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Papa's Wife (The Franzons, #1)
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Papa's Wife (The Franzons #1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  589 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
This novel follows the lives of a conservative, Swedish minister, Pontus Franzon, and his pretty young wife, Maria, through their years in a parsonage in Lapland, their eight children, and their journey to a new life in America.
Mass Market Paperback, 310 pages
Published 1973 by Bantam (first published 1955)
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Community Reviews

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Not for me.

I have no idea what book I was thinking of when I ordered this, but I somehow imagined both plot and prose as something completely different, perhaps a sort of Scandinavian Elizabeth Bowen.

Instead it's a bit like a slightly more grown-up Cheaper by the Dozen. That's the closest parallel I can think of at the moment, anyway. Many people, I know, adore that book. I did not. Nor did I care for this one.

Like Cheaper, this is a slightly fictionalized but mostly true story of a family. If
Jul 20, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite books. I tend to like memoirs in general and this is a lightly fictionalized version of the author's experiences growing up in a large Pastor's family in Sweden and immigrating to the United States in her teens.

Although the author is the oldest daughter, Button, in the story, she tells it from the point of view of her parents. It is a charming, early 20th century story of an old bachelor Pastor in Northern Sweden who is beguiled into marriage with a much young
Kathleen Eagle
Sep 09, 2012 Kathleen Eagle rated it it was amazing
I met Thyra Bjorn when I was in high school in the mid 1960's. She spoke to my church youth group. I was enthralled, and I know that experience stuck with me, inspiring me to write. I loved PAPA'S WIFE when I read it as a teenager, but when I re-read it as a young mother it inspired me even more. One of the scenes I still think about often: late at night as Mama polishes the children's shoes she thinks about each child--and that child only--with each pair. Then she arranges them in a neat row, ...more
Nov 24, 2010 Shirley rated it it was amazing
Papa's Wife made me feel as though I were snuggling down into a huge overstuffed chair with a thick and warm comforter. I felt warm and safe whenever I opened the pages. It brought back the same feelings that I got while reading books as a kid.

The book was first published in 1955. It was checked out many times after our library acquired it in 1973. It hasn't been read much in recent years. I'm hoping that by displaying it in a prominent place and by recommending it that I'm able to get it into c
Aug 31, 2015 Schuyler rated it it was amazing
There are sweet orphan stories. Epic coming-of-age stories. Fantasy stories.

A simple, sweet family story can be hard to find.

This is a beautiful story of how one couple married, raised babies, and preached the Word. We need more of these.
Dec 25, 2009 Alicia rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alicia by: Michelle W.
This sweet story of a Swedish family of 10 that immigrated to America reminded me of the books Cheaper by the Dozen and The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Very fun read.

Here are 2 quotes found near the end of the book:

"Life was made up of joy and sorrow -- balanced measures of each -- so that you appreciated the joy more because of the dark hours. Like dark strands woven with threads of gold in a fine tapestry, but to which, at the time of weaving, you were too close to understand its values
Mar 07, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
This is a sweet and humorous book about a minister's family that moves from Sweden to America. It's somewhat old-fashioned, but a great read. The author indicates that this book is a semi-fictional autobiography of her family.

I love Maria Franzon's character - loving, energetic, and persuasive. I know that part may be fictional, but I aspire to have that kind of optimistic attitude with my own family.

