Book Reviews of Loving Frank

Loving Frank
Loving Frank
Author: Nancy Horan
ISBN-13: 9780345494993
ISBN-10: 0345494997
Publication Date: 8/7/2007
Pages: 384
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 80

3.6 stars, based on 80 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

90 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Loving Frank on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
Well-told story blending historical accounts and fictional details about the sensationalized relationship of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Horan allows you to delve into Mamah's psyche (as she sees how Mamah Cheney may have felt). Powerful and gripping - not a book I will soon forget.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
I found this book absolutely enthralling from beginning to the end. It was quite interesting to read about a feminist in the beginning of the 1900's and her struggles with her personal decisions. It was very well written and I am interested to see what else this author will write.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 234 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
The book definitely picked up at the end. I struggled getting through it in the beginning though. This book was written as a piece of fiction, however it is based on events that did happen in Frank Lloyd Wright's life. The author appeared to write as close to the historical facts as possible, but did fill in the gaps with how she imagined Mamah and Frank's love life played out. Franky Lloyd Wright's architectural elements were described throughout the story as his homes he designed, in the novel, were described well by the author. If you are a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, it is worth reading, if not, this may be a book to pass up.
reviewed Loving Frank on
Helpful Score: 7
Not being familiar with the particulars of Wright's life, I was stunned by the ending to this book. The ending made me weep, and I remained weepy for at least 24 hours. Otherwise, it's a wonderfully told story.
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Helpful Score: 6
I had a hard time with what seems nonessential details, there were times I wondering why I was reading this seemingly trivial information. However, this information becomes important as you read on, weaving strands together and seeing the significance in understanding the characters. I had toured some of Wrights work but was completely unaware of the tragic and horrifying scenario that took place at Talesin. I then googled him and found even more "stranger than fiction" details about many other periods and events in his life. Nancy Horan did her homework and stayed close to essence of Mamah.
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Helpful Score: 4
While fictional, I think there is enough factual basis to create an interesting glimpse into the drama that surrounded Frank Lloyd Wright during his affair with Mamah Cheney and the birth of Taliesin in Wisconsin. Wright fans may not like the portrait painted of him, however true Wrightophiles will not hear any accusations that have not been leveled before.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This was a great read! It read much like a novel, rather than a non-fiction book. The story about the love affair between Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright is recounted through the eyes of Mamah. She was such an intriguing and educated lady for that time period. The book gave me a real insight into that period in time. It is a must read for those interested in women's issues and Chicago history.
reviewed Loving Frank on
Helpful Score: 3
A great read. The characters are well-drawn. The story is paced well and interesting. If you enjoy or appreciate architecture you will love this book!
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Helpful Score: 3
I did not like this story. It's about a love affair and how irresponsible people can be. This woman Mamah Cheney follows her impulses and has an affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. The author implies that this was perfectly okay for them to do this and to throw away their marriages even though they have 9 children between the two of them. If Frank was my husband I would be bitterly disappointed. Mamah Cheney was an extremely irresponsible Mother leaving her children behind and when she takes off to Europe and doesn't see them for two years. I didn't finish the book.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
WOW what a well written book with a huge twist at the end.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
WOW!! I love reading and listening to books that have historical undertones and this did not disappoint. I loved how the author was able to make you feel like you were in the same room with the characters. Regardless of how you view the morals of the subjects, you will get attached to them. I unfortunately, was not aware of the entire story - needless to say I was shocked, but still hold this depiction in very high regard.
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Helpful Score: 2
I did not read the history of the characters of this book, so I found myself shocked by the ending.
Excellent book! I would suggest NOT doing research before reading. Good book!
reviewed Loving Frank on + 106 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I have to begin with a WOW. What a story! I just love historical fiction with a strong female character, and boy did I get what I wanted. Highly recommend. I found myself looking up architectural references constantly, and being in awe each time. This author really did her homework, and provides us with a rich, detailed, emotional tale with characters we really care about. Amazing!
reviewed Loving Frank on + 718 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I absolutely loved this book! Great writing about an aspect of Frank Lloyd Wright's life that I was unfamiliar with. It was so interesting reading about a time when women did not have the vote and were merely extensions of their husbands. I felt the pain and frustration with her life that Mamah Cheney felt AND her justified frustrations with Frank as he lived a grandiose lifestyle that included not paying his bills while espousing the rights of the "little man", the same people he was not paying. An amazing book about an amazing man and woman early in the 20th Century. If you are looking for a love story, look elsewhere. This is not so much about love as what drove these two people to enter into a love affair that ultimately destroyed so many lives.
reviewed Loving Frank on
Helpful Score: 2
I was captivated by the story. FLW was a very eccentric person and his story was awsome. It is a story or romance and his ability to lure a woman away from her husband and children, his creative talents and the trials to accomplish, his influence on modern simplicity is still present in today's architecture.

