Loving Frank, written by Nancy Horan


November 2008 selection, NFO Book Club

‘Loving Frank’ is the story of how loving Frank changed one woman’s life, taking her down an unexpected path. This is a debut novel for Nancy Horan and was written twice over 7 years, the first version had four voices; the published book is told from Mamah’s point of view only. Mamah was the “other” woman in FLW’s life and some might say “the love of his life”. In addition to being a wife and mother Mamah was well educated and a feminist. Mamah was quite a character, some the decisions she made for the early 20th century were extremely progressive. Thinking back to the early 1900's it's hard to imagine making the choices she did.

This novel is very well written and cited, it will be a favorite for book groups and discussions.

Type: Historical Fiction/Memoir, 359 pages, Trade paperback
Reading guide: Yes
Recommend for book clubs: Yes

Synopsis:
I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives.

Reviews:

“It takes great courage to write a novel about historical people, and in particular to give voice to someone as mythic as Frank Lloyd Wright. This beautifully written novel about Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright’s love affair is vivid and intelligent, unsentimental and compassionate.”—Jane Hamilton

“I admire this novel, adore this novel, for so many reasons: The intelligence and lyricism of the prose. The attention to period detail. The epic proportions of this most fascinating love story. Mamah Cheney has been in my head and heart and soul since reading this book; I doubt she’ll ever leave.”–Elizabeth Berg

3 comments

  1. There are three parts to this book; the middle one drags but once you get to the third part, you will not be able to put the book down. Really makes you think of what it was to be female at the turn of the last century. And such an unusual and interesting love story!

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  2. This book was interesting in that it exposed the private life of someone so well known. The end was definitely gripping and catches you off-guard!

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  3. I knew nothing of Mamah or how she died so it all came as a real shock to me! We had mixed reactions to the book but overall I would say we liked it. It certainly sparked a lot of conversation.

    Oh, I HAVE to know- did your dog throw up??

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