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Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan
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Loving Frank: A Novel (edition 2008)

by Nancy Horan

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3,9312001,953 (3.66)233
Member:greenfieldlibrary
Title:Loving Frank: A Novel
Authors:Nancy Horan
Info:Ballantine Books (2008), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:picturing_america_bookgroup

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Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

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English (191)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
This is a fictionalized account of the love affair between Mamah (Martha) Borthwick and the Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Wright has achieved renown as an architectural genius for his brilliant ideas and interior designs. Mamah and her husband Edwin Cheney hire him to build a house in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. Mamah is an intellectual and feminist and feels stifled in her marriage to Edwin, who is a very good person and very much in love with her. Frank is a married man with 6 children but is feeling trapped.
Mamah and Frank’s affair starts slowly but eventually Mamah leaves with her children for Boulder, Colorado to determine her future.
Frank invites her to travel to Europe and she leaves her children and husband to join him in Berlin.
This is 1909 and a huge scandal ensues for the couple and the press is relentless in their pursuit of them. Mamah pursues her feminist interests and discovers the Swedish philosopher Ellen Key.mamah has found her soul mate.
The couple return to America in 1910 and Wright designs their homestead Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Mamah is now divorced and struggles with her decision to leave her children in Chicago while she pursues her life with Frank. Tragedy strikes in 1914 when a servant Julian Carlton, murders Mamah, her two children and 3 workers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and kept checking the historical background in Wikipedia. It is very well written and the portrayal of both characters is very compelling. Mamah and Wright are intellectual equals whose love is deep and multi dimensional. Mamah struggles with her devotion to Wright vs her family obligations. She is portrayed fairly as a intelligent woman caught in a time warp with conflicting priorities and obligations. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Jan 31, 2019 |
Fascinating story ( )
  ibkennedy | Dec 16, 2018 |
I enjoy FLW's work but as a man - not a wonderful person. Having been to his home/studio in Oak Park and to Taliesen in Wisconsin, I could visualize a lot of what she wrote.
It's a pretty good read - warning, there is a sad ending... ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
I had trouble with this book initially. I don't enjoy reading about troubled marriages, affairs, and kids being left behind. And the image in my head of Frank Lloyd Wright didn't jibe with the romantic, thoughtful guy here. Nor do I like historical fiction when the dialogue and letters are not based on actual pieces. (Okay the author found like 5 letters from Mamah...)

I used to live a few streets away from one of Wright's houses in MN and I so wanted to hear more about how his mind worked, what inspired him. He is such an influential architect, that I never gave a thought to the ups and down his career must have had. About halfway through this book, I found myself enjoying it. The author clearly researched dates, accomplishments, etc., and there is plenty to learn here about both Frank and his mistress Mamuh Borthwick: their families, schooling, and other influences. I also enjoyed watching the unfolding of women's rights in America. Mamah was rather unconventional for her time and, being fluent in several languages, became a translator for Ellen Key, an ardent feminist in Europe.

An interesting book. ( )
  Berly | Jul 28, 2018 |
Sad, interesting story. ( )
  mahallett | Jan 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Horan, Nancyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bean, JoyceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
One lives but once in the world.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
Dedication
For Kevin
First words
It was Edwin who wanted to build a new house.
Quotations
Mamah describes Wright as someone who, "had come to mistake his gift for the whole of his character."
"The measure of a man's culture is the measure of his appreciation," he said.
"I'm like the truck of a cactus, I suppose," she told him. "I take in a dose of culture and time with friends, then I retreat and go live on it for a while until I get thirsty again. It's not good to live so much inside oneself. It's a self-imposed exile, really. It make you different."
Tell me everything. He might as well have said, "Take off your dress."
"Oh, I was just the right age then, I think. Smarter than I ever was before or since."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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