Loving Frank

2007

I purchased this book in the spring and it was on my "to read" shelf for months. Then, someone in my book club suggested the title and it was chosen for our October book selection. I don't know why I didn't start reading it sooner! I LOVED it! Loving Frank is a historical fiction novel based on real events. It tells the story of world-famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his affair with one of his clients, the also married Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The unique perspective of this book is that it is told from Mamah's point-of-view. Wright is a larger than life character. There is no shortage of information available about him, so I was pleased that the author chose to give Mamah a voice.

Prior to reading the novel, I had heard of the affair and always thought both Cheney and Wright were extremely selfish to do what they did (running off to Europe together while leaving their families behind). Although I certainly don't agree with the choices they made, Horan did a wonderful job of portraying Mamah's thought process. I found myself able to empathize with her and have more understanding of her motives.

The novel covers a large span of time - from Wright's beginnings as an apprentice architect in Chicago, through the building of his famed Wisconsin residence, Taliesen, and beyond. Nancy Horan lived in Oak Park, IL, the location of Wright's home & studio, for 24 or 25 years which added to the authenticity. She obviously did a lot of research as well. I would highly recommend this story to anyone with an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright or in women's fiction. This is Horan's first novel (hard for me to believe!) and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.

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