- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1210 KB
- Print Length: 402 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345495004
- Publisher: Two Roads (13 Nov. 2008)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002VCR08U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Loving Frank Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Most novels deal with romance, hope, and redemption. Loving Frank is quite different because it displays a tragedy based on imagining the relationship between two real people, the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the wife of one of his clients, Mamah Borthwick Cheney, who left her husband and family to live with Wright. Beyond a few scraps of writing, we know little about Mamah Borthwick Cheney other than what a few friends and the excesses of journalists said about her. Even though I've read several books about Wright, I didn't get much of a sense about Mamah until reading this book. I thought that Nancy Horan did a fine job of bringing Mamah to life by imputing reasonable motives to her for the actions she is known to have taken.
Frank Lloyd Wright had a reputation for romancing the wives of his clients, but only Mamah left home and hearth for him . . . despite having a comfortable marriage and two children. Mamah appears to have seen this as an opportunity to become a fulfilled person by having a professional (she was a translator of feminist literature) and a personal life (with Frank) that was continually stimulating.
Why, then, is this a tragedy? Well, Mamah didn't end up doing nearly as much professionally as she hoped, and Wright was often not around . . . or not behaving as he should have. In addition, Mamah ended up being characterized by the press as a scarlet woman in a way that shamed all of her family and friends. Her leaving her family affected her children and herself in fundamental ways as well . . . the loss was substantial. Relations with her author were also strained. And her life ended in a tragic way. If you want to know more about the real events, I recommend Death in a Prairie House by William R. Drennan.
You can visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Oak Park, Illinois as it was constituted in 1909 when he left his family to be with Mamah. Her home is also nearby. In addition, you can tour Taliesin near Spring Green, Wisconsin to help you imagine what their life was like. I have been to all three locations and felt that background helped make the book more real to me.
In the end, I found myself wondering what Mamah would have to say about her life if she could be an independent observer. Was it worth it? Should she have chosen some other path?
Those who are looking for lots of romance between the two will be disappointed in the book. The scenes where both appear are often more about ideas and culture than they are about the relationship.
If you have Frank Lloyd Wright on a pedestal because he was a great architect, this book will help you see his feet of clay.
Frank himself could hardly be considered as a man who "blended into the landscape" and his unconventional affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, a married woman with two children, resulted in tragedy both personal and professional
Author Nancy Horan's historical novel takes you into the lives and minds of this unusual couple and explores their relationship and its effect the people who loved them as well as those on the periphery of their passion.
We are drawn into the inner thoughts of Mameh, an accomplished woman in her own right.....college graduate, fluent in several languages.....and her attempt to "stop standing on the side of life watching it float by" and instead "swim in the river and feel it's current". In an era when women were expected to quash any desire for personal growth and "act happy", Mameh's personal conflict forced her to make choices that provided temporary satisfaction, but were ultimately disasterous.
Could it be that you, like me, will become so consumed by Horan's vivid portrayal of this couple that you will find yourself searching the internet for more information about "what happened after" Horan's tale ends.
It's an easy read, although I thought the style of writing was disjointed. I found myself having to check back because I thought I had missed something! It is well researched and the author has used her imagination very well to fill in the gaps, letter writing, etc. However, the story just did not flow for me unfortunately.
I was expecting a love story, but I did not feel there was any chemistry between the two main characters. I thought the book was more about the female character of Mamah Cheney trying to find herself and I found her quite selfish. I thought she was very self-absorbed and could not understand how she could leave her two children.
The ending was very shocking - I was not expecting it as I knew nothing about this couple or their lives. It was interesting up to a point but not a book I would rave about.
Having said that, the content was interesting and I learned a lot about an architect who had previously been little more than an iconic name to me. Mamah Cheney I had not heard of but it's not hard to feel sympathy for the pair of them in the light of current tolerance - they were born in the wrong era!
Frank Lloyd Wright was a ground-breaking architect in the early twentieth century and his relationship with Mamah Cheney, the wife of a client, caused a tremendous scandal. Mamah made the huge decision to leave her husband and children to travel round Europe with Wright but even there, news began to reach them of the effect their scandalous behaviour was having on their families. On their return they were hounded by the press and it was it was impossible for them to have a normal relationship.
While in Europe, Mama had made contact with Ellen Key and it was her translation of Key's feminist writings that gave Mamah both moral support and her professional stimulus.
The dramatic ending is like something from a fiction novel and knowing little of the history of the couple, took me completely by surprise.
Recommended for lovers of Biographies.
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