Mamah was a revoutionalry woman coming into her own and defying the stricter beliefs of a woman was a mans possession. She became a free spirit and blossomed battleing for womens rights and freedom of life. The story is about her life with Frank Lloyd Wright and their passion for each other, the trials and struggles of being a fallen woman, and the surprise tragity in their life. I couln'dt put it down. Read and enjoy.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book a lot. Had a hard time putting it down. Mamah Borthwick Cheney as the lead player in this story, is a wonderful character study with great depth and passion for truth, love and freedom, particularly woman's freedom in the world. It's also the story of her longtime love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright, an affair that certainly had its ups and downs yet was saddled with the restraints of her century's ideas about women and marriage.

More than a story about Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick's love affair, it is one woman's journey through life's twists and turns in life during the last century......in light of loving Frank. Fiction based on some facts, the book kept me interested from many angles; a woman's life during this era, Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas about art and architecture, their love story and how society viewed this scandal and also the growth of Mamah's wisdom and world views. And yet, the ending was such a surprise and developed so quickly that it seemed like a post script. That was unsettling for me.
reviewed Loving Frank on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I did not like this book. Poetic meandering through a series of bad choices.
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Helpful Score: 1
Tried this several times, just couldn't get into it. And I find the architect fascinating. Too bad I didn't love this one.
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Helpful Score: 1
Ive had this novel on my to read list for years, and when it came up as something to read for my February book club read, I was really excited to finally pick it up. The basic story is a semi-fictionalized account of the time Mamah Borthwich spends with Frank Lloyd Wright after meeting him when she and her husband at the time, Edwin Cheney, hire Frank to build a new house for them. The novel starts essentially as Mamah is realizing her attraction to Frank, and from there it follows the story of what both of them ultimately decide to do about their interest in one another.

I found this to be a fascinating story, particularly because our main characters are real people so much of the pieces of this book were lifted from the real life scandal. The author used bits from actual newspaper stories at the time, and I was a little shocked to see just how narrow the view was of a divorced woman in the United States just a century ago. Sometimes I forget that things have progressed a long way for this country in general, but particularly for women.

