[Ebook] ➨ Loving Frank By Nancy Horan – Uroturk.info
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 courage displayed here The I read the I yearned for some fiber of integrity to make its presence known in their consciousness, but no, that never happened.Frank and Mamah possessed incredible genius, intelligence and the drive to accomplish something noble My favorite Frank Lloyd Wright House is the Dana Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois and proclaimed by the former Ill Governor, Jim Thompson, to be the finest example of the creative and uniqueness characteristic of the Prairie School of Architecture Mamah s quest to achieve advancement in the woman movement as she termed it, was very admirable and seemingly so ahead of her time I was anticipating her breakthrough and was willing to relish her success yet my interest in her as a person waned as her character flaws inexorably mounted one upon the other The story near the end of the book crashes with a startling and unexpected twist I did not see it coming Nancy Horan s effort is a commendable mix of fact and fiction and fills in the blanks of a story that is typically unknown. 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 CurrentSo Writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney In Her Diary As She Struggles To Justify Her Clandestine Love Affair With Frank Lloyd Wright Four Years Earlier, In , Mamah And Her Husband, Edwin, Had Commissioned The Renowned Architect To Design A New Home For Them During The Construction Of The House, A Powerful Attraction Developed Between Mamah And Frank, And In Time The Lovers, Each Married With Children, Embarked On A Course That Would Shock Chicago Society And Forever Change Their Lives In This Ambitious Debut Novel, Fact And Fiction Blend Together Brilliantly While Scholars Have Largely Relegated Mamah To A Footnote In The Life Of America S Greatest Architect, Author Nancy Horan Gives Full Weight To Their Dramatic Love Story And Illuminates Cheney S Profound Influence On Wright Drawing On Years Of Research, Horan Weaves Little Known Facts Into A Compelling Narrative, Vividly Portraying The Conflicts And Struggles Of A Woman Forced To Choose Between The Roles Of Mother, Wife, Lover, And Intellectual Horan S Mamah Is A Woman Seeking To Find Her Own Place, Her Own Creative Calling In The World Mamah S Is An Unforgettable Journey Marked By Choices That Reshape Her Notions Of Love And Responsibility, Leading Inexorably Ultimately Lead To This Novel S Stunning Conclusion Elegantly Written And Remarkably Rich In Detail, Loving Frank Is A Fitting Tribute To A Courageous Woman, A National Icon, And Their Timeless Love Story 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 an ending I won t say a peep about other than to say IT IS RIVETING is true.Sooo if you know nothing about the tryst, read about it in this book because it makes it that much magical.Remarkably, this is Horan s first book and it is beautiful She managed to put pieces together of a puzzle that equates to an unbelievable love story but also one that is so true to the time period And for a story about adulterers early 20th century adulterers no less , her even handed approach to the story leaves you feeling both the joy and sorrow for these two individuals for what they were never allowed to really have.PS I ll just add that I know a writer has done a remarkable job when I finish a book and feel so compelled by it that I have to know about the characters, the settings, etc Horan has me wanting to read everything about FLW, Taliesin and Mamah Cheney that I can PPS I often write these reviews right after finishing a book, so sorry if I gushed quite a bit I so wish I could talk about this book with someone else, so people, GET ON IT 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 jacket recommendations were phoney sounding Elizabeth Berg wrote, this character will live on in my heart and soul for the rest of my life I don t know about THAT Someone else, Scott Turrow perhaps I highly doubt he read the whole book called it a brave first novel Okay, I m with him although it woudl have been braver still to do some creative flash backing at some point to keep the reader from yawning about pre war feminism and know that the end of the love affair was goign to rattle her the reader s cage.If I were a blurbist, I d write Horan s readable historical novel delves into the concepts of freedom versus self absorption, creativy against egomania, and the price one pays, in any era, for happiness Although she lived her brave, even racy life 100 years ago, Mamah Borthwick s struggles are not unlike women today Her story is compelling from its safe, tidy Chicago suburban beginning to its sudden, jarring end A great book club read. 