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Most Helpful Favorable Review
13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.
Disliked the characters--Loved the book!!
posted by NanaBeth_PA on May 5, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.
a waste of time
posted by Anonymous on August 20, 2008Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2010
Disliked the characters--Loved the book!!
If I disliked Mamah (and I did), why do I feel so shocked and bothered? Nancy Horan does an amazing job, starting with her exhaustive research, in bringing these two characters back to life with all their warts. The enigma for me is that a woman depicted as being ahead of her time in espousing women's rights would sacrifice everything dear to her for the "love" of a man. With her intelligence and many wonderful gifts, Mamah could have lead a rich and exciting life; but instead, she ended up living a life secluded from the things and people she loved most. Whether it was her intention or not, the author does a good job of showing how decisions we make based on our own needs and gratification can have far reaching and unexpected consequences for those close to us and even for peripheral persons in our lives. The ending was unexpected and jarring. I loved this book for many reasons which surprised me because, as I said, I could not like Mamah or Frank. A great bood for discussion!
13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2010
Nicely done, Nancy Horan!
Loving Frank charts the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and his "muse" Mamah Borthwick Cheney from 1907 to 1914. It follows the couple through their travels in the Midwest and Europe as they search for a home-- or at least a place where they won't be persecuted outright for their affair. Centering on the tragic figure of Mamah, the book offers insights into both characters, Frank Lloyd Wright's growth as an architect during the period, and the time itself.
Nancy Horan does a great job of painting a picture of the world Frank and Mamah were forced to navigate near the turn of the 20th century. In a strictly puritanical culture that censored women of a certain class who attempted to be anything other than wives and mothers and certainly did not support divorce, the two of them were virtual pariahs for much of their time together. Horan's research is meticulous and her recreation of Mamah Borthwick Cheney impressive, especially as nearly all of Mamah's writing was destroyed when she died. She does take a few glaring creative liberties as she details Mamah heartrending several of the bohemian literary lights of the age, but it's an excellent way to introduce these people as fascinating subjects in their own right. One small disappointment in Horan's research is that she does little to make the reader understand how truly extraordinary and privileged Mamah's life leading up to her first encounter with Frank truly was. She had access to automobiles and education, the opportunity to travel and live on her own away from her parents, and many other significant privileges and opportunities available to few women in her day.
For me, the book presented an interest dynamic whereby I detested the main characters, more for their thoughtless self-absorption than for any flaw in their execution, but was engrossed by the story itself. Even though I read it for a book club, I would have finished it anyway if only to see what happened next. An excellent read for anyone interested in Frank Lloyd Wright, the history of Chicago, or looking for an account of an insider in the early American Woman's Movement. Highly recommended.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2010
Loving "Loving Frank"
Loving Frank introduced two central personalities. Frank Lloyd Wright is someone I've known of, but was never particulary interested in. My main lack of interest in him, was due to the fact that I never particularly cared for his style of architecture. Mamah Borthwick was someone I've never heard of; however, after reading Loving Frank, I feel I knew her intimately. This book took subjects I had no past interest in, and brought them to life in a very enjoyable fashion. I can't say I always agreed with her choices, but I understood how she came to make them. I was particularly interested in how difficult those choices made her, and his, life. Nancy Horan has done an admirable job of combining history and fiction, and I look forward to another novel she may write.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2010
Don't research before reading!
After reading this book, I did a little research on Frank Lloyd Wright. He must have been quite a character with charism coming out his pores! He had several women in love with him over his life time.
I read this book on a recommendation from my sister. I knew nothing about it. I had studied Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture in college and thought it might be of some interest. Well, I couldn't put it down. I won't go into any detail, because I don't want to give anything away. I do have a warning. Do not read anything about this book. Do not do any research before hand on the characters, or it will spoil the ending.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2013
Posted October 13, 2013
Posted September 20, 2009
A Liberated Woman Has a Tough Time in 1909
Who was the woman who gave up her home and family when she chose to live with Frank Lloyd Wright? This novel answers that question with honesty and crisp detailed writing that brings the past alive. Of course, I knew the basic story: she was a client, between them they had nine children, Wright's wife did not allow a divorce, creating a scandal which gripped Chicago at the turn of the century.
I did not know that Mamah Borthwick Cheney spoke multiple languages and learned Swedish to translate Ellen Key's essays imploring women to live an authentic life by being true to their emotional and intellectual nature. Had Mamah been less of a self-contained and highly educated intellectual she probably would have found the isolation manifested by the scandal more difficult to experience.
Ah ... and the ending. Shocking.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2014
"They were alive. Together"
When I started this book, I had cursery knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright, and knew nothing of his personal life. I knew of Martha Borthwick Chaney from her translations of Swedish Feminist Philosophy in passing footnotes in grad school.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I rarely am captivated by novelized biography (historical fiction is a whole other matter: that I love) but this story is intriguing on many levels. Expectations of the property roles of women, abstract/modernism, 'free love', archectecture breaking the expected molds. Both Wright and Borthwick had the means to live as they chose. One could imagine what might happen if they hadn't. And the press was ruthless even in those days......
