Sunday, June 7, 2015

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

I knew who Frank Lloyd Wright was - but just barely.  My mom took me on a birthday adventure to Cedar Rock house in Quasqueton, Iowa a few years back.  It was an interesting place - full of straight lines and dark corners and very beautiful.  And I remember reading a young adult book, The Wright 3,  a mystery in a Wright house in Chicago

So it was with that little bit of knowledge that I read this book.   The story is fictionish.  I mean it is built on the actual story - you can research the events.  I think this famous story makes it a bit tricky to create a believable ficitionalized story -straying from the known facts would be so obvious. Especially when the truth of this story reads like fiction!  But, I sort of wish the story had moved a long a bit faster. Some parts drug a bit.

Loving Frank tells the love story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick.  Both are married with numerous children between them.  Frank had been the architet for the house that Mamah and her husband built. After the house was built and it was time to make plans to add the garage - Frank and Mamah gave in to their attraction.

This was a long time ago  - and although Mamah's husband, Edwin, eventually grants her a divorce. Frank's wife, Cathrine refuses to release him from their marriage and their eight children.  So they live a tough life of never fitting in to the society that Frank creates in his houses.  Living in both Europe and the US.  Withstanding the scandal that rocks Frank's career and his poor management style.

Eventually Frank convinces his mother to give him land in Wisconsin and he builds Taliesin for Mamah.  And it is there,  in the Wisconsin countryside that the real tragedy in this story happens.

 I found myself not wanting to fall for Frank.  He was an intense man - maybe manic depressive.  Watching Mamah Borthwick give in to her better instincts was actually a bit difficult.  Edwin seemed to be a simple man who loved her deeply - Frank provided her intellect with the sparring and stimulation she longed for, and giving in to that longing caused her to destroy her family - loosing children.  Eventually she found peace - but it took a LONG time!

This is an intriguing story - but slow moving and a bit to 'worshipful' of Wright for my taste.  May book club book.

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