• Loving Frank

  • A Novel
  • By: Nancy Horan
  • Narrated by: Joyce Bean
  • Length: 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Loving Frank  By  cover art

Loving Frank

By: Nancy Horan
Narrated by: Joyce Bean
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Publisher's Summary

I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.

So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. 

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. 

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion. 

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story. 

Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. It’s mesmerizing and fascinating - filled with complex characters, deep passions, tactile descriptions of astonishing architecture, and the colorful immediacy of daily life a hundred years ago - all gathered into a story that unfolds with riveting urgency.” (Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light)

©2007 Nancy Horan (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“This graceful, assured first novel tells the remarkable story of the long-lived affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, a passionate and impossible figure, and Mamah Cheney, a married woman whom Wright beguiled and led beyond the restraint of convention. It is engrossing, provocative reading.” (Scott Turow) 

“It takes great courage to write a novel about historical people, and in particular to give voice to someone as mythic as Frank Lloyd Wright. This beautifully written novel about Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright’s love affair is vivid and intelligent, unsentimental and compassionate.” (Jane Hamilton) 

“I admire this novel, adore this novel, for so many reasons: The intelligence and lyricism of the prose. The attention to period detail. The epic proportions of this most fascinating love story. Mamah Cheney has been in my head and heart and soul since reading this book; I doubt she’ ll ever leave.” (Elizabeth Berg)  

What listeners say about Loving Frank

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good History of FLW

The historical novel gave a good depiction of Frank Lloyd Wright. His character is described the same way in every account I have read. Even with his arrogance and disregard for others, I believe him to be a genius architect.

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Disturbing and disappointing

After listening to this book each night, I kept waiting for it to come together. I’m still in shock how abruptly and depressing it ended. Made me start fact checking to see if it could possibly be true or was this just an authors fictional twisted tragic ending. After enduring the ending, I hoped for some degree of closure or glimpse to a future of something positive.. no it just ended. Honestly I’ve never regretted sticking w a book more. I wish I could forget this story. So many opportunities to inspire but didn’t.

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  • SB
  • 03-13-22

Fascinating piece of history

I was not a fan of the narration. Oddly, I found it both robotic and melodramatic. This is a fascinating story of two dynamic personalities. I found it difficult to have sympathy for Frank and Mamah due to the choices they made and the impacts of those choices on their families. Ultimately, their families paid the price for Frank and Mamah's selfishness. I did find the story compelling and worth a listen.

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great story

it took me a little time to get use to the narrator's voice. It was a bit robotic to me. the story was compelling enough to keep listening.

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Waste of my time!!

I tried to get this on audio and I’m not hearing anything. I’ve played with this app and the download for over an hour!!! I’m fed up!!!!