Jo's Reviews > Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
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Apr 25, 08

bookshelves: all-time-favorites, chicksonlitgroupreads, finished-2008, own, fiction
Recommended to Jo by: Chicks on Lit!
Recommended for: Everyone!
Read in April, 2008

First off, let me say that I doubt I would have heard of this book had it not been the April 2008 group read for the "Chicks on Lit" GoodReads club! Based on its' description, I wasn't entirely impressed but decided to give it a try! I was more encouraged after our local library director told me she'd read it and that it was well done and very interesting!

I picked up the book on April 1st and was done on April 7th! (That in and of itself says a lot! I don't know about you, but bad reads don't go fast for me!) What a rare and amazing read! Very few books leave me feeling as though I am better for having read them ~ this is one of those books!

This story is an artful blend of little known facts and fiction, about a woman named Mamah Borthwick Cheney, (Pronounced May-Mah!) who began a scandulous affair with reknowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the (early) 1900's after he designed and built a house for her and her then husband, Edwin Cheney. Mamah is an educated and passionate woman who wanted to live in ways that felt right to her, not in ways that society dictated at that time. (Feminism was close to her heart!) Mamah's relationship with Frank lasted until her death in 1914.

Given the subject matter and time period of the book, I didn't expect it to grab my attention right from the first pages, which it did! Perhaps because I too have desperately sought self-fulfillment and "true" love (and the balance of the two), I immediately related to Mamah's longings and restlessness. However, would I have had the courage to seek these things in Mamah's time, when Feminism was really beginning to take hold throughout the country (US)?! I'd like to think I would, though I'd also like to think that I would've gone about it in different ways than Mamah did, but "hindsight is always 20/20" and my own past indicates otherwise! (That's another story!)

Instead of asking for a divorce and leaving Edwin once she realized she had feelings for Frank, she initially began an intellectual affair, though once she has had her 2nd child, the affair becomes all encompassing and physical. Eventually she leaves her family for Europe to be with Frank. And so begins her painful quest for self identity and fulfillment and love.

It's easy for readers to be upset with Mamah's decisions, but instead of being upset or outraged, I felt painful understanding. I've been guilty of some the same types of decisions in my past! I haven't always made the best decisions when it came to relationships & my life, and my daughter before she passed. And as I said already, I know what it's like to so desperately want to be fulfilled and be loved at the same time! It's natual for us to react that way to what others do ~ then more often than not, we act in the same manner!

Whatever the case may be, this book is a wonderful achievement as a first novel! So well written! I traveled with ease throughout 7 or so years of Mamah's life, feeling her pain & joy, seeing the sights she saw, living the life she so courageously lived & fought for and mourned the loss of her and her children upon learning of their untimely and unfair passings.












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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Great review Jo! Makes me want to read this one!!


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Thanks Cindy! I ADORED this novel! In 2010, I'm going to make a point of re-reading @ least 1 all time fave & 1 new book each month and this is at the top of my re-read list!


Robin One of my favorite books and definitely worth reading. You will want to head to the library or search online for examples of FLW's architectural wonders.


message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy I am familiar with his talent because I work for an architectural firm. I am really looking forward to reading this one and sharing it with the architects in our office!


Robin There is also THE WOMEN by T. C. Boyle, which is also about FLW and his various relationships. I haven't read it but Boyle is an excellent writer and I've heard it's very good. It's been on my TBR list since it was published earlier this year.


message 6: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Robin wrote: "One of my favorite books and definitely worth reading. You will want to head to the library or search online for examples of FLW's architectural wonders."

I can't wait to visit my best friend who lives in Chicago so I can see the neighborhood(s) where much of the novel is set in!

Robin wrote: "There is also THE WOMEN by T. C. Boyle, which is also about FLW and his various relationships. I haven't read it but Boyle is an excellent writer and I've heard it's very good. It's been on my TB..."

Yes there is Robin and I'm hoping Santa will bring me a gift card to Barnes & Noble this year so I can get it! I can't wait!


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