Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan (New York: Ballantine Books, 2007)
Loving Frank is Nancy Horan’s fictional account of the “shocking” love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and Mamah Borthwick Cheney (1869-1914). Although other places figure prominently in the novel, including Oak Park, Illinois, where visitors can still see the home Wright designed for Mamah, her husband, Edwin, and children; and Europe where the couple tries to escape the scandal of their affair; all seem to lead to Taliesin, the home Wright builds for the two of them in a Wisconsin valley he’d known since childhood. Here, where the couple settles in 1911, scandal seems to ease slightly and a small measure of peace is found, but then a horrible tragedy strikes.
‘How different from the house on East Avenue,’ she thought. In Oak Park, the kind of building Frank had put up, despite being called a ;prairie house,’ turned inward toward the hearth and family life and turned its back on the street, because there was no real prairie beyond the door, only other houses.
Here, Taliesin opened its arms to what was outside – the sun and sky and green hills and black earth. Far more than the house on East Avenue, this house promised good times. It was truly for her, with its terraces and courtyard and gardens so like the Italian villas she had loved. Yet it wasn’t an Italian villa. It had elements of the prairie house but it was not one. Taliesin was original, unlike anything sles she had ever been in – a truly organic house that was ‘of’ the hill. – from Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
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