When I began reading Loving Frank, I knew very little about either Frank Lloyd Wright or his affair with Mamah Cheney. But as I closed this book, I knew I wouldn't be able to forget the both of them. And that's exactly how I'd describe this book by Nancy Horan: unforgettable. A fictional account of a real love affair that lead to immense public scrutiny and shaming, this book is one you might love or hate, but you just can't ignore what it says.
At first, I found it hard to like either Frank or Mamah. But as I read on, I realized the beauty of these complex characters and their tragic circumstances. Mamah Cheney is such an intriguing character, whose passion for women's rights I admired whole-heartedly. I thought she was selfish and she made a couple of decisions I didn't really understand, but I was able to appreciate the dilemma that she was in and the taunts she had to endure at that time. She's a heroine who will stay with you long after you've finished reading the book. Not because she was a perfect character, but because she went through some harrowing times and fought her way through them all.
Horan's writing is remarkable and very quotable. Though drawn-out and sometimes, a little too long, the book is worth reading simply because the issues it deals with are absolutely important. The love story between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah didn't really interest me, nor did the descriptions of his buildings and love for architecture. But the feminist angle of the story fascinated me tremendously and that was my favourite part of the book.
If I, with very little knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright, enjoyed this book, I’m sure those who know a lot about him will love reading it. The book reaches out to you beyond its pages and is the kind of book that will make you google feverishly, search for other books and information related to its characters. This is a remarkable debut novel and I shall look forward to more books from Nancy Horan.