Loving Frank by Nancy Horan - 384 pages
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.
My Review: 4 stars
Cleverly told, this story gave an insiders look into the life of Frank Lloyd Wright. Living in Illinois was a bonus as my book club was able to go to Oak Park and visit his home and see the many others he designed. Rich in historical detail, this book was a fascinating look into this icon’s life, his talent, his family life and his affairs, as told by Mamah, his long time elicit lover.
Quotes I liked:
-“It's not good to live so much inside oneself. It's a self-imposed exile, really. It makes you different.”
-“Together greet life's solemn real.
Together own one glad ideal,
Together laugh, together ache,
And think one thought- "Each other's sake,"
And hope one hope- in new-world weather,
To still go on, and go together.”
Tags: Historical Fiction, 2008, Book Club
Labels: 2008, Book Club, Historical Fiction