Loving Frank

  • by Nancy Horan
  • Narrated by Joyce Bean
  • 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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 groundbreaking historical 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 Mamah'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, and her unforgettable journey, marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leads inexorably to this novel's stunning conclusion.


What the Critics Say

"This spirited novel brings Mamah the attention she deserves as an intellectual and feminist." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


If you don't know the story of Mamah and Frank, don't Google it. I didn't and I did, and regretted having done so. It would have been more satisfying to let the book unfold without knowing the end.

This is an excellent audiobook. It brings to life a woman heretofore relegated to a footnote in the history of the brilliant and famous Frank Lloyd Wright. I think Mamah Borthwicke would be pleased.

The book dragged a bit somewhere around the middle, although this might have been because Googling it spoiled it a bit for me. But the ending was powerful, gut-wrenching, and I actually cried. After listening to Frank's letter to the Chicago Tribune -- which is an accurate rendering, btw -- I realized that like the Trib's readers, I had fallen into some shallow opinions of Mamah. This too, may account for the dragging I noticed.

This is a great read, treat yourself. Take stock at the end and ask yourself if you too, have judged Mamah as Frank charges. It's a stimulating exercise.
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- Eva Gannon

Not loving the production editor so much...

This is a splendid piece of historical fiction, obviously constructed on a framework of assiduous research. The story of Frank and Mamah's relationship would be melodramatic if it hadn't been real, and Nancy Horan's telling of it captures a perfect balance of drama and restraint.

My one regret is that no one coached the narrator on either German pronunciation (her mangling of book titles and place names was positively jarring) or on her attempts to narrate passages using Swedish and Welsh accents. It would have been better to read the text unaccented than to get it so dreadfully, distractingly wrong. Brilliance Audio was less than brilliant on that front, but the book as a whole is very worthwhile.
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- Amanda

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-22-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio