This historical fiction is based on some nuggets of truth. Wright arguably made one of the most indelible imprints on American architecture. With his emphasis on harmoniously blending nature into private spaces, and his desire to create a uniquely American style, he created many waves in the architecture community. Those soon translated to the personal level after the brilliant, but difficult architect designed a home for Mamah Borthwick Cheney and her husband in Oak Park, Illinois at the turn of the century. Both trapped in loveless marriages, the two quickly became engaged by the other’s wit and charm, and a scandalous personal relationship grew.
Horan uses her training as a journalist to convey the details of Cheney’s unraveling heart and the excruciating decisions she was forced to make. Her characters ask questions such as, “What role do women have?”, “What use is it to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children?” and “What duty do adults have to themselves when it comes to their happiness?”
Although the story of “Loving Frank” is enmeshed in the details of Wright and Cheney’s relationship, it does what great literature is supposed to do: it makes you think. Horan creates a world so beautiful, readers might slow their page-turning just to be engrossed in her lushly written world a bit longer.
Join Charlotte Weekly’s book club on Monday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark for a phone chat with the author of “Loving Frank.” R.S.V.P. at http://www.thecharlotteweekly.com/.