Monday, August 23, 2010

Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan has been on list after list of recommended reads so I thought it high time I see for myself. It's a work of historic fiction. The Frank, in this case, is architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Loving Frank follows the story of Mamah Cheney, a client of his that he has an affair with (while leaving a wife and nine children at home) and eventually they make a life together causing great scandal at the turn of the century.

Horan does a terrific job in her portryal of Wright as a womanizing, difficult man. She really captures Mamah's feelings of despair at leaving her children behind and second guessing the decision she has made to run off with Frank. The pair spend a couple years in Europe and she does not see her children at all during that time period. Mamah spends her days trying to find her own identity apart of Frank's intense work life. Eventually, they move back to the states so that Frank can construct his famed Taliesin studio in Wisconsin. Mamah's fragile relationship with her children is slowly repaired until......well, I certainly won't ruin the ending of it for you.

I knew almost nothing of Frank Lloyd Wright's extramarital affairs and I certainly knew nothing of Mamah Cheney before reading Loving Frank. I really enjoyed this one. Having no prior knowledge of the events at Taliesin, I was not prepared for the ending of this book. I also really liked the sympathy Horan was able to evoke for Mamah, even though she did abandon her husband and children in an awful fashion. Even if you're not really into historical fiction, I think this one is worth reading.

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