Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | January 18, 2010

Why I loved Loving Frank

Loving Frank Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loving Frank is a beautifully written novel about the love affair between Mamah (may-mah) Borthwick Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright. It is based on true events, but it is a work of fiction. One important thing that I suggest is that if you are going to read this book, which I highly recommend, do not Google Mamah for it will give away important events in the book as well as the ending.

We all know Frank Lloyd Wright for his amazing architecture and contributions to art in America. He remains the American Architect. The beginning of his career as a solo architect began in Chicago around the turn of the century. He actually was a part of the World’s Fair while working for Louis Sullivan, which I only learned by reading The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. One of his commissions was to build the home of Edwin and Mamah Cheney. Mamah had already been friends with Frank Lloyd Wright’s wife Catherine, but working with him on her house resulted in the two of them falling in love. Their love was highly unusual in 1903.

Also unusual in 1903 was a woman like Mamah. She was highly educated, fluent in multiple languages and not only did she fight for women’s right to vote, she also wanted to be able to have a life outside of the home and not just through social teas. In many ways, she settled in marrying Edwin Chaney and meeting Frank Lloyd Wright sparked something in her that she couldn’t ignore.

One thing that makes this book so special is that Horan is both a journalist and a novelist. She grew up in Oak Park, IL, where Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney lived. Her journalistic background brings a level of truth to the novel and her skill as a writer makes this a beautiful work not to be missed.

You can read an excerpt from the first chapter, as well as a great interview with Nancy Horan on NPR.com

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