This book made me very hungry. Maria is always making coffee bread, plättar, kanelbulle, and köt
Jul 04, 2014 Trace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-booklist
LOVED it. My favorite book of 2014 so far. Mama Franzon is such a wonderful inspiration and mentor.
Kiera Beddes
Genre: sticking to your roots, Scandinavian immigration, big family life
Summary: Maria is a determined woman who wants to marry Pontus Franzon, the minister of the little church in Northern Sweden. Maria gets her way and becomes Papa's wife, along with 8 children. This is the trials and triumphs as the Franzon's grow up, move to America and start their own families.
Response: This book is really adorable. I had a bit of a time trying to get into it. Mama's (Maria) character was really off-putting
May 25, 2009 Celestia rated it it was amazing
My sisters had raved about this book for years so I finally surrendered and read it. It is another one of those "feel good" classics like Mama's Bank Account, a cheery book to read when one is depressed, discouraged, frustrated, sick, bored, and in need of escape. Yet it is not mind candy. It tells of a family's deep faith in God and wholesome family life in Sweden and then America. Now I am reading the sequel. It's one of those books you just don't want to end. My sister claims it is her ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago and remember the warm cuddly feeling it brought. Button (nickname of author) grew up the oldest daughter in a large pastors family in Sweden. The memoir is just about their lives, never a dull moment. If you liked Cheaper By The Dozen or Life With Father you will enjoy this darling book.
Amy Edwards
Aug 16, 2016 Amy Edwards rated it really liked it
I loved this book when I read it as a teen. It was on the bookshelf at a house where I was babysitting. So nice that the parents were out late...
Nov 17, 2016 Connie rated it really liked it
Shelves: family-life, sweden, light
After reading "heavy" books like "We Band of Angels" and "Just Mercy," I searched for something light and easy. Enter "Papa's Wife." In the early 20th century, young Maria sets her eyes on the older parson and encourages him to hire her as a maid. From this develops a delightful story of Pastor Franzon (Papa) and Maria (Mama) and their life together with a growing family in the parsonage in Lapland and in the parsonage and on a farm in New England. Certainly there are problems along the way, but ...more
Nov 07, 2016 Toni rated it it was amazing
This might be the best book I've read all year! Can't wait to start over and read it again.
Oct 15, 2016 Joanie rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book so much. They don't write books like this anymore.
PAPA'S WIFE is the first book in a series written by the daughter of 'Papa' and 'Mama'. It is the gentle story of a very young woman who falls in love with an older gentleman. He was a minister when she met him. I admired 'Mama' because of her strength. She had her work cut out trying to convince him that she was 'the one'.

Taking place in the early 20th century, it comes off as a Christian romance but I think that sentiment is secondary. I will say that the story should attract those who enjoy
Jul 22, 2013 Diana rated it it was amazing
I learned about the Franzon Family books as a result of my hobby. I enjoy tracing my family's history--especially the Swedish side of my family. As a result, I am constantly looking for books that will give me a glimpse of what life may have been like for my Swedish immigrant ancestors. "Papa's Wife" tells the story of Pastor Pontus Franzon, his young wife Maria, their large brood of children, and their lives in both Swedish Lapland and the United States. Even though my ancestors were not ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
I loved how she tried so hard to meet the needs of each of her eight children. She was such a great Mom and did you notice what a fantastic minister she was? It really comes out I think that she had just as much, maybe more faith than her husband. I loved how he wasn't perfect either. Lots of hard work to make a marriage work, but they showed how it can be a beautiful experience just the same.
Loved this quote about food:
They way you manage your own home is important too. Little things again- lik
Jun 12, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this book over and over when I was younger. I still remember many things about it. However, I fear that if I read it again at this point in my life, The Suck Fairy will have done her work. (If you're unfamiliar with TSF, simply Google her.)

I keep it a 5 star book, though, because it was one of those books that I loved ridiculously when I was young. Maybe a weak reason for giving it five stars, but there you have it.

