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Loving Frank

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  95,436 ratings  ·  9,569 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
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Linda Lou I would not be so quick to judge unless you have walked in her shoes...different times and yet the same. I was married for 22 years, divorced for 15 a…moreI would not be so quick to judge unless you have walked in her shoes...different times and yet the same. I was married for 22 years, divorced for 15 and remarried the love of my life for 7. No other man was involved. I was dying inside and I did not want to die so I had to leave. I know this story may be different than mine but then again the same. We, as women are very quick to eat our own. It is one of the reasons we are so far behind.(less)
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)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Apr 16, 2008 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
Dec 16, 2007 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
May 03, 2008 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
Aug 03, 2007 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 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 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
Sep 21, 2007 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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Frank Lloyd Wright's relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney from 1902 to 1911.

They began their affair when Mamah and her then husband Edwin Cheney commissioned Wright to build their Oak Park home. Their attraction was immediate and continued until Mamah became pregnant with a daughter. Not too long after her daughter was born, they commenced their clandestine affair.

Eventually they moved to Europe, each leaving behind families and lived in Europe for 2 years. Mamah sought
Jun 19, 2008 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
This is the perfect example of a well done historical novel... based on facts, the story was very well researched, well-written, and well thought out. Not to mention an experience thoroughly appreciate what made this ingenious man.

I have long been interested in Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture. I discovered this book while perusing the library for other biographies of my favorite architect (the nonfiction sort). It was quite a pleasant detour. An immersive endeavor to fully understand his pers
Oct 29, 2008 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
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
I never was aware about the life of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick..I only knew of his talents as an architect.

It was a good read, but how could ANYONE leave their children and run off with another me that was totally irresponsible and unthinkable.

She may have re-thought her decision the last time she went to visit her children since they almost totally ignored her and were just being polite, but it was too late.

And....the ending....oh my...what a question, though,
Dec 07, 2009 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
Deacon Tom F
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A smashing success!

Loving Frank is a spectacular work of historical fiction based on events relating to the love affair of the brilliant and controversial architect Frank Lloyd Wright and one of his clients, Mamah Borthwick Cheney.

The author goes to incredible detail to include actual events, letters and newspaper clippings. Additionally she details the roots of the woman's movement with strong female characters in Europe and the USA.

Being a huge fan of Wright, I have background about his work
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even if you don’t have any particular interest in architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this carefully crafted and lovingly written historical novel is well worth reading. Mamah (“May-muh”) Borthwick Cheney and her husband Edwin hired Wright to design their suburban Chicago home in 1903, and in 1907 she and Wright embarked on an affair. The novel covers roughly the next seven years of their lives, and is particularly illuminating about relationships, the rights of women and the morality code of the time ...more
No, I didn't love Frank. Wasn't seduced by his character. Maybe this is why I didn't love this novel. ...more
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
Kathryn in FL
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this upon its release in 2007. I liked the historical aspect but the book as a whole wasn't as stunning as I originally anticipated. I would recommend this to those who are interested in the topic but don't expect it to be 5 stars... ...more
Aug 28, 2008 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
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.

Dec 17, 2007 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
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
Sep 06, 2008 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 ful ...more
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
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it

This book details the love affair between the eccentric (and married) Frank Lloyd Wright and one of his married clients Mamah Cheney over a period of 7 years during the early 1900's when such behavior was highly criticized and publicized following them around wherever they travelled. Throughout the book, Mamah struggles with her decision to leave her two young children behind, but continues her journey with Frank, a self-absorbed, arrogant lier who often didn't pay his carpenters and ch
Oct 24, 2008 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
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You might say this is the story of Mamah Borthwick, a young woman who, in the early nineteen teens, wanted to make a difference and do great things. So she turned her life upside down to live an authentic and honest life. Or as her sister remarked, went off to discover her personality. Or you might say Mamah, a happily married woman turned her life upside down, abandoning her steady and loving husband, her comfortable life, and her children to attach herself to a married man with whom she’d fall ...more
Mar 31, 2014 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
Susan (aka Just My Op)
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
Aug 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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Loving Your Enemies 1 1 Jul 15, 2020 08:29AM  
Play Book Tag: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan 4 stars 1 10 Jan 16, 2020 03:37PM  
Play Book Tag: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan - 3 stars 5 16 Jan 01, 2019 05:05AM  
Play Book Tag: Loving Frank - Nancy Noran - 4 stars 2 21 Jan 23, 2018 10:41AM  
Loving Frank packs a punch 16 255 Jan 05, 2017 07:18AM  

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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.

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“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.” 114 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.” 25 likes
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