This isn't an easy book. Read the source info and acknowledgements to see how difficult it was to write. Its a really good read
Posted August 22, 2013
Enjoyable ... especially for someone familiar with Oak Park and FLW
I remembered that years ago EVERYONE on the train was reading this book - now I know why. Great love story and historical insight into a time when extra-marital relationships were out of the ordinary and women were better seen and not heard. Facinating insight into the life of Frank Lloyd Wright.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2011
Posted May 16, 2011
Posted April 27, 2011
Posted November 27, 2010
A Tornado of Personal Destruction
Loving Frank, A Novel by Nancy Horan, is not about Frank Lloyd Wright, not really. Rather it is about what loving can do to a life and to the lives surrounding a whirlwind. In her afterword to this reimagination of Mamah Borthwick's love affair with Wright, Horan cites a quote about Ibsen that "the proof of a person's greatness is 'the power to stand alone; to be able .to make his own choice; ., choose his own sacrifices, run his own dangers, win his own freedom, venture his own destruction, choose his own happiness.'" This is precisely what Mamah does. Like Nora in The Dollhouse, she walks out. To keep us all from wondering what will happen next however, Horan, drawing from the historical record, from documents from Wright's life, from some writings and letters from Mamah, has created a possible 'ever after'. And for seven years it was mostly 'ever after' until Mamah's and six others' untimely murder by the household help.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Despite the grandeur of the opening quote the question remains if destroying the lives of others in seeking your own happiness is indeed ennobling, enriching, fulfilling or whether it is just selfish and self-justifying. Wright and Mamah destroyed networks of relationships. They were a tornado of personal destruction: Mamah left her young niece who was her ward, her own two children, her husband, and her sister who took over caring for the abandoned family. She literally left her children. She had taken them from their father to Boulder, Colorado just before she made the final irreversible split with her husband, Edwin, and sailed to Europe to join Wright. So she just leaves her small children with her friend Mattie; she goes to Europe where she remains for nearly two years. At the same time Wright flees his wife, and four children. Conclusion: There are broken hearts and lives strewn everywhere in the aftermath of loving Frank.
I disagree with the Ibsen quote. A person's greatness is the strength to stand alone, but stand for what: to make your own choice, to decide for yourself which are your sacrifices, your dangers, your freedom, your destruction, OK but do you get to decide for others? Is it nobler to pay your bills or drain your creditors? Do you get to impose the consequences of your dangers, destructions, sacrifices on your spouse, your children, your sisters, your friends? Or do you take freedom from them? A good book for more detailed discussion.
Posted March 27, 2010
Disappointing characters, shocking ending
I still can't decide if I liked or loved this book. It was a page turner for sure. I wish I knew more about Wright because I think the author depicted him as an arrogant, eccentric, yet extremely childish, man. His behavior throughout most of the book got on my nerves. Yet, the letter he wrote to the paper in the end, seemed so eloquent and well thought out. The behavior of Mamah was disappointing to me as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I was warned beforehand that this book has an unexpected ending and WOW does it ever! Absolutely shocking!
Posted February 25, 2010
Posted February 23, 2010
I Also Recommend:
Interesting and intriguing...
Overall this was a great read. The beginning and ending sections of the book were very interesting and hard to put down...but the middle of the book was a little boring. This is an intriguing story of how far two people will go for love. I didn't know it was a true story until I was already into the book. Very sad ending.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Not what I expected
I wasn't very excited when my book club chose this book. I couldn't imagine a book about an architect being interesting. Was I ever surprised to find that it was more a love story and about the consequences that people must deal with as a result of their actions. It was even more compelling due to the fact that it was created out of actual events. Almost everyone in our book group looked up Frank Lloyd Wright when they were finished reading. It was an excellent book to generate thought and discussion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2010
Life behind the Frank Lloyd Wright we know
Although there were aspects that the author had to read into her historical finds on Frank Lloyd Wright, she did so as accurately as anyone could. She took on the hard questions as to just what some people did when they found themselves unhappy and happy in a forbidden relationship as well as a traditional relationship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Especially so, in a personality that we knew was innovative and a star in archectiture. The author wove the story without criticism or judgment. After researching this man a little myself, I found her to be accuracte in her story line and a good read for book clubs as well as conversation among other readers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Fictionalized story of long-standing romance
Dramatic rendering of Frank and his well-to-do mistress of many years, Mamah Borthwick. Today their story would hardly raise an eybrow, but then, their sorid details maid the fron page of may newspapers. They lived their love, and this story puts us right in the middle of the relationship.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2010
Interesting read on a talented person
I have always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture but his personal life almost overshadows it. He was a lover with many flaws not the least of which was his philandering. Highly recommend this book for a an intriguing read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.