Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Loving Frank” as Want to Read:
Loving Frank
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Loving Frank

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  74,679 Ratings  ·  8,650 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Ballantine Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Loving Frank, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

William One hundred years ago, so many young people were forced into loveless marriages, with no possibility of escape. I would focus instead on the fireworks…moreOne hundred years ago, so many young people were forced into loveless marriages, with no possibility of escape. I would focus instead on the fireworks of the two geniuses' relationship. I wonder how you, personally, would do in this situation. For myself, I feel the deepest love and commitment to my own son, as attested by my raising of him in very difficult circumstances.(less)
The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniWater for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Best for Book Clubs
4,072 books — 10,040 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Best Historical Fiction
5,340 books — 22,504 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 25, 2008 Shannon rated it it was ok
Recommended to Shannon by: Jane Tesch
I was very disappointed by this book. In the past two years, Jason and I have toured two Frank Lloyd Wright homes and I took a modern architecture class in college that featured a ton of his work, so I thought I would enjoy a fictionalized glimpse of his personal life. I did enjoy reading about Taliesin and the Midway Gardens and how FLW incorporated thoughts from disparate cultures (Japanese, Italian, German) into his own creations.

What I didn't like was Mamah, who was unfortunately the main ch
Jul 10, 2008 Gail rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-authors
So I realize I have a problem of, you, know, praising a LOT of books I read. And I'm sorry, I try to be honest, I do (and I AM. I just think I pick a lot of winners - ha ;)

But seriously, this book. WOW. WOW. WOW. I love it in a way I haven't loved a book in a while (even all the ones I've said I loved).

First off, for those unfamiliar with the plot, this is historical fiction at its finest — detailing the love affair between FLW and Mamah Cheney. It's a real affair, and the timeline (including a
Dec 24, 2007 John rated it liked it
Two people, selfish and completely self absorbed who flaunt convention and common sense while living their own self styled code of ethics “I want for me” A code invoked throughout their lifetimes with little consideration for the destruction, exploitation and pain caused for the adults and children left in their wake. 8 children and a niece who had already lost her own mother experienced directly the effects of this cavalier attitude toward responsibility. Fanciful thinking aside, I saw no coura ...more
Jan 29, 2015 Molly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: book club
Recommended to Molly by: Mom
Shelves: worththeread
Holy smokes does this book have a shocking ending. There is not one note on the book flap or in cover blurbs to point to that. It's a historical novel, a love affair between a woman named Mamah Borthwright or -wick (or something like that) and Frank Lloyd Wright. They really did leave their families--his six children, her three--to be with one another in 1909.

As an editor, I'm surprised by the book editor's decision to not make note of the tragic twist at the end even once on the cover. The book
Susan Albert
Mar 14, 2008 Susan Albert rated it really liked it
In 1972, I attended a conference at Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house, Taliesin, I've carried a vision of it ever since: its startlingly flat planes, the Oriental lines of its roofs, the way it snugs into the side of a Wisconsin hill. And indoors, the Zen-like simplicity of furnishings, the wide windows that open onto green landscape, and the glowing walls that seem to shimmer with their own inner light. I can understand why Mamah Borthwick Cheney fell in love with its architect and loved him wi ...more
Jun 23, 2008 Walt rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone.
Recommended to Walt by: reading group
I like to read first published novels by authors, so when my reading group, comprised primarily of women, chose Loving Frank, I was looking forward to it. It didn't disappoint me. I enjoyed the narrative flow, which was smooth and calm as a river, even when it had exciting rapids. The story arced like a rainbow and climaxed like 24. It didn't seem written by a novice. I would say, "Great job, Nancy Horan."
Early in marriage, my wife and I moved from the West to the Midwest. We had lived a shelt
Jun 23, 2008 Schmacko rated it liked it
I read Nancy Horan's debut book, because in a few days I will be up in Wisconsin very near some of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous works. Loving Frank is a somewhat-fictional account of the little-known feminist Mameh Borthwick Cheney and her 9-year affair with FLW. This relationship broke up two marriages and filled papers with scandal, as the couple ran away to Europe and then came to build their famous home, Taliesin, in Wisconsin.

Some books, I can concede are perfectly well-writte
Sep 26, 2007 Susan rated it liked it
Quite a rollercoaster - about midway through this book, I was completely inspired to DO THINGS. To be intellectual and well spoken and creative; in short, to not be just a mom, as I am most days. I thought Mamah was incredible; her self-discovery so moving.