To read the rest of my review, please visit my blog.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating and gripping book. I learned a great deal about Wright, and early 20th C femininsm. Throughout, I felt a tension between rooting for Mamah and Frank, and questioning the responsibility of their decisions. The author describes the painful internal conflict experienced by Mamah, but it still might be hard for many readers not to judge the characters. Nevertheless, or perhaps in part because of this, the book is definitely thought provoking. Interesting insights into the life and mind of an artistic genius. In the end, we must ask, how much does chance dictate all our lives?
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Helpful Score: 1
I have been intrigued by Frank Lloyd Wright for a very long time. I remember visiting Oak Park with my fellow design students in college. It was an eye opening experience into the world of a genius whose designs still seem innovative and modern today. I remember trying to picture the men and women of the era walking around amidst these modern homes. This book transports you to that time and into the intense inner world of Mr. Wright. I loved the story and I appreciate that it was based on historical events. The relationships between the characters are intense and the themes of their struggle for happiness are not unlike those of couples today.
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Helpful Score: 1
What a read!!! Although many have read this, I do not know why this book is not in greater demand. It is based on truth with some fiction to fill in. The story of an affair of Frank Loyd Wright and Mamah Chaney. Although it is about a life style i do not condone, it is what it is, and an interesting bit of history to boot. Well written, attention holding and i found myself reading fast to find out the ending. Mr Wright was no different than many of our country's greatest men, he did what he did, was exposed, and someone wrote a book about it. No changing history now, reading about it was fascinating. Loved it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Wow, I liked this book much more than I had expected. It was an historically accurate depiction of Frank Lloyd Wright's life during this period of time (about 1903-14). But the book was also a thought-provoking novel about a woman's role and the impact of her choices on others. I appreciated the fact that the author portrayed the main characters as flawed human beings. None of them was all good or all bad, but simply people who did their best with the choices they had at the time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I've been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture for many years and was interested in reading this historical fiction. Eccentric is an understatement for the man, but I'm even more of a fan now and want to read more. Truth about him is in my future reading. The shocking and sad ending of this book blew me away. Great read, especially for a first novel by this author.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a wonderfully written book based on a true story that brings you closer to the famous architect, Frank Loyd Wright, as a tragic figure and one of the worlds finest architects. Every page is a thrill and the ending is incredible...
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Helpful Score: 1
this is much better than i thought it would be. if you've ever been in a relationship, or really, an affair, you will know exactly how these people feel. it's certainly worth the credit to get it, and it might be a keeper. i'm hanging on to mine for a little while to see if i want to read it again.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have liked Frank Lloyd Wright's work as long as I can remember but knew nothing at all about him as a person. This book cuts right to the core of this famous man as well as his work, family, friends and the era of his life span. I almost put it down at the first but kept going thinking that surely it would pick up after the beginning. And it did. The book is full of experiences of Mr. Wright and the people who surrounded him. Also full of emotion and the passionate man he and others were. A book I shall not forget. :)
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Helpful Score: 1
I had been wanting to read this book for some time now and was so excited to begin it. I was very dissappointed with the book. The story itself is fine but I seriously could not see or feel the passion between Frank and Mamah.

I was hoping to find two lovers longing and aching to be together. Instead I found 2 people in mediocore marriages who didn't seem all that interested in trying to make things work with their spouses. It seemed to me that the affair was the easy way out for both of them. I just didn't feel the passion that I was hoping for.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a great historical fiction. It was great to learn a little about his life, lifestyle and the time period. I picked up this after we went to Chicago this summer. We didn't visit Oakpark and after reading I so wished we had!