I also wonder in retrospect if there's a connection between loving this b
Megan  Burnham
Jan 05, 2015 Megan Burnham rated it it was amazing
A young lady is hired to be a pastor's maid and she falls in love over time with the man she is a maid for and she believes that he may fall in love with her. but when he does not fall in love with her she finds a opportunity to leave and go to America with a single mother and her children. he writes he and asks her to come back to be his maid she writes him back and expresses if she were to come back to be with him it would not be as his maid. two years go by from the time she left and the ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Brenda rated it liked it
I enjoy reading "vintage" novels occasionally. This book about a Swedish immigrant family was pleasant and a bit too sweet at times. I admit to feeling like a failure in the housekeeping department. What is it with Northern Europeans and house cleaning? The chapters on raising a large family struck me close to the heart - as a mother of 6 children I could relate to Maria, the mother of 8. Both of us had a second child that cried day and night for her first 5 monthes. Faith played a large part of ...more
Mar 10, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
Firstly, I have not finished this book completely, but I read enough to get a pretty good idea of it. It's a very quaint and sweet and somewhat silly story of a Swedish family. It takes place in the early 1800's and it's about a determined woman who marries a stubborn and rather superstitious preacher. I liked it but not enough to keep plowing through it. I guess I am just not currently in the mood. There's really no plot, it's just stories about this family and their children. It's sweet and I ...more
Mary Kidd
Oct 02, 2016 Mary Kidd rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Thompson-Thalasinos
Jul 06, 2016 Jennifer Thompson-Thalasinos rated it really liked it
A great story about a preacher and his family . His young housekeeper falls in love with him and eventually he realizes he loves her too after she moves from Lapland to America. He goes to America to bring her back. In the course of their married life they have 8 children. They eventually move back to America where he becomes the preacher of a local church and a farmer! I enjoyed reading their ups and downs & how G-d was the center of their lives. This book is no longer being published. I ...more
Mar 03, 2011 JoDean rated it really liked it
Fun and inspiring, this book made me look at my family with different eyes. While contradicting in a few places, the heroine of the book relishes her role as wife and mother, she finds joy in the daily-ness of her life and in her faith in God. My kids are growing and will soon leave, like Mama's children, but that's not the end..."Soon the house would echo again with children's laughter. A new generation would be growing up to replace the old. God's glorious plan of creation - an endless cycle ...more
Aug 04, 2014 Danielle rated it really liked it
I've read this before, but wanted one to read aloud to Greg on the trip that would be an easy read. I'm not sure what he thought of it, but I did catch him smiling a time or two. (Due to the similarities between Maria and me?!)I had remembered these books as being true, but I guess not. Oh well. I liked learning about the Swedish culture. I love the pre-breakfast coffee idea. Served in bed, ideally. I also enjoyed the part where Mama shines the shoes of each child on Saturday evenings. A fun ...more
May 14, 2016 Bobbie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
I liked that this book reminded me of the daily joys of being a mother. There were hard times and difficult things to deal with, but there was a beauty about motherhood throughout them all.
It also inspired me to be a better wife and to be less selfish - which is always a good thing.
Little bits of wisdom were scattered throughout. It is definitely a slower paced book so you have to be in the mood for a bit of slow contemplation.
Dec 02, 2009 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I reread this book after I saw it at a resale shop, because I had such good memories of how I felt discovering the story the first time. I enjoyed it again and realized that it had influenced my life at a pivotal time. I learned that it was possible to have a loving home based on true Christian principles because it was based on a real family's experiences. Mama was amazing and so unlike who I was at the time. I realized I could choose who I was to become. I love this family in the book.
Feb 23, 2008 Annette rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any woman who needs a lift
Recommended to Annette by: my mom
I absolutely love this book! I enjoyed it so much I ordered two copies for myself on-line, one to keep and one to loan out. I liked it because it's clean, funny, touching, inspirational, and it holds so much good old-fashioned wisdom. Everytime I picked up this book it felt soothing and relaxing like soaking in a hot bubblebath after a long day of work. It was such a wonderful escape from my hectic and stressful life that I was sad when I got to the end.
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Thyra Ferre Bjorn was one of eight children born to a clergyman in Swedish Lapland. In 1924, her father received a call to a Swedish church in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the family came to America.

Thyra married another native from Sweden, Robert Bjorn. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. Together they made their home in Longmeadow, Masachusetts.
More about Thyra Ferré Björn...

Other Books in the Series

The Franzons (4 books)
  • Papa's Daughter (The Franzons, #2)
  • Mama's Way (The Franzons, #3)
  • Dear Papa (The Franzons, #4)

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