But as the book progressed, I started to like her less and less. And Frank Lloyd Wright I never found an endearing character. Pompous ass, yes. I didn't think either of them were justified in their actions and I certainly couldn't get behind h
Mar 20, 2016 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lee and Donna

If you do no know how the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick ends up - well then you absolutely must read this book. That is assuming you are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and design. I was in the blue. I had no idea what happened. Think if I hadn't read this book! So if you are like me and do not now how all was resolved - read this book. The writing is good. There are many lines I underlined to copy and add here as quotes, but then I got too laz
Oct 29, 2008 Karen rated it it was ok
I hated this book until about 3/4s of the way through, then I would say it was tolerable. I think the main characters are pompous, pretentious, and the "love" story overwrought and pointless. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if the author treated the characters as if she knew this was how they appeared, but she seemed to be taking the whole thing very seriously. And since most of the book is fabricated, I can't help but blame the author for turning a grown-up affair into some kind of adolescent ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
I'm trying to put my finger on what I did not like about this book. Was it the fact that she left her husband and children to have an affair with Frank Lloyd Wright? No, I don't think it was the moral premise, although all the chapters about being separated from her children were excruciating to read. I think what bothered me about this book was that it was slow. The writing was well-done, very lyrical, very girly (for lack of a better word), but it just plodded along, filled with unimportant de ...more
No, I didn't love Frank. Wasn't seduced by his character. Maybe this is why I didn't love this novel.
Aug 30, 2008 Penelope rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE! Book Clubs
WOW. I just finished this book and that's the first word that comes to mind. HOLY CRAP are the second and third. Talk about an emotional punch to the gut.

Before reading this novel, I knew of Frank Lloyd Wright and his amazing designs but nothing of his personal life. It surprised me right off the bat to learn that he left his first wife for another woman, arguably the love of his life, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The novel chronicles their affair from beginning to end. Love, soul mates, sex and rom
Dec 26, 2007 Sara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Frank Lloyd Wright worshippers, anyone who enjoys a good narrative
Shelves: fiction
Nancy Horan's fictionalized version of the true story of the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney fills in the raw facts with well-researched context and beautifully expressed emotion.

Horan's exploration of Mamah's painful experiences as a renegade woman going against the Victorian ideals is touching and realistic. She does an excellent job of turning these real people into relatable characters and fleshes them out using letters, anecdotes with sensationalist newspaper a
Book Concierge
4.5 stars.
This work of fiction attempts to tell the story of Mamah Chaney and her love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. It is told strictly from Mamah’s perspective and we learn of the effect her actions had on others only through her final realizations … however late they come.

The writing is very personal and intimate and so the story is compelling. I wavered between feeling in tune with Mamah and being exasperated with her. She had such blinders for much of Frank’s flaws, and for her own.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the first book I finished from my speed dating project, so that probably tells you something about the ease of reading this story about Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress and the rise and fall of their relationship. I had originally picked this book to use as my Illinois pick for the Around the USA reading challenge, and still will count it for that since Wright's main office was in Chicago during the timeframe of this book, but it also takes place in Italy and Wisconsin.

I have seen several p
Christine Zibas
"When she looked in the mirror, she saw a woman pink-faced from desire. And from being desired. My lord, what a narcotic!"

This fictional books takes its roots in the very real relationship between Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress, Mamah (may-muh) Borthwick Cheney, once a client of his whose family purchased one of Wright's Prairie-style homes in Oak Park, Illinois.

Mamah was a very unusual woman, not just in that she was willing to leave her husband, children, and sister (who lived w
A wonderful education on Frank Lloyd Wright's motivation and personality told through the viewpoint of Mamah Borthwick-Cheney, his mistress.

As I read this book, I tried to pinpoint why I never had a problem picking this book up as it saddened me and at times maddened me. By the time I came to the end I knew why - the author does a terrific job of presenting this fictional history (based on fact) unbiased. I love authors who trust their readers enough to let them make their own judgments and don
Sep 26, 2007 Andrea rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2009 Christina rated it liked it
Living in Chicago, I have visited Wright's Home & Studio in Oak Park and Taliesin in Spring Green many times, so I already knew the stories of the great architect's personal tragedies and failings. Loving Frank was an engaging read, but I found myself questioning some of it, particularly Horan's depiction of Mamah's guilt and regret over her abandonment of her children. I wanted to like Mamah, but I found that -- even though Horan tried hard to convince me to empathize with her -- I couldn't ...more
Jul 17, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book for my monthly book club. It was a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years and I never got around to reading. I was pleasantly surprised, although it repeated itself alot and I didn't care for Mamah Borthwick much at all I enjoyed reading and learning about Frank Lloyd Wright. The ending of the book was surprising and it made the book so much more enjoyable not knowing anything about his life or what really ha ...more
Nov 10, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it
This book was brought to my attention several months ago but I didn't seriously consider reading it because I thought it was essentially a biography of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect. I have a serious handicap when it comes to reading non-fiction and if I'm going to read a biography of someone, I wanted to read about someone whose life's details I had some...nay....any interest in knowing. An architect, even a really, really famous one, didn't meet that criteria.

When it was selected as
Apr 02, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok
The ending did surprise me – I didn't see that coming. If you don't know it, I'm not telling.

Although I'm somewhat familiar with his architecture, I knew little (and still know relatively little) of Frank Lloyd Wright's personal life. And I knew nothing of Mamah Borthwick Cheney. I like historical fiction that has been well researched, as this book apparently was. Still, it just didn't work for me.

