Loving Frank: A Novel

by Nancy Horan

Random House Publishing Group | August 7, 2007 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Loving Frank: A Novel is rated 3.6667 out of 5 by 6.
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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Nancy Horan's Under the Wide and Starry Sky.

Advance praise for Loving Frank:

Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. It’s 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 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

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: August 7, 2007

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345502256

ISBN - 13: 9780345502254

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Mix a brilliant, attractive and engaging architect – read Frank Lloyd Wright – with a beautiful, intelligent and feeling-trapped housewife and you have the basis for romantic combustion. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan, is the novelized biography of this very affair. In the early 1900’s Frank Lloyd Wright was a confident but still relatively unknown architect. Hired by his good friends, the Cheneys, to design their family home, it isn’t long before Mamah Cheney and Frank are caught up in a steamy affair. So passionate and scandalous is their relationship that they feel compelled to leave their families and run off to Europe. But this is no predictable tawdry affair. Mamah Cheney is the driving force behind this story. As she struggles to reconcile her emotions of guilt and loss along with her intellectual restlessness, Mamah draws us in to her tempestuous relationship with Frank as well as a fascinating relationship with the leading feminist of the day. Eventually, Frank and Mamah settle in Wisconsin. Frank’s brilliance is constantly undermined by his own narcissistic behaviour, both of which influence and shape the life they have together. But there is no doubt about their commitment to each other, nor its endurance until an event too tragic to anticipate brings their relationship to an end. This is Nancy Horan’s first novel and it is an assured and smart debut. The writing is rich and the story beautifully and seamlessly blends both fact and fiction. A truly wonderful and engaging read.

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from The cost of loving a genius When Frank fell for Mamah, it was like white lightening - blindingly fast and very public. While it surely shocked Chicago society and damaged Frank Lloyd Wright's reputation, his career was not brought to a standstill. He would go on to create Taliesin the home that would become his standard. And Mamah Borthwick would find her heart in the translation of some of the women's movements greatest words. Nancy Horan has re-created their world so perfectly, that I found myself so completely drawn into it, it is hard to leave. I think this is one of those books that I will remember forever.
Date published: 2013-07-10
Rated out of 5 by from Frustrating but interesting I read this book for a book club meeting. While I admit that, at times, I was frustrated that the book was dragging on, it did keep me interested and towards the end, I could not put it down (but I'm not sure if that was because i wanted to finish reading it quickly). I felt as if the ending hit me like a ton of bricks - I wasn't expecting it at all. Later, I was interested to learn that this story is loosely based on real-life events and like some other reviewers, I was fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural work as a result. When I am frustrated by characters in a story, I know that the book was well-written. Not a bad job for a debut novel from an author.
Date published: 2010-05-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing and Frustrating This book was intriguing in the beginning and then about 1/4 of the way in became frustrating and difficult to read. At some points I had to force myself to read the book. There were also points of the book that i was extremely frustrated with the story. I would never read this book again. Buy another book.
Date published: 2010-02-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing! I was expecting to read some interesting information on Frank Lloyd Wright , but what I got was a "romance gone wrong" story. I was shocked by the ending and it precipitated me to read and find out more about Wright.
Date published: 2009-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loving Frank - keeps you reading! It is not often I can read a piece of literature that captures my mind, my senses and my emotions. Although it dragged in places, it was a great read. Loving Frank is more a women's read, but surely an enlightenment as to how and why he built his masterpieces the way he did and where he did. Having visited Chicago recently and fallen in love with the city and its architecture, it was very interesting to read about Wright's personal life. When I ordered this book, I also ordered Devil in the White City, telling the story of the great architects of Chicago. My husband read it and loved it, and I am about to embark on it before my second trip to Chicago next month. These are two great reads for anyone who has thoughts of going to Chicago, for you cannot go to Chicago without knowing some of the architecture, how and why it got there!
Date published: 2009-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Assured and Smart Debut from Nancy Horan - A Truly Engaging Read Mix a brilliant, attractive and engaging architect – read Frank Lloyd Wright – with a beautiful, intelligent and feeling-trapped housewife and you have the basis for romantic combustion. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan, is the novelized biography of this very affair. In the early 1900’s Frank Lloyd Wright was a confident but still relatively unknown architect. Hired by his good friends, the Cheneys, to design their family home, it isn’t long before Mamah Cheney and Frank are caught up in a steamy affair. So passionate and scandalous is their relationship that they feel compelled to leave their families and run off to Europe. But this is no predictable tawdry affair. Mamah Cheney is the driving force behind this story. As she struggles to reconcile her emotions of guilt and loss along with her intellectual restlessness, Mamah draws us in to her tempestuous relationship with Frank as well as a fascinating relationship with the leading feminist of the day. Eventually, Frank and Mamah settle in Wisconsin. Frank’s brilliance is constantly undermined by his own narcissistic behaviour, both of which influence and shape the life they have together. But there is no doubt about their commitment to each other, nor its endurance until an event too tragic to anticipate brings their relationship to an end. This is Nancy Horan’s first novel and it is an assured and smart debut. The writing is rich and the story beautifully and seamlessly blends both fact and fiction. A truly wonderful and engaging read.
Date published: 2007-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best debut novel I have read I gave this debut effort by Nancy Horan a try because of A life long interest in Frank Lloyd Wright. This ambitious work is a fictional accounting of the life of Mamah Cheney. After being hired by Cheney’s husband to design a family home, Wright had a scandalous affair with Mrs. Cheney that wrecked both their marriages. This might seem like the plot of a romance novel, but believe me this book is not a romance novel! Cheney is portrayed as an educated woman struggling with her independence against the conventions of a time period when woman were for bearing children and keeping the home fires burning—to be seen but not heard! Frank and Mamah both leave their respective families to live together and travel the world, then eventually settle in Wisconsin. Wright’s bigger than life personality is adequately displayed by the author, but the real story here is Maham who lost much in her quest for self-realization and also in purusing her love for Wright. Her life is tragically cut short which makes for a difficult ending, still reading about this amazing woman, who was a head of her time makes for fascinating reading.
Date published: 2007-08-12

– More About This Product –

Loving Frank: A Novel

by Nancy Horan

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: August 7, 2007

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345502256

ISBN - 13: 9780345502254

From the Publisher

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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Nancy Horan's Under the Wide and Starry Sky.

Advance praise for Loving Frank:

Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. It’s 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 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
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