April’s Book is Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I’ve always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and when I saw this book at my local second-hand store for $1, I had to snatch it up. I hope you joined me in reading this book for April, but if not, here’s the review.
This book definitely inspired a future Oak Park adventure to see his houses.
Pages: 356 (there’s more but that includes an afterword, sources, and discussion questions)
Synopsis: Mamah Borthwick Cheney and her husband, Edwin, hired Frank Lloyd Wright to build a house and a love affair evolved. Their affair shocked Chicago, changed Mamah’s life drastically and ultimately ruined two families.
Review: Kudos to Horan for writing such a compelling novel about Mamah’s life and how she influenced Frank Lloyd Wright’s. I had no idea that Lloyd Wright’s personal life was so scandalous and I still don’t think any less of him or his architectural accomplishments. Granted some of this storyline is fiction, but it all seemed so real. In most cases I would never cheer for a “home wrecker,” but for some reason I wanted Mamah to have all her wishes to come true.
Horan developed her character to seem so innocent and on a journey to find herself and her one true love. I did appreciate that Horan made the love affair a struggle for Mamah and kept her a very intelligent woman. I think that’s rare to find in a mistress character.
I would recommend this book to anyone, especially people who are Frank Lloyd Wright fans. It gives an intimate look into his life (again, yes, I know this is a novel and not all accounts are real) and how he functioned as an architect. I grew up loving his homes because my father is a big fan, but I didn’t know anything about how he ran his business or that his career had its ups and downs (pretty drastic downs). I like said before, reading this book only made me want to go view his homes more. Mike and I have talked several times about seeing his homes in Oak Park, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing the tours once the weather is in our favor. Who wants to join? Maybe even a road trip to Taliesin is in order!
What did you think of the book? Comment below or maybe we can even do a Twitter Book Club Chat.