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Loving Frank: A Novel Hardcover – August 7, 2007
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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
From Publishers Weekly
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. (Aug.)
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Top customer reviews
I really wanted to know as little as possible going into this book. I was interested in the subject matter (personal side of Frank Lloyd Wright) and have found that you can learn so much about the leading male figures that we know from history through the eyes of their female partners.
I did know that the female in this novel is not Franks wife, but his mistress. Throughout the whole book, I found her highly unlikeable. She made such awful decisions and basically abandoned her friends and family. It was well written though and I do appreciatethe perspective of where she was coming from. I countinued to read and at a certain point just wanted it to end so that I could move on to my next book.
Well...then came the ending that I didnt see coming. At all. I will not ruin this part, but I will say that the last 12% or so (accordingto Kindle) of the book was so jaw dropping and disturbing that I literally couldnt sleep the night I finished it.
I find it extremely fascinating that this memorable part of Frank's life is barely is mentioned in biographical the works about his life. The story will stay with you, but I would not be able to recommend it to my friends or family members.