Out walking in a snowstorm, were you? Their nannys voice stirred Mamah, who lay on the living room sofa, her feet propped on the rolled arm. I know, Louise, I know, she mumbled. Do you want a toddy for the cold youre about to get?
Ill take it. Where is John?
Next door with Ellis. Ill get him home.
Send him in to me when hes back. And turn on the lights, will you, please?
Louise was heavy and slow, though she wasnt much older than Mamah. She had been with them since John was a year olda childless Irish nurse born to mother children. She switched on the stained-glass sconces and lumbered out.
When she closed her eyes again, Mamah winced at the image of herself a few hours earlier. She had behaved like a madwoman, cranking the car until her arm ached, then racing on foot through snow and ice to get a glimpse of Frank, as if she had no choice.
Once, when Edwin was teaching her how to start the car, he had told her about a fellow who leaned in too close. The man was smashed in the jaw by the crank and died later from infection.
Mamah sat up abruptly and shook her head as if she had water in an ear. In the morning Ill call Frank to cancel.
Within moments, though, she was laughing at herself. Good Lord. Its only a garage.
Excerpted from Loving Frank by Nancy Horan Copyright © 2007 by Nancy Horan. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher
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No Man's Land
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Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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