Thursday, April 14, 2011

Loving Frank (copy)

One of the things I like about reading is that I can do it at any time. Prop my feet up on the chaise and nap with a book. Read in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. Listen to a book on tape as I commute to races. Whip out a paperback while waiting in line at the MDOT.

What do people do on sleepless nights if they are not readers? I always wonder this early in the morning when I cannot sleep. I get out of bed and head to my favorite chair and read for an hour or 30 minutes and then go back to sleep. It works like a charm.

For the past two weeks, I have spent a lot of time reading in the wee early hours. My sinuses wake me around three(ish) and instead of fighting it, I boil some water and take in warm liquids while getting comfy in my chair.

These past weeks I find myself searching the rues of Paris for Kotzwinkle’s Loli in The Hot Jazz Trio and following that Loving Frank adulterer, Mamah, as she navigates the judgments of Chicago’s Victorian society. Then I head back to bed to dream about these characters.

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan is a debut novel that lingers in the minds of readers. It is the fictionalized story of the true love affair between Martha “Mamah” Borthwick and Frank Lloyd Wright.

They met when Mamah’s husband, Edwin, wanted to build a modern home. They lived in a choppy, over stuffed Queen Anne on Oak Park that originally belonged to her father. A neighborhood over was a new home by local architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, that had everyone gossiping. During the open house Edwin fell in love with the spacious, entertaining floor plan.

Mamah knew Catherine, Frank’s wife, through the 19th Century Club where they were both members. Through Edwin’s persistence, they began to socialize with the Wrights and Frank agreed to submit plans for their new home.

As the house takes on shape so does Mamah and Frank’s relationship. They love books and share the same fondness for “Ruskin, Thoreau, Emerson, Nietzsche, and Goethe.” A librarian before the children, Mamah finds a peer in Frank. Edwin does not like to read.

Mamah’s thoughts propel this book; although, readers will gain insight into the young architect genius, too.