What begins as an extra-marital love story expands into a woman’s
quest for her own identity.
In the early years of the 20th century Mamah Borthwick Cheney followed
her heart and defied the conventions of her class by running off to Europe
with Frank Lloyd Wright, the noted architect. She first met him
when she and her husband hired him to design their Oak Park home.
In the course of building the house Wright, a married man with eight
children, was attracted to the beautiful and intelligent Mamah. And she
was equally drawn to this charming and creative man.
Their love is set against the backdrop of the times, against the
stirrings of modernism in Europe and the suffragist movement. Mamah found
employment as a translator of Ellen Key, a Scandinavian feminist writer
whose work was daring in the roles she outlined for women. Mamah
returned to America and lived with Wright in the home he had designed
for her, Taliesin. Although hounded by the press, they remained committed and
in love with one another and found some peace in the lovely Wisconsin
countryside before tragedy struck.
Novelist Horan has recreated the turmoil and passion of
the love affair through research into letters and newspaper accounts of
their notorious celebrity. It’s interesting to note that Horan grew
up in Oak Park and saw many Wright-designed homes before she was
inspired to tell this story.