then this is a great book for you. From Good Clean Reads

A book that almost anyone of any age could enjoy--if historical romance is their genre of choice. From Becky's Book Reviews

Mrs. Mike is no simple love story – nature is cruel, and Kathy and Mike suffer many losses at the hands of a harsh climate and people. From The Brazen Bookworm

How much of it is actually true has been debated. Regardless, it's a delightful adventure. From 2 Kids and Tired Books


  1. My mom introduced me to this book when I was 12. She also handed me Tisha, by Robert Specht. I loved both of the books and read them multiple times during my teenage years. Your comment about probably liking it better as a teenager makes me want to go back and reread both of them again. I wonder if they will still have is much magic now that I'm married as they did when I was a swoony teen.

  2. I felt very much the same about this book. I was particularly disappointed that the romance was so short and breezed over. But I did like it. It was a book I'm glad we read as a book club, because I hadn't heard of it before and probably would not have read it otherwise.

  3. This was one of those books that my junior high English teach recommended to me and that I absolutely loved. I re-read it as an adult and found it somewhat lacking, as you mentioned, but it lost none of its charm. It was what decided me on not wanting to go camping too. I am just not that rugged!

  4. I read it as a teen and loved it, but can't make myself reread it as an adult.

  5. I have heard of this book, but not sure it is for me. Maybe one day I will try it.



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