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Celebrity Gossip / By Liz Smith

“If you liked ‘Loving Frank’ and ‘The Paris Wife,’ you’ll love ‘Freud’s Mistress,’  ” says Katie Couric.

Well, I took Katie’s advice without even knowing I was taking it.

Several years ago, before the Internet happened, I read a book by two writers who live in Los Angeles and just happen to be successful married women who have invented their own careers.

These co-writers turned out to be Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman and I happened on a best-selling novel of theirs titled “Literacy and Longing in L.A.” (This was a tale about how reading above yourself and your circumstances can maybe give you a happy life.) I went so crazy for this book that I even finally met the authors, the men in their lives and also read their follow-up best-seller, “A Version of the Truth.”

I have, in fact, written reams of praise about them in the past. And I still can recommend “Literacy and Longing” without reservation.

But I hadn’t thought of this twosome in a while and truth to tell, I simply drifted by a pile of books, recently arrived in my office and picked up something alluring titled “Freud’s Mistress.”

Once I started reading I didn’t stop until forced by circumstance, and within 48 hours I’d managed to read the whole book.

I was busy thinking what a wow of a novel it would be to give away to my psychiatric-minded friends who work at counseling for the Maria Droste Agency. I was busy recommending it in my head without paying any attention to who wrote it, where it came from and who had recommended it.

Lo and behold – you’ve guessed it. It was written by the demons Mack and Kaufman. I really don’t review books. I just try to tell you a little about them. But in this case, I am embarrassed by my own carelessness. What a delightful surprise!

This book is written by my own friends, who have worked, variously, as lawyer, Golden Globe-winning writer, TV producer, staff writer for the L.A. Times and between them, won the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. It is published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam.

And, I admit, at first I thought I wouldn’t read it, not being a big Freud fan, but the atmospheric depiction of end-of-the-century Vienna and the fact that this is an imagined novel, based on a lot of true stuff, was irresistible.

Congratulations, you gorgeous girls! You made a believer out of me when I didn’t know it was you two. And thank you, Katie Couric. I did love “The Paris Wife” about Hemingway and “Loving Frank” about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

“Freud’s Mistress” is right up there with them!


I knew the Landmark Conservancy of New York City had a good idea when they decided to make the beautiful Brooke Shields – a true New Yorker, a workaholic in theater, film and once upon a time in the modeling world where she was a teenage trailblazer – a “Living Landmark.”

She’ll accept the honor Nov. 14 at the Conservancy’s annual party in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom.

Why is it a good idea? Because Brooke is more than a triple threat and on July 26, 27 and 28 she will direct the Hollywood Bowl’s production of the musical “Chicago.” Brooke played a leading role in this show, both in a Broadway revival and also in London’s West End.

– Tribune Media Services