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.”
“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.”
“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.”
A poignant book about the repercussions of a love affair and the idealism of Frank Lloyd Wright. Due to the author’s thorough research, it reads as close to reality as a work of fiction can get.55
This book makes the relationship between Maymah and Frank Lloyd Wright come alive! I couldn't put it down!55
Very well written and so, so interesting!!! You won't be disappointed I promise!55
After a recent visit to Taliesan West I became aware of this book. I really enjoyed it since I had earlier visited the Oak Park home. A sad love story of 2 exceptional people who make choices and then had to live with the effect on others they loved.55
I only got to page 35 and I'm seriously considering eating this box of twinkies and ending it all15
Knowing very little about Frank Lloyd Wright other than some of his architecture, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Nancy Horan did an amazing job piecing together snippets of history to make Loving Frank a 'must read' that doesn't 'feel' like a typical historical fiction but rather, a story of true love. I enjoyed this so much that I have now added a visit & tour of Taliesin to my bucket list!55
I absolutely loved this book...what a window it was into the lives of Frank Lloyd Wright, genius of design (my favorite work of his is The Wayfarers Chapel in Palos Verdes CA), and Mamah Borthwick, the love of his life. We must all live authentically and from our truest natures...this book was an inspiration. And now I want to see all of Frank's homes and buildings! Sounds like a road trip across America!55
This book opens the doorway into the past and gives you a glimpse into the sad, beautiful, haunting world of what it was like to be a woman in the era where life was dictated by society and the consequences if you broke those rules. Sometimes the spirit of a person cannot be contained by an ordinary life.55
Wonderful story. I enjoyed connecting to the creativity of both Frank and Mamah and to their passion. Thank you.55
So fascinating how far we have come as a society.45