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 with an outrageous passion until she died I may have been a little in love with him myself when I left that remarkable house Loving Frank is a fictional recreation of the true story of the adulterous affair with Wright that pulled Mamah Cheney away from her young children, her husband, and their prosperous, comfortable life in Oak Park, Illinois Wright himself was married, the father of six children, and a rising young architect The two were drawn together in 1903 when Wright designed a house for the Cheneys Mamah Borthwick was a scholar and feminist when she married Edwin Cheney, and one of the things Nancy Horan does best in this tumultuous novel is to show how the egotistical, charismatic Wright reawakens her desire to be than simply a mother and wife to dream dreams impossible for those whose existences are constrained by convention Horan also brings to life Mamah s terrible dilemma how to create and sustain a life based on passion when that means giving up her two children, whom she also deeply loves And Horan tellingly illuminates the conflicted relationship between Mamah and Ellen Key, a Swedish feminist and writer whose liberal ideas about sex, marriage, and child care were far ahead of her time Loving Frank is all the remarkable because it is Nancy Horan s first novel The pace and intensity may lag a bit in the middle and drop off after the tragic events of 1914 And since this is a life based fiction, I might have wished for a detailed documentation of sources Still, these are minor reservations about what is overall a fine achievement, a rich, compellingly imaginative work that allows us to see into the private emotional lives of two intriguing people the man who significantly influenced American architecture for over fifty years, and the woman who loved him. 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 sheltered life We had both graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees and were beginning careers Our employer trained us in downtown Chicago We had an infant daughter and needed someone to care for her daytimes while we went to the Loop Fortunately, my wife s uncle and aunt lived in a suburb, so we lodged in a motel nearby and Aunt Mary graciously took care of our daughter I recall becoming acquainted with Frank Lloyd Wright and Oak Park, a Chicago neighborhood, about that time I believe we drove through Oak Park, where he built his first home Perhaps we even saw the house This was in the 1970s, well after the time of Mamah s story The complexion of society had changed Anyway, the experience with Wright made my reading of this book compelling I had not realized Wright s character flaws before I only knew of his architectural genius Of course, I knew nothing of Mamah Borthwick She was a complete unknown I also knew nothing of Wright s family life Mamah Borthwick, the protagonist, is the classical tragic character It is odd how one as gifted as Wright was artistically and architecturally could screw up life with his family and his lover so much If Mamah is the protagonist, and she is, Wright is far and away the antagonist, although not the only one Selfishness hangs right in there, too Mamah is a dupe, and Wright is a manipulator and a narcissist The reason I believe Mamah comes across as a fool is because of some of the stupid thing she says and does In her married life, a nanny cares for her kids When Mamah has them alone on a train and one becomes ill, she s clueless what to do, wondering what her nanny would do with the child And this is feminism Ignorant Incompetent She abandons her children when they need her most so she can become a mistress to Frank Floyd Wright I am putty in your hands, so quickly, she says In other words, she s infatuated, drunken with passion, but not deeply in love Not committed She tells her kids, I m going on a small vacation that lasts two years just for me Uh huh And who was that other guy with you on vacation Her decision is, in her estimation, not cruel self indulgence but love for life The children will be better off with happy parents, i.e with a selfish mother Besides everything else, Mamah s husband, Edwin, is simply a terrific guy Given the choice and perhaps a sex change operation I wouldn t have minded marrying him myself And then, given the life of leisure his profession afforded, I d indulge my feminist whims Mamah s feminism certainly didn t seem enhanced or facilitated by Frank She supposedly loved Frank with every cell in her body Hmmm I wonder She threatens to leave him if he doesn t change Yet doesn t he mold her just the way he wants her Frank tells her she makes him want to be a better man, but all the while he remains deceitful and arrogant, manipulating and lording it over people that work for him, people for whom he works, and his family When my wife and I left the West and our family roots for Illinois, we said goodbye to a sheltered existence for one out there, enlightened and free We made the trip together, with our daughter While it was frowned upon where we came from for a mother to work and to leave a child with a babysitter in order to pursue work, my wife did so, not altogether happy about it And I think all of us, including my daughter profited by it Loving Frank is a book that posits infatuation and self love over against enduring, sacrificial love No matter the era, in my estimation, the stamina to stay wins out over caprice and whimsy Enduring love trumps infatuation and lust Fling or family Putty in your hands doesn t seem very feminist to me I enjoyed reading and thinking about this a lot. 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 her heartbreak about her children She should feel guilty and she got no sympathy from me She made the choice Another review I read wondered about the message of what makes a better parent the present, but emotionally bereft one, or the absent one living a full life I didn t think Mamah was either Her life was full once she left, but only full of her and I don t think the children benefited from it And definitely not in the long run How gruesome I m glad I did some reading up on Mamah before I reached the end of the novel, so at least I knew it was coming.The writing itself was quite solid for the most part The romantic dialogue, however, was just painful, as were any of the mushier passages, whether it was Mamah reflecting on Frank or the last part where he reflected on her It took away from what was quite interesting otherwise.My MIL is one of the tour guides for the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park I don t remember any of this getting mentioned, so it s interesting that the social niceties still must be observed in that little town, even after all these years. 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 written books, and yet I still am not their target audience I felt I had a good book I was not built to enjoy.Loving Frank does deftly weave facts about FLW s and Mameh Borthwick s culture and history in the late 1800s and early 1900s Horan formulates a clear feeling for their post Victorian lives in Oak Park, Illinois There is also a strong sense that many of the letters, newspaper articles, and correspondence are based in truth, if not verbatim.Horan is also fairly deft at describing the ideas or concepts of Wright s design Though, admittedly, Horan is better at the metaphor than she is at the practical description of his buildings I found myself looking up pictures online to understand what Horan meant by her poetic turns of structural phrase Also, Wright s full history and affect on American architecture are only scattered piecemeal throughout the book, requiring the reader to formulate a biographical timeline that doesn t exist in the book.Perhaps the best part of the book is that Loving Frank helps the reader ponder important questions of about feminism, marriage, and self destiny So, why was I frustrated reading this book Much of the book is framed as an angst riddled romantic novel Wright and Borthwick spend so many pages wallowing in their lovelorn conundrums that the emotions start to feel like a second rate Wuthering Heights Also, Horan has a journalism background, and yet she is not concise or to the point Loving Frank is fairly indirect and long winded It is as if the larger picture of this famous relationship got lost in reporting on the minutiae every telegraph and newspaper article Many chapters blather on as some variation of the chapters before nothing new is raised, or if it is, it ends up being inconsequential to the whole story.Many people would love this book They would find such tangential and thorough emotional writing a joy to explore They would sink themselves into such a book, reveling in the details, feeling as if they really got to know everything about these two interesting historical figures I found myself digging for new information, new insight, data outside of the drippy emotions These things I longed for are buried somewhere deep in there, in between the long bouts of romance and long paragraphs of navel gazing reflection and guilt riddled self flagellation, on a few of the pages of this 54 chapter, 356 page book I could have just done without the bodice ripping sections. 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 to find her true self, her own calling in the world, marked by choices that reshape her as a person Wright is commissioned to build a portfolio which he works on diligently They both long for their children but feel that they are deeply in love and cannot leave each other.The story was well written and told about this woman in Wright s life who deeply impacted him and his work She is usually ignored in the biographies of Wright When they move to Wisconsin and build their home there is always the press seeking them out while they strive for privacy Eventually Edwin gives Mamah a divorce and allows the children to visit in summer Wright visits his children rarely in Oak Park although his oldest son is now working with him.The end of the story is tragic and unpredictable.I would highly recommend this book and will look forward to books from this author. 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 meeting of the minds , my one true love and soulmate experience Call me unromantic, but there is no feminist excuse for a grown woman to leave her very young kids to have a fulfilling life as some architect s soulmate and to be a translator for a bitter Swedish spinster I m not sure, in the end, if the writer was trying to make this romance appear as ridiculous as it turned out, or if she thought this was a truly moving story I really was not moved I had no sympathy for any of the characters, except the husband, wife and children that the adulterers deserted The book sort of redeemed itself later, once Mahmah finally called Wright out for being an egotistical jackass I breathed a sigh of relief and didn t have a problem finishing it The ending was good and the only really interesting part of the book I can think of so many better ways this story could have been written For example, why not make it about how difficult it was for a woman to get a divorce and still have access to her children What about writing in some of Wright s wife s perspective, which I m sure would have been dramatic What about focusing on the ending, which was a story in itself I will say that I tend to dislike books with a lot of descriptive narrative This one has a lot, and I m sure that is part of why I disliked it.