From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harshlife of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior-such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce-no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty.
Betty Smith was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1896. She is also the author of Tomorrow Will Be Better, Maggie-Now, and Joy in the Morning. She died in 1972.