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Helpful Score: 1
I don't typically get through books very quickly because of my schedule with work and Grad School. But, I absolutely could not put this one down. It is such an amazing story of Frank Lloyd Wright and his 'mistress', the troubles they go through to be together and the tragic end to their affair. If I didn't know for sure that it was based on a true story I would've assumed it was fiction because it is so dramatic. It is definitely at the top of my list of favorite books and would definitely recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Love story between soul mates, Mamah and Frank Lloyd Wright. Fiction that explores two very eccentric individuals who live outside of the norm for their times in history. Very good book. Learn about Frank and history through the eyes of his mistress/soul mate.
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I loved this book. The ending was quite a surprise!
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Love, love, love this historical fiction. An amazing look at an amazing relationship.
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Beautifully written and a great introduction to Wright's life and work.
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I really enjoyed the book. He was a fascinating man. My book club is discussing the book at our next meeting
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This is a great book, particularly if you have any interest at all in Frank Lloyd Wright (especially if you are unfamiliar with Mamah Borthwick), since it follows the historical details as closely as possible. This means, of course, that all the major events in the book are real and true, which just makes the ending all the more emotional. Yes, there were some parts that were slower than the rest, and some details that didn't seem important until later, if they became important at all. So, it can drag a little at times, but it definitely picks up the further you get into it, and the end definitely redeems any flaws that there may be earlier in the book. A lot of people make the mistake of not finishing this one due to the weak beginning, but if ever there was a book worth forcing yourself to read further in, this is definitely one of them.
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Overall, very good. It was a little slow in places, but certainly worth reading!
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Beautifully written fictional biography of the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and his lover. The ending shocked...and the book was enchanting. Great read.
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fascinating and REAL. A fantabulous way to learn about the human behind the legend and how difficult leaving a legacy was for him. You will not be disapointed even if you do not know who "Frank" is!
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Nancy Horan's writing is lovely and easy throughout this fictional yet quite historical account of Wright and his mistress, Mamah Borthwick. The turn of the 20th century was a time when extramarital excursions were blatantly ostracized - yet the fusing of these two epic personalities seemed inevitable - and the resultant electrifying energies served them well. This tale presents the very human qualities of larger than life personas in a very revealing yet somewhat sympathetic, light. Enchantingly engrossing!
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While thoroughly researched and well written, I was glad to finish this book. I could not empathize with Mamah Borthwick Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright, both married and with 9 children between them when they started their
their love affair.
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I wasn't sure whether I'd like this book, but once I got started I couldn't put it down. I never knew what a complex person Frank Lloyd Wright was, nor what a mess he made of his life while producing glorious architecture. The novel is written from the standpoint of his lover/mistress who gives up everything to be with him and covers many years of their lives together.
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I found this book to run a little bit on the "harlequin" side of literature. Mamah's idealism and romanticism was a little too unrealistic and sickening at times. I did enjoy the window into the era and Frank Lloyd Wright's work. The plot turn did leave me at the edge of my seat.
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This is a quick read, very enjoyable you feel like you are in the moment with them, not too much has changed over all these years...lust still prevails go figure...Great read but my questions still remains, could I do this, I doubt it? I give this a 4 out of 5
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If this was not a true story, you would find it hard to believe.

