I admit it. I'm not a fiction reader, but Loving Frank is an exception. It's a narrative based on Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney's love affair and is beautifully written. A tragic story that is touching, realistic, and often heartbreaking. Of course, the mention of Chautauqua gives it Colorado ties. But there's something about the craft of the story that made me forget about the ultimately sad story I was reading. The book places Wright in a light we don't often think about and the complexity of Mamah's character is so intriguing.
This is one of the books my wife put on my nightstand and said, "You have to read this one... it's amazing writing, sad, but amazing!" It's provocative. It's riveting. It's challenging. As you read, you get such a clear portrait of the time period... and then there's the ending!
The craft. I loved the writing. Nancy Horan should be very proud of her first novel! And though it took her many years to research and writer, it was well worth the wait!
I focus so much on professional reads and children's literature. But I need to remember that if I'm going to ask my readers to create sensory images, determine importance, draw inferences, synthesize, etc. I need to read more for myself and utilize the strategies I'm asking them to use in their reading. This book caused me to slow down, think about my thinking, and to really comprehend... giving myself to take a more metacognitive stance gave me a chance to focus on the complexities of this text.
Check out the interesting interview with the author as well as a walking tour of Oak Park: http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/lovingfrank/