Mamah left her husband and children to be with Frank. She abandoned her children with a friend in B
Nov 30, 2007 Katherine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture and the Women's Movement
Awesome book--especially as a debut novel! The last 50 pages took me by surprise and kept me glued until the very end! I didn't know anything about Mamah Borthwick and knew very little about Frank Lloyd Wright, so it was surprising to read what happens in the end. If anything, Horan's narrative technique in the last 50 pages made the book for me.

Don't be fooled by the title, though. This book is so much more than a story about an illicit love affair and the scandal it caused--and so much more th
Courtney Payne
Sep 06, 2007 Courtney Payne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favoritereads
Just finished it and L-O-V-E-D it. Highly recommend.
This is the kind of book that inspires me to write the author to just share how much I loved the book.
It is a book of fiction, based on the actual lives of Frank Lloyd Wright and his "girlfriend/mistress". But so much more. It is written with such a pitch perfect tone for the time (very early 1900's)---romantic everyday language, world travel, etc.etc.
Some of you already know the story of Frank and Mamah and some of you might be Frank Lloyd Wri
Nov 17, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any chicks who like lit
Recommended to Lisa by: Ever-wise Judy
Shelves: book-club
I love it when a book is as wonderful as the buzz claims it to be. It's amazing that a first-time author could pull off a story this thoughtful and nuanced. Frank Lloyd Wright is a well-known God of Architecture, but the "real" Frank is revealed here to be temptestuous, self-absorbed, brilliant, and a non-conformist down to his very toes. Love him, or hate him, he found his intellectual and spiritual equal in the form of Mamah Cheney, the wife of client, Edwin Cheney. Mamah is the protagonist, b ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Barbarac rated it liked it
I had to postpone reviewing this until I was less upset about it. It's not the ending, which is fairly accurate to history, so anybody that googles Frank Lloyd Wright or Mamah will find out what happens. It is brutal, but I expected it.
The book itself is interesting, a glimpse into such a bright and passionate mind. Unfortunately, the book is supposed to be about Mamah, and by the end, I'm not sure I like her too much. She's a woman like so many in her time, trying to find herself and her callin
Apr 16, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it
I wasn't really sure if I would write a review considering that I found and posted so many great quotes from the book. It kind of gives a feel for the book and speaks for itself. However, this was such an enjoyable book for me that I felt compelled to say something.
This is the historical fiction account of early 1900's American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. We've all, I'm sure, have either seen or heard of his architectural works but the story that most of us had not heard is of his lifelong af
Thing Two
Dec 27, 2012 Thing Two rated it liked it
Recommended to Thing Two by: Book Club
Little has been written about the mistress of Frank Lloyd Wright murdered at his Wisconsin. Mamah Borthwick was an educated woman working as a librarian when she met and married her husband Edwin. They settled in Oak Park, Illinois and, after having two children, hired neighbor Frank Lloyd Wright to renovate their home ... and Mamah fell in love.

This book did nothing to endear me to Mamah. It portrayed her as a woman whose self-esteem was so low, she allowed the whims and desires of Wright, who
Feb 28, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
I was drawn to the book because I was curious about Frank but I learned way more about "Mamah" then I really wanted too. For some reason I really disliked her and it wasn't just because she ends up leaving her kids for Frank (sorry, don't mean to be a spoiler!).
I also felt ripped off after I finished the book and found out that really very little was known about Mamah so Horan took alot of poetic license here. At least she could have made the protaganist more interesting!
The big shocker at the e
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Loving Frank packs a punch 16 240 Jan 05, 2017 07:18AM  
Walworth Library ...: 2015 Loving Frank 8 12 Feb 17, 2015 06:10PM  
Blindsided 6 135 Mar 11, 2014 07:52PM  
Unraveling Rhetor...: Was running off to Europe necessary? Why did she really do it? 7 14 Dec 22, 2013 08:19AM  
Who/Where? 3 60 Nov 21, 2013 10:27AM  
  • The Women
  • Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders
  • Luncheon of the Boating Party
  • The Josephine Bonaparte Collection: The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, and the Last Great Dance on Earth
  • The Camel Bookmobile
  • Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln
  • Mudbound
  • The Day the Falls Stood Still
  • South of Broad
  • The Wives of Henry Oades
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Beneath a Marble Sky
  • Broken for You
  • Mr. Emerson's Wife
  • The Double Bind
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad
  • Beautiful Maria of My Soul
  • Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
Nancy Horan is a writer and a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her husband and two sons. Loving Frank is her first novel.
More about Nancy Horan...

Share This Book

“Don't you see what's happened? You wanted to be in love again. To feel that feeling where a man you hardly know gazes into your eyes and seems to be the only human being who ever understood the real you.” 101 likes
“It has always been on the written page that the world has come into focus for me. If I can piece all these bits of memory together with the diaries and letters and the scribbled thoughts that clutter my mind and bookshelves, then maybe I can explain what happened. Maybe the worlds I have inhabited for the past seven years will assume order and logic and wholeness on paper. Maybe I can tell my story in a way that is useful to someone else.” 19 likes
More quotes…