Shocking affair of married lovers who leave their families and run away together, shocking all the good folks in Oak Park, IL, and Chicago in early 20th Century. Similar to today, reporters chased them to Europe. Frank Lloyd Wright was a larger-than-life character. The story of his great love, Mamah Cheney, is haunting.

Beautifully written book. Great for book clubs.
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I just recently got into Frank Lloyd Wright when we took a trip to see Falling Water. What an amazing site. Someone told me about this book. I liked it. Its different than your average story and not knowing the story, I found it to be a great read, about an entirely different time period. I really enjoyed it.
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Mixed reviews on this book. It is a fictional account of the personal (more than the professional) life of Frank Lloyd Wright and his long-time mistress Mamah Cheney. In an era where their behavior was considered almost criminal, they encounter relentless press coverage of their affair & life together, alienation from family and friends. I knew very little of Wright's life until reading this. As in many brilliant artists, the ego was over the top. To quote a phrase in the book: "he would rather be honestly arrogant than hypocritically humble". Shocking outcome toward the end leads to heartbreak for both families.
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This is a fictionalized account of the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, which took place between1907 and 1914. Horan's characters are well developed and believable. She tells the story without moralizing.

Having lived in Wisconsin for over a decade, I have been to Spring Green, but not to Wright's home. This book has whetted my appetite to learn more about the man and his work, and especially Taliesin.
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VERY interesting book! I read it for my book club. I can't wait to discuss it!
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I thought this was a really beautiful, true to life, heartfelt and intense book. While I didn't agree with all of Mamah's choices, I loved how honest it was and how brave she was, especially being based in the early 20th century when many women were stuck in loveless marriages and had no choices as far as making a life of their own. I love how she was brave enough to branch out and learn more about herself and do what she needed to do to be happy in her own life. I found the theme of the book for me to be "life goes on." So many things happened and there were so many hurdles throughout, but the characters learned to adapt through the years and continue on. And the end of the book was INSANE. I had goosebumps.
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This book is the true story of Frank Lloyd Wright, it includes his lifelong love affair with his mistress Mamah Cheney. I live in the city that has one of his fabulous Archetecture buildings known all around the world ,The Price Tower.
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One of the best books I've read lately. It actually took me a couple of tries to get started, as the beginning is a little slow. I think lack of knowledge of the story beforehand adds to the reading. The ending is very moving.
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I listen to it on my long commute to work. I enjoyed it, although it was a little long on the "Bad feelings" she had about the affair. I didn't really respect her but the ending of the book was a shocker for me. I didn't know the story.
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Well written book that gives readers insight about a very complicated man.
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This was a very interesting book. It took me a couple chapters to really get into it, but then it just flew by! It was a fun.
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Excellent book. A friend told me about this book and said "you have to read it". I'm glad I listened to her. Now I'm telling you "you have to read it".
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Well written and tragic story of the love affair between the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney.
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My God, what a mesmerizing story. Fascinating and haunting. Such true voices throughout the telling of this 7 year love story of Frank Lloyd Wright. Based on as many historical facts as the author could muster up with research and letters. Loved this book. Definitely will read again and recommend to friends.
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Well written with a dramatic surprise ending for those who are not familiar with the life of Frank Lloyd Wright.
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Very engaging read. Great book club pick. Highly recommended.
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I absolutely loved this book. Our book club selected it and everyone at our last meeting loved it also. Recommended!!
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This is a fascinating account of two intelligent people who pursue their dreams and face their demons. Mamah, who falls in love with Wright, struggles to balance traditional roles with her personal & intellectual; this need resonates even today. Mamah Cheney's translation abilities leads her to a woman who is in the forefront of the woman's movement (dealing with roles, responsibilities, and sex.) Frank Lloyd Wright is an architect who is ahead of his time; he breaks the barriers in architecture and his personal life.
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Very interesting read. The choices these people made in their lives, especially given the historical context, are unbelievable.
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Excellent! I recommend this book to all of my friends. Although almost completely fictional, the characters dialogue felt very real. Such an interesting story.
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I kept reading hoping it would get better. The ending was tragic but over all the book was flat.
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Although I thought this book was well written & I enjoyed the history aspect, it was a little slow for me and the characters were hard to like. I thought Mamah and Frank were selfish & egocentric until the end of the book. And the ending was a huge surprise for me as well.
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This had been on my WL for a long time and I was so happy to finally get it. Sadly, I tried so hard to like this book but I just couldn't. The whole relationship seems to happen too quickly. They met and then bam...they are fooling around. I had hoped for some more insight to Frank himself but didn't get any of that.
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This book captured my attention when it was first published. Although I have not quite finished, I am really enjoying the book. It has a very readable style and is conversational in its style. I almost feel that I am in the room with Mamah as I read. Mamah is definitely the voice of the book. I feel her emotions clearly through the writing. Initially she comes across as a rather uninteresting character, following the written and unwritten rules of her society. After she meets Frank her life takes on a new meaning filled with following her dreams and trying to give justification for her actions. I am at the point in the book where she is having serious thoughts about whether she made the right choices.
Bearing in mind that Frank Lloyd Wright was very interested in spaces and visual creations, the author does an excellent job of recreating his architectural work in words. You can see and feel his houses while he remains a very shadowy figure.
A good and satisfying read.
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What a shocking ending! Book was slow in some parts, but a great read overall.
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We read this for book group and most of the group liked it better than I did. The story is compelling but in my opinion, could have been edited better. The internal struggle of the main character between her love for Frank Lloyd Wright, her need to be with her young children and her need to become an independent woman is addressed too often.
On the other hand, the author moves the story and its characters along and the early 20th century setting in many different locales is fascinating.
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Interesting read!
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I really enjoyed this book! I usually don't care for this type, but this was an interesting fun read (most of it)!
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The book does a good job of feeling accurate and feasible as a historic fiction, but lacks intimacy with the characters. As much as we are exposed to them through the book, they still feel distant.

Much of it is written as summaries; summaries of events, summaries of thought processes. The emotions of the main character are only mentioned when absolutely necessary, and they are not really shown in their raw form except for a few rare moments. Instead it feels that the author took the story's ties to the woman's rights movement and apply a sterilized version of the woman. She is almost too logical, too methodical, and as a result comes off as lacking passion or spontaneity. She seems unable to open up to her own emotions.

