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Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
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Loving Frank (edition 2013)

by Nancy Horan, Joyce Bean (Reader)

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3,5621861,484 (3.68)209
Member:shearon
Title:Loving Frank
Authors:Nancy Horan
Other authors:Joyce Bean (Reader)
Info:Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged (2013), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2012, 2012 BOMBS

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Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan

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English (182)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (184)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
This was another one of those books where I had a hard time reading the book because I just did not like the characters. As a mother, I cannot imagine ever choosing a man over my children. I felt like Mamah may have chosen a different life as much as a different man. The middle section of the book really drags but the ending is gripping, even when you already know how the story will end. Ms. Horan has clearly done a lot of research; I wish her editor had done a lot more editing. Not everything you learn needs to be included in a book. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
This was another one of those books where I had a hard time reading the book because I just did not like the characters. As a mother, I cannot imagine ever choosing a man over my children. I felt like Mamah may have chosen a different life as much as a different man. The middle section of the book really drags but the ending is gripping, even when you already know how the story will end. Ms. Horan has clearly done a lot of research; I wish her editor had done a lot more editing. Not everything you learn needs to be included in a book. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Horan's historical fiction novel does a nice job of portraying the somewhat scandalous life of Mamah Borthwick Chaney, a bright , educated mother of two. When she and her husband hire a young Frank Lloyd Wright to design their house in Oak Park, Illinois, there was little chance of knowing the love that would blossom between he and Mamah. Note to self, don't leave your unhappy, bored wife home alone with a fascinating charismatic architect... Their belief that they were meant for each other enabled them to defy convention as they escape to Europe, both leaving their spouses and children to cope. While Wright works on his designs, Mamah begins to explore her new world. Horan's narrative also shows us the influences that Mamah met, including the feminist Ellen Key, who helped her to convince herself that her love for FLW was more important that her responsibility to her family. It was interesting the way their affair was scandalized in the papers, and Horan did a nice job of intertwining real documents with the narrative she created. We also get a good portrait of the architect himself, his genius and his flaws. He had a wonderful vision of how homes should compliment the land, organic in nature to the surroundings. He was also terrible with money, berated his workers and an egotistical perfectionist. There are years of true happiness that are shared, especially after he builds Taliesin for Mamah in southern Wisconsin. After some years Mamah has acquired a divorce, her husband remarried and her children come to visit her during the summers. All seems headed for a happy ending as Frank just finishes the Midway Gardens in Chicago and is about to win the contract for the Imperial Hotel in Japan. But alas this is a tragic story; the truth often is.

Mamah was tired of living on the outskirts of life and her affair with Frank Lloyd Wright enabled her to find many outlets for her intellectual passions. "I have been standing on the side o life, watching if float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current." It's hard to not read about the couple while reading the book, but I would caution the reader from that indulgence. It is also hard to be sympathetic to these two lovers who leave behind eight children between them, but the author is not asking for our sympathy, she is presenting a love of two unusual people and we are fortunate to share in her insights. ( )
  novelcommentary | Mar 23, 2016 |
This is book that was selected for my work book club. It is not a book I would have read on my own, and I'm glad I read it. This is historical fiction based on Mamah Bothwick Cheney, the mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright. Of course, I know who Frank Lloyd Wright is, but I didn't know much about his life.

And, I found it well written, with interesting characters, set in an interesting time. Never a happy a book, always with a sense of melancholy - the decisions that Mamah makes are heart breaking, being a woman in the 1910's, the start of the women's rights movement - knowing you are equal to men but society won't accept it. Its heartbreaking. Mamah has a choice between her children, or her intellectual freedom. Its a horrible choice, one I can't imagine.

While it is historical fiction, the author is very concerned with historical accuracy. Not much is known about Mamah. Her thoughts and feelings are mostly fabricated from a few letters and retrospectives. Frank Lloyd Wright didn't say much about Mamah after her unexpected death.

The character felt real. Neither too loud or too meek... she feels real. Its strange just how modern this book felt. Many of Mamah's decisions between family versus work. Of course, women have a lot more choices now, but still have a ways to go.

This isn't a happy book. However, the book will make you think. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Mar 15, 2016 |
4.5 stars.
This work of fiction attempts to tell the story of Mamah Chaney and her love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. It is told strictly from Mamah’s perspective and we learn of the effect her actions had on others only through her final realizations … however late they come.

The writing is very personal and intimate and so the story is compelling. I wavered between feeling in tune with Mamah and being exasperated with her. She had such blinders for much of Frank’s flaws, and for her own.

Would the story have played out differently today? Most definitely. There would not have been the huge scandal for one thing. Frank’s business would not have suffered as it did (but then he would be “freer” to make his own mistakes with no one or nothing to blame). Mamah would not have needed to hitch her wagon to Frank’s star in order to “find herself and her own fulfillment” in today’s society.

I did not know the story of Frank and Mamah so the ending was a surprise to me and one that left me reeling. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
One lives but once in the world.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
Dedication
For Kevin
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It was Edwin who wanted to build a new house.
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Mamah describes Wright as someone who, "had come to mistake his gift for the whole of his character."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345495004, Paperback)

Amazon Significant Seven, August 2007: It's a rare treasure to find a historically imagined novel that is at once fully versed in the facts and unafraid of weaving those truths into a story that dares to explore the unanswered questions. Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney's love story is--as many early reviews of Loving Frank have noted--little-known and often dismissed as scandal. In Nancy Horan's skillful hands, however, what you get is two fully realized people, entirely, irrepressibly, in love. Together, Frank and Mamah are a wholly modern portrait, and while you can easily imagine them in the here and now, it's their presence in the world of early 20th century America that shades how authentic and, ultimately, tragic their story is. Mamah's bright, earnest spirit is particularly tender in the context of her time and place, which afforded her little opportunity to realize the intellectual life for which she yearned. Loving Frank is a remarkable literary achievement, tenderly acute and even-handed in even the most heartbreaking moments, and an auspicious debut from a writer to watch. --Anne Bartholomew

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, from their meeting, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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