Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
384 pgs., 4 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: Loving Frank is about Mamah Borthwick Cheney’s love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Mamah is a huge fan of his work, and they meet when Frank designs a house for her and her husband. Their love blooms as they become familiar with one another’s quirks and eccentricities. They wreck their marriages by beginning a very public affair that lasts a lifetime.
This is a historical novel that really brings Frank Lloyd Wright’s character to life. He is vibrant, sometimes almost manic, and artistic. I can’t say that I loved his character, but I was a little biased to him prior to reading. He’s known in history as a womanizer and as a man who totally screwed his first wife. And Mamah was the home wrecker.
However, Loving Frank shows a different side of the story, where Mamah is no longer the woman who ruined Frank’s first marriage. Frank was already unhappy and cheating on his wife. Mamah becomes someone that you can sympathize with and want to succeed. She loves her children, but leaves them for the love of her life. People frown on that behavior, because a woman is supposed to always put her children first. Mamah defied that social norm because she wanted to live her own life; she had her own dreams and ambitions. But I have to admit, there were times when I was like homegirl, look after your babies. They need you!
Loving Frank is incredibly philosophical, similar to The Awakening, about a mother’s role versus a woman’s role and the conflicting desires that come with each. I loved this book! The ending was shocking (because I hadn’t done my research) and sad, but the story was beautiful and enlightening.
ABOUT THE OUTFIT: You’re a Midwestern girl withOUT Midwestern values. The hem of your dress is modest enough for a publicly proclaimed Jezebel. But what the public doesn’t know is that you have a heart of gold—the same bright color as your frock. The clean lines of the dress mirror the architecture that you love and the structure that you sometimes wish your life had.
But you are not a structured gal and you’re dress is a little too fancy for everyday wear, so shrug on this baggy sweater to dress it down and to keep you warm in the Colorado chill.
Your flowered tights brandish your love for gardening and the outdoors. Pull on your rust colored boots with the wedge heels that make it easy to amble about your woodsy property. The rose silk socks will keep your toes warm during your long walks and garden perusing. Not to mention, they really complete the cozy, slightly sloppy look in which you thrive!
Your leather messenger bag is perfect for holding all of those letters that you write and the manuscripts that you translate. It can also serve as the vault in which you store all of your unanswerable, philosophical questions about what it means to be a woman and a mother.
Red lipstick is a must, because, well, this is the early 1900s. It’s high fashion, and you’re reputation is already shot to hell, so you might as well wear the color (of your scarlet letter) proudly.