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Loving Frank: A Novel

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Loving Frank: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America's greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney's profound influence on Wright.

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan's Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah's is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel's stunning conclusion.

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.

Review:

"Horan's ambitious first novel is a fictionalization of the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, best known as the woman who wrecked Frank Lloyd Wright's first marriage. Despite the title, this is not a romance, but a portrayal of an independent, educated woman at odds with the restrictions of the early 20th century. Frank and Mamah, both married and with children, met when Mamah's husband, Edwin, commissioned Frank to design a house. Their affair became the stuff of headlines when they left their families to live and travel together, going first to Germany, where Mamah found rewarding work doing scholarly translations of Swedish feminist Ellen Key's books. Frank and Mamah eventually settled in Wisconsin, where they were hounded by a scandal-hungry press, with tragic repercussions. Horan puts considerable effort into recreating Frank's vibrant, overwhelming personality, but her primary interest is in Mamah, who pursued her intellectual interests and love for Frank at great personal cost. As is often the case when a life story is novelized, historical fact inconveniently intrudes: Mamah's life is cut short in the most unexpected and violent of ways, leaving the narrative to crawl toward a startlingly quiet conclusion. Nevertheless, this spirited novel brings Mamah the attention she deserves as an intellectual and feminist." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Good ideas for novels sometimes spring nearly fully formed from life. Such is the case with Nancy Horan's 'Loving Frank,' which details Frank Lloyd Wright's passionate affair with a woman named Mamah Cheney; both of them left their family to be together, creating a Chicago scandal that eventually ended in inexplicable violence.

It's easy to see why Horan, a former journalist and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading." Scott Turow

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"The first great mystery in this story is what made Frank and Mamah sever their family ties....Ms. Horan has the novelistic imagination to conjure the psychic storm clouds that arose, as well as the freak criminal outburst." Janet Maslin, New York Times

Review:

"[A] beautifully designed, innovative and noteworthy work of art in itself." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[T]he perfect selection to jump-start some satisfyingly heated arguments within your book club." USA Today

Review:

"Horan excels at research, and does an admirable job of recreating the five or so years the two were together." Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"One of Horan's achievements is how effectively she intertwines Mamah's evolution with the era's social change." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"[A] complex tale of the love affair between two eccentric, intelligent and unforgettable characters." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"The plot, characters, and ideas meld into a novel that will be a treat for fans of historical fiction." Library Journal

Review:

"The novel has something for everyone — a romance, a history of architecture, and a philosophical and political debate on the role of women." Booklist

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.

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of Americas greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheneys profound influence on Wright.

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horans Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamahs is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novels stunning conclusion.

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.

Advance praise for Loving Frank:

Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. Its mesmerizing and fascinating–filled with complex characters, deep passions, tactile descriptions of astonishing architecture, and the colorful immediacy of daily life a hundred years ago–all gathered into a story that unfolds with riveting urgency.”

–Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light

“This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading.”

Scott Turow

“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 Wrights 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 shell ever leave.”

–Elizabeth Berg

Video

About the Author

Nancy Horan, a former journalist and longtime resident of Oak Park, Illinois, now lives and writes on an island in Puget Sound.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Lisa Comperry, March 12, 2014 (view all comments by Lisa Comperry)
Loving Frank was an awesome read that won't disappoint..This story speaks from the mind and heart of Mamah, Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress..During Mamah's affair with Frank, the couple experienced issues with public notoriety that threatened to do them both in..Their lives were on a never ending roller coaster.. When life seemed to be at its most promising for Frank and Mamah, their affair came to a surprising and dangerous end..
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
ellaz, June 3, 2008 (view all comments by ellaz)
Heard of this book on today.com and I am glad that i picked it up. I am in middle of the book and am enjoying it very much. great read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(15 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
Deborah Fochler, August 22, 2007 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
I didnt know much about this lady and her lover. But this book is amazing. This book rewrites history and affords her the respect she deserves. It also affirms that we cant help who we love. Love happens and usually when you least expect it. Who would knowingly destroy their marriage for no reason.
This author has done an awful lot of research and should be commended for it. An interesting and compelling story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(19 of 39 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345494993
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Horan, Nancy
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Architects
Subject:
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Subject:
Biographical
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General-General
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
August 7, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.52x6.44x1.17 in. 1.47 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical

Loving Frank: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345494993 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Horan's ambitious first novel is a fictionalization of the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, best known as the woman who wrecked Frank Lloyd Wright's first marriage. Despite the title, this is not a romance, but a portrayal of an independent, educated woman at odds with the restrictions of the early 20th century. Frank and Mamah, both married and with children, met when Mamah's husband, Edwin, commissioned Frank to design a house. Their affair became the stuff of headlines when they left their families to live and travel together, going first to Germany, where Mamah found rewarding work doing scholarly translations of Swedish feminist Ellen Key's books. Frank and Mamah eventually settled in Wisconsin, where they were hounded by a scandal-hungry press, with tragic repercussions. Horan puts considerable effort into recreating Frank's vibrant, overwhelming personality, but her primary interest is in Mamah, who pursued her intellectual interests and love for Frank at great personal cost. As is often the case when a life story is novelized, historical fact inconveniently intrudes: Mamah's life is cut short in the most unexpected and violent of ways, leaving the narrative to crawl toward a startlingly quiet conclusion. Nevertheless, this spirited novel brings Mamah the attention she deserves as an intellectual and feminist." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The first great mystery in this story is what made Frank and Mamah sever their family ties....Ms. Horan has the novelistic imagination to conjure the psychic storm clouds that arose, as well as the freak criminal outburst."
"Review" by , "[A] beautifully designed, innovative and noteworthy work of art in itself."
"Review" by , "[T]he perfect selection to jump-start some satisfyingly heated arguments within your book club."
"Review" by , "Horan excels at research, and does an admirable job of recreating the five or so years the two were together."
"Review" by , "One of Horan's achievements is how effectively she intertwines Mamah's evolution with the era's social change."
"Review" by , "[A] complex tale of the love affair between two eccentric, intelligent and unforgettable characters."
"Review" by , "The plot, characters, and ideas meld into a novel that will be a treat for fans of historical fiction."
"Review" by , "The novel has something for everyone — a romance, a history of architecture, and a philosophical and political debate on the role of women."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of Americas greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheneys profound influence on Wright.

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horans Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamahs is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novels stunning conclusion.

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.

Advance praise for Loving Frank:

Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. Its mesmerizing and fascinating–filled with complex characters, deep passions, tactile descriptions of astonishing architecture, and the colorful immediacy of daily life a hundred years ago–all gathered into a story that unfolds with riveting urgency.”

–Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light

“This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading.”

Scott Turow

“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 Wrights 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 shell ever leave.”

–Elizabeth Berg

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