Sara's Reviews > Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
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's review
Dec 26, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: Frank Lloyd Wright worshippers, anyone who enjoys a good narrative
Read in December, 2007

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 accounts as a foil to her reconstructed reality.

It's all here: Frank's infatuation with spatial purity marred by his inability to fund his ambitions, Mamah's revolutionary suffragist New-Woman outlook and their respective spouses' strict and damaging adherence to the social mores of their early twentieth-century suburban lives.

Anyone who has former knowledge of the outcome of Frank and Mamah's life together knows a terrible end is in store for them, but Horan somehow arranges for it to sneak up on the reader, just as it must have sneaked up on Mamah. In this way, the author puts readers in Frank Lloyd Wright's place, as we discover the aftermath through his eyes.

This book is very well written, and skillfully constructed. It is also very accessible to those who know nothing or little about Frank Lloyd Wright, although once they have read this, they may be curious to know more. For those who want to know more about the architect, I highly recommend the PBS special on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright or an excellent biography, "Frank Lloyd Wright" by Meryle Secrest.
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