Reccommendation: Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan

9 Apr



Not much is known about famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s affair with client Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Of course, at the time the scandal was covered copiously in the press, but this account is sensationalized beyond recognition. Nancy Horan, a long time resident of Oak Park, the Chicago suburb where Frank and Mamah both lived, has delved into this story, bringing it to life in her novel, Loving Frank. Horan remains as faithful as she can to the historical relationship using what little she was able to discover about Mamah and Frank.

Horan’s prose is straightforward and clear. The story progresses mostly linearly with a few gaps in time. As the title suggests, it is a love story, but beyond that it also touches on the themes of what it is to be an artist, a woman, a mother, a genius and most importantly, an individual who lives honestly.

“Tell me everything” he said. Tell me everything. He might as well have said ‘take your dress off'”

“Twelve. Oh I was just the right age then, I think. Smarter than I ever was before or since. There were no grays. I worshipped my father. I loved my dog. I adored reading.”

“It is the woman who has wholly desired, wholly loved and yes, often wholly sinned. Almost invariably it is the woman who  breaks out of the cage, or the ark, or the dollhouse… For Ibsen there is no higher moral law than the devotion of the personality to its ideal.”

-From “The Torpedo Under the Ark: Ibsen and Women” by Ellen Key, feminist philosopher as translated by Mamah Borthwick Cheney

Taliesin, Frank and Mamah's home in Spring Green, WI

Of course, that’s only my opinion, here’s a great post on the same book from the blog, Book A Week


One Response to “Reccommendation: Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan”


  1. Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park « That Curious Love of Green - August 7, 2010

    […] in Oak Park.  Some may remember my interest in Wright and Oak Park was sparked by the book Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. After reading the book I looked into prices for the annual housewalk. […]

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