My book reading is getting a little ahead of my blogging.
I finished reading Loving Frank last week, and if I don't
write about it now I might forget what I want to say
about this book.
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, is a fictionalized account
of the love affair between famous architect Frank Lloyd
Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Lloyd Wright
was married to his first wife Catherine, and the father of
six children, Borthwick Cheney was married and a
mother of two when they both left their respective
spouses and families to be together.
Their affair made headline news at the time, circa 1908,
and Lloyd Wright's career was stalled for several years as
potential patron's refused to have anything to do with him
due to the stigma, and the public condemnation that resulted.
But this is mainly Mamah's story and it soon becomes clear
that her love for Lloyd Wright was only partly responsible
for her decision to leave her husband and children. Married
to a kind and loving husband, but unable to feel the same way
towards him, frustrated at the lack of purpose and intellectual
stimulation in her everyday life, Mamah was prone to depression
as her married life seemed to confine and stifle her.
Mamah wasn't content to stay at home, raise her children,
and restrict her ambitions and dreams to the home life
expected of women of that era. She wanted to make her
mark in the world, and find work that would allow her to
explore her creativity. And she wanted to use her linguistic
and writing skills to encourage and support all woman to
have the freedom to be able to choose to do the same.
But the price that she would pay for following her
heart, and for pursuing her dreams and her freedom, was
estrangement from her children and her family,
public humiliation and scorn, separation (for a time)
from Lloyd Wright, and an uncertain future.
Nancy Horan has created a thought provoking story by
taking the small bits of detail known about the real
Mamah Borthwick Cheney and weaving them into a
believable and credible tale. She draws the reader into
the lives of it's main characters, allows us to experience
the world of pre WWI America and Europe and
introduces us to a woman who was perhaps born 50
years too soon. I didn't necessarily agree with all of
Mamah's decisions but I realized that she was acting
in the honest belief that both she and her family would be
better off in the end if she was true to herself.
Not a lightweight read, but most certainly a fascinating one.
I've finished the two books by P.C. and Kristen Cast,
(both devoured in four days) and have started another book
which will probably be a short read.