Loving Frank

In My Book Club Books on April 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm


 by Nancy Horan

Publisher’s Summary:

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. 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.


Book Club Discussion: I would say we all enjoyed reading this book and agreed that it was full of things to discuss – definitely a good choice for a book club group!  We were all impressed with the amount of research that went into writing this book, how she gathered together all of the facts and weaved a very plausible story. Both main characters were definitely flawed, both having left their respective spouses and children (eight between them), to carry on their affair until Mamah’s untimely death. Of the two, however, Frank garnered the least sympathy and understanding. We all agreed he was a jerk of the highest order (not  our exact words, but close enough). A main point of discussion was the fact that Mamah could leave her children for FLW. How would that Mamah be perceived in today’s society? Have we as women progressed beyond the ideas of Mamah’s time? Was what she did acceptable in terms of her right to live a life that is more fulfilling for her? Sadly, we agreed that women are still held to different standards from men even today, and women’s rights haven’t advanced nearly enough in the hundred years that have passed since Mamah’s time. Definitely thought provoking questions that yielded lively discussion.

More details of our meeting: Our book club discussion took place over dinner. In addition to an Easter themed table setting, a Frank Lloyd Wright design piece took center stage.IMG_6990



Book Club Wisconsin Cheese Inspired Menu

Hors d’oeuvres: cheeses/crackers, hummus/pita chips, green onion dip and vegetables, blue cheese popcorn
Main Course: Coconut Lime Chicken Soup with Dutch Crunch Bread
Chop Chop Salad
Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese
Dessert: Chocolate Fondue with Fruit, Pound Cake and Angel Food Cake




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