I want the book and its look at the characters to be a more personal experience than I received.
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I just found it hard to feel any sympathy for someone who would leave her young children like that. It made reading the book a bit irritating.
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I love how the artist took a real life story and added her own views as to what this couple might have been doing and thinking at the time. It is a very well written book.
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I just loved this book and have given it to many to read and they all feel the same way. the characters just came alive for me.
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Good book but has a sad ending.
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Loving Frank is a fictional account of a historical affair between Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW)and one of his client's wives. Those expecting to learn more about FLW's art will be disappointed, but the book is not disappointing. The book focuses on the woman with whom FLW has an affair; why she chose to leave her husband and children, how she justified her long absence from her children's lives and how her choices affected others, including her sister. The book also puts you squarely in the times, where husbands and wives could divorce their spouses only with their consent and where aldutery was most definitely not socially acceptable. "Loving Frank" was a good read and made for good discussions at our book group.
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I hesitated to pick up this book, as I'm a fan of neither Frank Lloyd Wright nor truth-as-fiction tomes. I was surprisingly enchanted with this book, which relates the true story of the architect and a Chicago socialite who ran away togther in the 1900's, to much approbation and censure.

The story deals with a strong woman who choses to leave her husband and family for the love of her life, a typically unpopular choice. That choice is dealt with sympathetically, and even-handedly.

I recommend this book for fans of FLW, fans of little known but true stories, and fans of historical fiction.
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Loved this book. It is so moving and encouraging. I realize people dislike the book because of the affair. Well, do not read it if you know that will bother you. I think the courage of Mamah is much stronger than the affair. I love what she stands for as a woman, herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to more from Nancy Horan.
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This book was an excellent one. I couldn't put it down.
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I am not a person who usually enjoys books that are historical, but this was an excellent read. Although it has to be classified as fiction, the story rings true to historical fact. The debate between family and love tortures the main character. The emotions are real and raw. Overall, I highly suggest this novel.
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Great book. Was a book club selection. Learned a lot. Love books like this, historical fiction based in fact.
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I loved this book! It is one of my favorites. I will be passing it around to all my friends to read next.
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masterfully written historical novel... I am in awe of the turn of words and phrases and the way the characters are portrayed...
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Nancy Horan is a very talented author. In this fictionalized account of the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah, we see its evolution clearly. Their shared passion is undeniable and builds to a lifestyle that excludes their spouses, their commuity and their children. It provides a clear understanding of the mindsets and mores of the early 20th century.

FLW is very taken with his own self-described genius. At one point he told reporters that "It will be a misfortune if the world decides not to receive what I have to give." His self-absorption allows him to disregard paying his bills and buying beyond his limited means. His character flaws are ruthlessly revealed in numerous encounters.

Mamah (isn't that a name that some grandchildren call their grandmother?) is also flawed. When she abandons her children and husband to be with FLW, she justifies it through convoluted logic that doesn't make sense. She considers herself an intellectual by following the teaching of a feminist author and then becomes this woman's translator. Again, her convoluted logic enables her to consider that this work puts her in the forefront of American intelligensia.

Nancy Horan has done a remarkable job of bringing these two people to life on the pages of this book. I look forward to reading more by this gifted author.
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provided great sounding board for a thorough and thought provoking book club discussion.
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Really enjoyed the character development. Unsure how factual the story is but a beautiful read anyway.
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Very good book.
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You will consider this book for its subject, brilliant, controversial architect and interior designer, Frank Lloyd Wright, but will you relish it for its protagonist, Martha Mamah Borthwick Cheney.

I enjoyed this book. Although it covers the early 1900s in America, and society's unwritten rules, many of the aspects of this book apply today. Be prepared for some provocative thoughts and some "What would I have done's?"

We read this for our Book Club and the discussion was lively. There were many good aspects to discuss. I recommend it as an individual read or a Book Club read.