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Review: Papa’s Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn

After lunch, I read aloud to the children.  It’s one of my favorite times of day, especially while we’ve been reading Papa’s Wife, an international best seller of the mid-20th century.

Papa’s Wife by Thyra Ferre Bjorn tells the story of Maria who became a maid for Pastor Pontus Franzon in Lapland.  She was thrilled to be working for a minister.  “That is almost like working for the Lord God!” she had breathed in awe.  While he preached on Sunday morning, she fell in love with him, and so, at 16, she determined to become Mrs. Franzon.  It took many years, quantities of delicious baking, and a trip to America before Maria made up her Pastor’s mind, but eventually they were married.

Based on the author’s childhood, Papa’s Wife is the story of Maria and Pontus Franzon, their love, their family, their life, and especially their faith.  Children arrived, and with them joy, noise, mischief, and many prayers.  I had to edit out parts of the childbirth scenes, but all four children (ages 10-17) enjoyed everything I read aloud.  We laughed a lot.  I almost cried.  We thought and pondered and learned.  But best of all, for an hour a day we lived with the Franzons as the children grew up, as Papa dealt with the strains of emigration, ministry, and family life, and as Mama lovingly tried to arrange everyone’s life, trusting God to solve all the problems.

This book has been a real blessing to us.  It has given us hours of family enjoyment spent in the company of godly but thoroughly human people.   What’s more, it has deepened my faith, increased my joy, and encouraged me to bake and clean more.  “You don’t have to be influenced by books,”  Miss 15 told me as I puttered around the kitchen.  True, but I want to be influenced by this one.

I highly recommend Papa’s Wife as a read aloud for any family. It’s funny, full of faith, and heartwarming for all ages.  Your library may have it, and it is also easily available second hand.  Do get it; it will enrich your life!

I was thrilled to find out about the real people behind the story in Maria’s obituary. 

This is yet another book in the in the 2012 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is also linked to Read Aloud Thursday and Saturday ReviewsFor more encouragement to be a good wife and mother Better Mom Monday, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday , Homemaking Link-Up, and Raising Homemakers

Disclosure: We have owned this book for years and I am not compensated in any way for sharing our thoughts with you.


  1. Janet says:

    This sounds like an interesting read. The idea of Maria’s single-mindedness kind of overturns some of our ideas about spontaneous and mutual romance, doesn’t it? This sounds like it really made an impact on your family.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, I found her single-mindedness rather startling, too. And to think that this is a true story!

  2. I’ll have to keep my eye out for this book. I read it years ago in my teens, but don’t remember much about it. You made me want to read it again!

  3. I am so glad you linked up to RAT! I read this book (the series? are there at least couple more about this family?) fresh out of high school, and I loved it. I’ve thought about it a lot lately–that I need to track it back down. Your review makes me want to move it up a bit higher on my list. 🙂

  4. Oh I just LOVE this book! I have a few of hers like it with the original dust covers and her autograph inside. I’ve been collecting them for a few years. I have a special memory of Papa’s Wife as that’s the book I read in the evenings when I spent the weekend at my Grandma’s house the last time I saw her before she passed away. I’m so glad you linked this up with my party this week. I’ll be featuring this post when I get the new party up this afternoon.

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

  5. I forgot to tell you there’s a “featured” button on my sidebar if you’d like one!

  6. Annie Kate says:

    Beth and Amy, you will love this book. Enjoy!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller, thank you so much for featuring me. That is very exciting!

  7. Ia says:

    Hello! I really love your review and I found it very interesting. I haven’t read it and I’m still looking for a copy in my country.If happens you have a pdf copy, I would be very much thankful. Thank you!Good Day!:)

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