FAYE DASEN: Horan's Novel Based on Real-Life Incident
Here's the scoop on two wonderful novels, one based on a true story and the other a tale of a lost love found.
By Nancy Horan
Ballantine, 2008, $14
Oh my gosh, this is one of the best novels I've read in many moons. When I picked it up and read the jacket, I thought, "I don't know if I'll like this or not, but I don't have anything else to read at lunch, so I guess I'll take a look." Boy, am I glad I did.
Horan based her book on the true story of renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his mistress, Mamah (pronounced May-ma) Cheney. After years of research, she felt confident that she could create a fictionalized version of their romance.
Mamah, a wife and mother, meets Frank when she and her husband hire him to design a new home for them in the Chicago area. As Mamah and Frank discuss the house plans, they also find that they are somewhat kindred souls, but it's only later that they move on to a more physical relationship. There is no way that Frank's wife will give him a divorce, so the affair remains clandestine.
Eventually though, Mamah leaves behind her husband and children to follow Frank to Italy. (All of this takes place in the early 1900s, when folks aren't so forgiving of men who left their wives, much less women who dared to do so.)
It's while in Europe that Mamah meets Swedish feminist Ellen Key, who happens to be a proponent of "free love."
Mamah is also discovering that Frank certainly has his faults, but she stands behind him
He convinces her to move back to the United States (by now she and her husband have divorced) and agrees to build a house near his mother and sisters, who live in Wisconsin. It is in that home that the complicated story comes to a close.
The bookclubs will definitely want to consider this book. Horan has done a wonderful job.
By Therese Fowler
Ballantine, 2008, $22
Everyone thought that Meg Powell and Carson McKay would eventually get married. After all, they'd pretty much been a couple all the way through school. But, when Meg decides to accept a proposal from Brian, who works at the bank, it changes the course of her life as well as others.
Carson, devastated by the loss of his first (and true love), moves away and becomes a rock star, only coming home briefly. Meg, who tries to be happy in her marriage, is now a doctor. She must take care of her father, now a widow, a husband, and their teenage daughter, Savannah, who is showing all the signs of rebellion that are to be expected at the age of 17.
Carson comes home to prepare for his upcoming wedding (to a much younger woman) and runs into his high school flame. Old memories and hurts resurface on both sides, and readers begin to learn why Meg made the choice she did all those years ago.
And a current medical problem for Meg leads to information that could become an issue.
This novel is the bittersweet tale of love lost and found.
Contact Faye M. Dasen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 693-2475.
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